Yesterday, the Huffington Post was bold enough to give credence to a question that’s drifted into many of our minds: Does the Human Rights Campaign, America’s leading, darling-most LGBT organization, no longer speak on our behalf?
This week, North Carolina’s General Assembly voted to bar city and county legislators from passing new protections against discrimination. They won, and by a margin of 32-0 in the state Senate. Now, the greater gay community is calling foul on the HRC, and not only for its gross failures in North Carolina.
In effect, 50 years of non-discrimination efforts went null on Wednesday, including local employment ordinances concerning fair wages, benefits, employee protections, and leave policies. In addition, and perhaps most importantly: the law that allowed transgender people to lawfully use the bathroom appropriate to their gender identity.
The law’s passage has already been deemed the “single most discriminatory act in the country,” according to Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue, who went on to say, “This is a direct affront to equality, civil rights, and local autonomy.” It’s also put the organization’s general inactivity and only-tepid support of the transgender community on parade, just a notch in the month’s running list of scandals that have led active members to call for divestment, along with the resignation of HRC President Chad Griffin.
This comes just after the group moved to endorse sitting Senator Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican who registers a score of 78 percent out of 100 from the HRC, instead of Democratic House member Tammy Duckworth, with a perfect score of 100, in addition to “a real shot at taking the seat and handing Democrats the Senate,” the Huffington Post reports. Apart from being a critical mistake according to the HRC’s own index, Daily Kos’ David Nir called the endorsement as “appalling as it is embarrassing.
Kos goes on to pose the question of the hour: “In what universe does it make sense for an advocacy group to support the candidate who is unambiguously worse on their key issues?” I’d say, in one where a semblance of bipartisanship keeps checks being written by well-to-do republicans like GOP New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who committed $3 million to the organization last year.
On social media, ratings on the Human Rights Campaign’s Facebook page have plummeted to 1.4 out of 5 stars by some 14,000 reviewers. Most, if not all of the ratings are accompanied with scalding reviews, like this one from Joni Podschun: “From a stunning lack of racial and gender diversity to selling out trans folks time and again to endorsing a mediocre Republican and maintaining GOP control in the Senate, the HRC is a worthless waste of resources.”
If the week’s many oversights are any indication, it’s time to stop putting stock into an organization that would rather see a white Republican (with a poor voting record, at that) take office than an Asian-American, disabled Iraqi veteran, with a spotless voting record on LGBT issues, on the Democratic ticket. The issues at hand deserve far better, and frankly, so do we.