WASHINGTON - Below is a statement from Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, on the announcement today that Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., will head the Republican National Committee.
"Senator Martinez was elected in 2004 by taking page one out of Karl Rove's gay-baiting playbook. His campaign was one of the most anti-gay, bigoted and divisive campaigns in the nation's history. We are deeply troubled that this kind of senator has been chosen to lead the Republican Party.
"For him to be tapped as the head of the Republican Party sends yet another message to our community and the country that the Republican leadership is continuing their old ways of rewarding slash-and-burn politics instead of being interested in uniting the country."
Sen. Mel Martinez's Record on Equality and Fairness:
ﾴScored a zero on the Human Rights Campaign's 2006 Congressional Scorecard measuring support for equality and fairness in the 109th Congress.
ﾴAn ardent supporter and co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Martinez has been on the record opposing Republican Sen. John McCain's states-rights stance on the issue, saying, "It isn't good enough to say, 'Leave it up to the states.' If we leave it up to the states we will see the erosion of marriage that we've seen by activist courts, which we otherwise will not see if we protect the institution of marriage at the federal level."
ﾴAttacked his 2004 Republican primary opponent for supporting hate crimes legislation accusing him of catering to the "radical homosexual lobby."
ﾴRan a 2004 campaign that was so anti-gay and divisive that Florida's Republican governor, Jeb Bush, called on him to stop the attacks.
Also because of his anti-gay tactics, The St. Petersburg Times revoked its endorsement after Martinez sent a mailer against his opponent calling him "the new darling of the homosexual extremists."
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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