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Human Rights Campaign Announces First Round of House and Senate Endorsements

March 11, 2016
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House and Senate endorsees have strong pro-equality records that include support for the Equality Act and measures to protect LGBT youth from harassment and discrimination

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced that HRC’s Board of Directors, comprised of community leaders from across the nation, voted today to issue the following Congressional endorsements focusing on incumbent members of Congress.

“From supporting nationwide marriage equality, to co-sponsoring the Equality Act, these members of Congress have demonstrated a strong commitment to equality during their terms,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These members of Congress are standing with the bipartisan majority of Americans who believe that everyone, including LGBT people, should be able to have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live free from fear of discrimination. HRC is proud to support them in their re-election campaigns.”

In the Senate, HRC has endorsed Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

HRC’s endorsed members in the U.S. Senate have demonstrated a commitment to LGBT equality during their Senate service, including by supporting marriage equality and voting for employment non-discrimination protections (ENDA). They are also all co-sponsors of the Equality Act, the new bipartisan legislation introduced last year to extend existing civil rights protections to LGBT people. They also voted to support the following key issues:

  • The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act: An amendment that would ensure essential service providers dealing with runaway and youth homeless youth would not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, even though they make up only 5 to 10 percent of the overall youth population.

  • The Student Non-Discrimination Act: SNDA would expressly prohibit public schools from discriminating against any student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Federal statutory protections explicitly address discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and disability, but not sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Social Security and Veterans Budget Amendment: An amendment offered by Sen. Brian Schatz to ensure same-sex couples have access to Social Security and veterans benefits.

In the House, HRC has endorsed Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Brad Ashford (D-NE), Ami Bera (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Bob Dold (R-IL), Gwen Graham (D-FL), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Rick Nolan (DFL-MN), Scott Peters (D-CA), Raúl Ruiz (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). HRC’s endorsed House members have supported LGBT equality by agreeing to co-sponsor the Equality Act and who support marriage equality.

They also voted to uphold President Obama’s executive order on discrimination against LGBT federal contractors: In a June 2015 vote, House members voted to uphold President Obama’s executive order on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order explicitly protects transgender federal employees from workplace discrimination by amending an order issued by President Bill Clinton banning sexual orientation discrimination within the federal workforce. In the same order, President Obama set strong new standards banning employment discrimination by federal contractors, which employ 20 percent of the American workforce.

To find out where your Member of Congress stands on marriage equality and other key issues, check hrc.org/resources/your-elected-officials.

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

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