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Online Extra: Gays Across America: HRC Rising plans hard push in 6 states

by Seth Hemmelgarn

HRC President Chad Griffin. Photo: Courtesy HRC
HRC President Chad Griffin. Photo: Courtesy HRC  

The national LGBT group the Human Rights Campaign has announced a multimillion-dollar campaign meant to fight anti-gay bills across the country and push pro-gay candidates and initiatives.

Through its "HRC Rising" campaign, the organization hopes to harness the energy of the anti-Trump resistance movement "to begin organizing for the 2018 elections earlier than ever before," HRC announced in a July 11 news release.

The group will especially focus on Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

HRC has pledged to work with local organizations.

"Staff and volunteers will work with state and local organizations and partners in coalition to bolster efforts to advance equality, defend the LGBTQ community against attacks, and deliver wins for pro-equality candidates in order to lay the groundwork for future legislative victories," the group said.

Referring to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, HRC President Chad Griffin stated, "It's not enough to resist the hateful policies and attacks coming from the Trump-Pence regime. We've got to accelerate the pace of progress toward full equality and secure protections for LGBTQ people in states and communities across the country. ... We can make incredible progress and defeat the hateful politicians who've been emboldened by Donald Trump when we organize and mobilize."

HRC is allocating $26 million for the campaign, which will include recruiting at least 20 new full-time political, field, grassroots organizing, communications, and other staff. They'll join the organization's 32 local steering committees to build on partnerships, recruit more volunteers, register voters, and "mobilize consultants."

Additionally, the group will look to "equality voters," people who've voted consistently for pro-LGBT causes and candidates.

HRC pointed to 2012 Gallup poll data and a report that said, "Without the support of the 5 percent of voters in four key swing states who identified as LGBT, President Barack Obama may have lost those states, jeopardizing his re-election."

In the last year, the group has developed an "Equality Voter Model," which allows it to "target with a high degree of accuracy not only LGBTQ voters but allies ... who are likely to oppose candidates who attack the civil rights of LGBTQ people."

To join the campaign, visit or text Rising to 30644.


House rejects anti-trans defense amendment

The U.S. House of Representatives has defeated an amendment by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) that would have effectively banned trans people from serving openly in the military. The vote Thursday (July 13) was 209-214.

In a statement before the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) called the amendment "cowardly" and said Republicans "should be ashamed" for supporting Hartzler's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The proposal would have denied surgery for transgender service members and effectively banned them from the military.

"Republicans should be ashamed: Instead of protecting the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms, they are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of brave service members," stated Pelosi. "This disgusting amendment is unprecedented, unacceptable, and undermines our national security."

Pelosi added that the integration of out trans people into the armed forces "is the unfinished work of bipartisan efforts to repeal the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" ban on LGBTs serving openly in the military. The law was repealed in 2010.

"I call upon my Republican colleagues to immediately withdraw this cruel, discriminatory, and appalling amendment," said Pelosi.


Gays Across America is a column addressing LGBTQ issues nationwide. It runs most Tuesdays. Please submit comments or column ideas to Seth Hemmelgarn at (415) 875-9986 or .



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