HRC Endorses Senator John Kerry For President

The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Sen. John Kerry,
D-Mass., for President of the United States. The decision was made by
HRC's board of directors based on the candidate's support for gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, demonstrated leadership and
his viability to win in November.

"From voting against the Defense of Marriage Act to actively opposing
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' John Kerry is a true leader for our community,"
said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "Just six months into his first
Senate term in 1985, he introduced a gay civil rights bill. His
aggressive support for our community continued unabated for the years
that followed, demonstrated time and again by perfect HRC ratings on
GLBT issues in Congress."

In 1996, Sen. Kerry was one of only 14 senators, and the only up for
re-election, to cast a vote against the discriminatory Defense of
Marriage Act. He also testified in front of a Senate committee in 1993
against the policy that prohibits military service by openly gay,
lesbian and bisexual Americans known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"I want to thank HRC for its endorsement. We have worked together on so
many battles and we still have many challenges ahead of us," said John
Kerry. "I know that America finds its strength in the diversity of this
great country. I have worked for than 20 years to make sure that LGBT
Americans are treated with dignity in our society and equality in our
laws. That fight is not over and I will be there for the fights in the
future."

Kerry is a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which
would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and
voted for the bill in 1996. In his Senate office, Kerry has a policy
prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender people.

"Senator Kerry is one of our strongest advocates against writing
discrimination into the U.S. Constitution," added Jacques. "While we
disagree with Senator Kerry on the issue of marriage for same-sex
couples, he is firmly opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which
would deny our community equality for generations. His opposition
stands in stark contrast to President Bush, who has not only endorsed
the amendment but is one of its chief advocates."

Sen. Kerry also:

  • is a current co-sponsor of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement
    Act, which would add sexual orientation, gender and disability to
    existing federal hate crimes law;

  • is a co-sponsor of Early Treatment for HIV Act and supports full
    funding for science-based HIV prevention programs and the Ryan White
    CARE Act;

  • supports giving appropriate authorities the full authority to
    make decisions on adoption based on the best interest of the child,
    without bans based solely on sexual orientation;

  • is a co-sponsor of the Permanent Partners Immigration Act; and
  • opposes the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, saying he thinks
    "that any American ought to be able to serve their country if they are
    physically qualified and able. There were gay people who served in
    Vietnam. There were gay people who served in World War II, Korea and
    World War I – and great acts of heroism have been performed by people
    who are gay."

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