Entries from: Human Rights Campaign

New index ranks 137 U.S. cities on LGBT inclusion

longbeachprideEleven of 137 U.S. cities evaluated scored a perfect 100 on the first-ever Municipal Equality Index released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute.

Among the cities with perfect scores were Boston, St. Louis and Long Beach, Calif., site of this week’s LGBT Leaders 2012 conference.

According to HRC:

The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership.  Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 137 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – these include the 50 state capitals, the 50 most populous cities in the country, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples.  Seattle and other 100-point cities serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services.

Go here to read the rankings and to download a copy of the MEI.

Victory Fund congratulates HRC, Chad Griffin

griffinGay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement today regarding the selection of Chad Griffin as the next president of the Human Rights Campaign:

“Chad Griffin is an outstanding choice to become the Human Rights Campaign’s next president, and I congratulate the HRC board for picking such an effective and talented leader.  In his work on the Prop 8 case, Chad has demonstrated the passion and focus necessary to energize our movement’s largest organization and draw more Americans to this fight. I am fortunate to have worked closely with three HRC presidents, and I look forward to working with my friend Chad, whose keen insight and sense of humor will serve us well as we move toward a country where all Americans are equal under law.”

Victory Fund and HRC are working together to help elect a number of openly gay and lesbian candidates to the U.S. Congress, including Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is seeking to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Read more about the selection of Griffin to lead HRC in the Advocate.

Target refuses HRC request to “make it right”

targetTarget Corp. has informed the Human Rights Campaign that it will not take action to “correct” its $150,000 donation to a group supporting an anti-gay candidate for governor in Minnesota, according to an HRC release tonight.

“If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget,” said Joe Solmonese, HRC’s president.

HRC also announced it would spend $150,000 in the state this year to help elect a pro-equality governor and state legislature.  ”With full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, regardless of Target, it’s important that we as a community send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates,” Solmonese said.

Meanwhile, protests outside Target stores continue.  Fifty protesters descended on a new Chicago store Saturday in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.

New effort launched to pass ENDA, repeal DADT this year

dadt-picture-signThere’s not much time left for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or start the process for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  So today the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network teamed up to launch an intensive grassroots lobbying effort in ten key states.

The groups’ “Countdown 2010″ campaign is designed to get LGBT Americans and their allies to write, call or e-mail members of Congress in Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Virginia.

“We need supporters to contact their senators and tell them to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and follow the lead of Chairman Carl Levin who will be managing the defense bill on the floor.  It is critical that we beat back any filibuster threat, defeat attempts to strike repeal, and defeat any crippling amendments.  Senators need to hear from us now, especially in the 10 key states where our combined SLDN and HRC field teams are working now,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director at SLDN.

ENDA faces significant hurdles in the U.S. Senate, but some believe that House passage of the bill could spur action across the Capitol.

For more information about the campaign, visit HRC Back Story.  And here’s how you can get involved.

HRC endorses Pougnet for Congress

pougnet familyThe Human Rights Campaign just issued the following press release announcing their endorsement of Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet in his race against Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.  If he wins, Pougnet would become the fourth openly gay or lesbian Member of Congress and the first openly gay parent.

HRC Announces Endorsement of Steve Pougnet for Congress

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – announced the endorsement of Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet running for the U.S. House in California’s 45th district.  Pougnet has a stellar record on LGBT equality in contrast to his Republican opponent Rep. Mary Bono Mack who voted against repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law last night in the U.S. House.

“Steve Pougnet is a proven leader who will be an amazing advocate for equality in Congress,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Mayor Pougnet knows first-hand the discrimination faced by LGBT people and will work to ensure every family is protected.”

“I appreciate the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign because we have shared values and goals – to realize a country where we are all treated with equal dignity and respect.  I look forward to putting leadership into action in Congress to address the host of inequalities faced by the LGBT community,” said Pougnet.

Already receiving the endorsement of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, he would be the first gay parent to serve in Congress.  While Rep. Bono Mack has voted favorably on some LGBT issues, her record is mixed and falls far short of Mayor Pougnet’s.

“While many lawmakers stood on the right side of history in voting to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Rep. Bono Mack voted to maintain discrimination that hurts our national security. Thankfully voters a better choice in Steve Pougnet who will always stand up for equality,” added Solmonese.