Human Rights Campaign Thanks House Majority Whip and Champion of LGBTQ+ Equality Jim Clyburn For Decades of Leadership

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, responded to the news that House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives, will be stepping down from his position as whip.

“House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn established him as a strong defender of LGBTQ+ civil rights and a leader committed to an inclusive and equitable nation for all,” said Human Rights Campaign Incoming President Kelley Robinson. “Under his leadership, the House of Representatives passed an historic hate crimes law, repealed the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, led the fight to enact the Affordable Care Act, and more. And, before the end of this term, the Respect for Marriage will be signed into law to affirm that every marriage, and every family, is valid and beautiful. The Human Rights Campaign is grateful to Rep. Clyburn for exemplifying true leadership over his nearly 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and we will continue to work together to advance equality for LGBTQ+ people in South Carolina and across our nation.”

As House Majority Whip from 2007-2011 and 2019-2022, Clyburn helped lead a caucus focused on civil rights, including LGBTQ+ rights, alongside Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Clyburn received a score of 100 out of 100 on HRC’s recently released Congressional Scorecard for the 117th Congress, which scored members of Congress based on a range of key indicators of support — including votes and cosponsorship of legislation that significantly impacts LGBTQ+ people and their families.

With the crucial support of Clyburn, the House of Representatives successfully passed the Equality Act both in May of 2019 and again in February of 2021. The Equality Act is historic federal legislation that would modernize our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ+ people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths.

The House has also passed other legislation important to the LGBTQ+ community including: the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Clyburn helped block the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment from passing, and under his leadership, Congress is poised to pass the Respect for Marriage Act in the coming weeks. Clyburn was among the first top Democrats to announce his support for federal marriage equality, heralding broader political support in the South.

Clyburn, who is the former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has long been a civil rights champion, pushing for voting rights and gun violence prevention measures. He has also been a staunch supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) fighting to protect and fund these institutions.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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