Human Rights Campaign Urges LGBT Community Activism: Continue the Momentum, Lobby Incoming Members o

by HRC Staff

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community urged to call for action on pro-equality legislation.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today urged its members and supporters to call their new Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to support pro-equality legislation in the 111th Congress. The new Congress, whose members will be sworn-in today, includes more allies of the LGBT community than ever before. In the 2008 election cycle, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed 212 Members elected to the U.S. House and 16 Members elected in the U.S. Senate. To contact your Member of Congress, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your representative or senator based on zip code.

"With increased ranks of pro-equality lawmakers in both the House and the Senate, new possibilities are open to us. But we can't stop now it's our job to keep the momentum going by contacting our Members of Congress and urging them to support pro-equality legislation," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We have great opportunities before us in 2009. The House and Senate need to hear from us about hate crimes protection legislation covering our entire community, fully inclusive employment non-discrimination legislation, and benefits for LGBT families. Now that we have a president in the White House who will sign these bills into law, the focus has to be on Congress."

"In addition to pro-equality lawmakers, there are new and returning Members of Congress who need ongoing education about LGBT issues. It is vitally important for the LGBT community to make its voices heard with the incoming Members of the 111th Congress," said Human Rights Campaign Legislative Director Allison Herwitt.

The Human Rights Campaign's legislative agenda for the LGBT community falls into several categories: community safety, health, workplace protections, and family protections. HRC develops and promotes legislation in all of these areas.

The 111th Congress includes freshmen Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), elected from Boulder's 2nd Congressional district, who joins Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) as the only openly gay and lesbian Members of Congress. In addition, Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) roundly defeated Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), the ringleader of the campaign to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. In Michigan's 7th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer defeated right-winger Rep. Tim Walberg, who garnered a zero percent on the HRC scorecard. In the 9th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who supports marriage equality, defeated Rep. Joe Knollenberg.

In the U.S. Senate, Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who supported the passage of her state's 2007 civil unions law, has come out in support of passing a fully inclusive workplace protections bill and inclusive hate crimes legislation. Sen. Shaheen is joined by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and his cousin Tom Udall (D-NM), both who have supported fully inclusive workplace and hate crimes protections previously as Members in the U.S. House.

In 2008, HRC engaged in the largest electoral campaign in the history of the organization, launching an aggressive $7 million election effort to mobilize and motivate millions of LGBT and allied voters.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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