Statement by Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese on the Death of David Ritcheson

by HRC Staff

For Immediate Release:
Monday, July 2, 2007


WASHINGTON - Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, issued the following statement on the death of David Ritcheson, a victim of a violent racist hate crime in Houston in 2006 in which his attackers brutally beat, kicked and sodomized him. On Sunday, July 1, Ritcheson, 18, jumped to his death off a Carnival cruise ship en route to Mexico.

Ritcheson testified on April 17, 2007, before the Crime Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to urge lawmakers to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592). He was extended an invitation to speak at HRC's Houston gala dinner this year, but was unable to attend.

Said Solmonese:

"Today we mourn the loss of David Ritcheson, whose young life was tragically altered by one of the most vicious hate crimes in recent memory.

"By sharing his testimony before Congress, David's courage helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass a hate crimes bill that will help fight these horrific acts of violence. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones. We will work to pass a hate crimes bill in the Senate that will help honor David's life."

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


Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email