Human Rights Campaign Endorses Beto O’Rourke For Texas Governor

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

Human Rights Campaign PAC announced its endorsement of Beto O’Rourke for Texas Governor

Today, the Human Rights Campaign PAC (HRC PAC) announced its endorsement of Beto O’Rourke for Texas Governor. O’Rourke — who has a strong track record of supporting LGBTQ+ rights as a candidate and public official — is running against incumbent Greg Abbott, a notorious anti-equality politician. HRC’s plan to help O’Rourke become the next governor of Texas includes a robust campaign to mobilize 2.1 million Equality Voters, the surging portion of the electorate who prioritize equality on the ballot.

“Beto O'Rourke is a proven champion of equality and will defend the rights of all Texans, including LGBTQ+ families who bear the painful brunt of attacks from their government at this very moment,” said Human Rights CampaignTexas State Director, Rebecca Marques. “Now more than ever, it is crucial to have elected leaders in Texas who will fight for the rights of all families. Transgender children and LGBTQ+ families have been under relentless assault from state officials. By electing Beto O'Rourke, Texas will not only put a stop to Abbott’s craven attacks against LGBTQ+ families but also send a message that the days of attacking LGBTQ+ people for political gain are over.”

O’Rourke’s Record as a Champion of Equality

While serving as an El Paso City Councilman from 2005 to 2012, O’Rourke led the fight for domestic partner benefits and worked to overturn a domestic partnership ban. He was then elected to Congress and served three terms from 2013 to 2019. He came to national prominence during his Senate race against hard-right Republican Ted Cruz in 2018 and with his 2020 Presidential campaign, during which he was praised for his comprehensive LGBTQ+ rights proposals. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, O’Rourke is a graduate of Columbia University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in English literature.

During his time in public service, O’Rourke has been a reliable fighter for LGBTQ+ affirming policies. He vocally supported marriage equality in the years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that made marriage equality the law of the land and earned a perfect score on HRC’s legislative scorecard during his last term in Congress.

In 2021, during a legislative session that saw a constant drumbeat of anti-trans bills and rhetoric previously unseen in Texas’s history, Congressman O’Rourke joined hundreds of Texans to testify against anti-trans legislation at the state capitol.

High stakes for LGBTQ+ rights, and especially trans rights, in Texas

The gubernatorial race in Texas arrives at a key moment in the state and for the state’s LGBTQ+ population, as Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have sparked national outrage by pushing state officials to actively investigate and target parents of transgender adolescents for what the governor is falsely calling “child abuse.” While legal action is underway on behalf of Texas families targeted by this effort to criminalize best-practice, age-appropriate, medically-necessary care, Texans deserve to be represented by a governor who won’t criminalize families who are merely trying to do their best to support their children.

Abbott’s policies are driving people out of the state. In a press conference this week hosted by HRC and other organizations, one parent talked about being forced to move, saying, “No one should ever face the difficult decision to uproot their life to protect their children in America. We are choosing to grieve the loss of our home instead of the loss of our child.

Many national and Texas-based organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Texas State Teachers Association, National Education Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, have all spoken out against the hateful, discriminatory actions undertaken by Abbott and Paxton in defiance of the best standards of care established by medical and child welfare professionals.

And in guidance released Wednesday evening, the Biden administration and the Department of Health and Human Services specified that child welfare agencies have an obligation to protect transgender youth, including with respect to gender affirming care. A second released guidance by HHS states that health care providers are not required to disclose the private information of their patients including information about gender affirming care. HHS also released guidance affirming that it is illegal to deny health care based upon gender identity and laid out steps to file a civil rights complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.

In 2021, Abbott was responsible for signing into law a number of other regressive measures, including a ban on abortions after the first six weeks of pregnancy and a discriminatory anti-trans sports bill that prevents transgender youth from participating in sports alongside their peers.

HRC’s commitment to Texas

Since 2017, HRC has had permanent staff on the ground in Texas. Working alongside that full-time staff, we have four strong steering committees based in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

Over the last two elections in Texas, HRC mobilized hundreds of volunteers, members and supporters, knocked on thousands of doors, called and texted thousands of Texans to turn out the 2.1 million Equality Voters HRC has identified in Texas. Equality Voters are a voting bloc of demographically and geographically diverse Americans who are united by the advancement of equality. HRC’s research shows that Equality Voters are younger, more diverse, and more female than the general electorate. They recognize and trust the HRC brand, and they are more likely to identify with issue-specific organizations than candidates or political parties.

HRC has worked alongside Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, Lambda Legal and others to defeat dangerous or harmful bills and policies that seek to undermine the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ Texans. HRC continues to strive for full equality in the Lone Star State.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC ( Not authorized by any federal candidate or committee.


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