Over a week before Hillary Clinton embarrassed the LGBITQ Community with her nonsensical and since walked back comments about Nancy Reagan fighting for AIDS the largest and most mainstream LGBITQ advocacy agency embarrassed and angered much of the community when it endorsed vulnerable incumbent senator Mark Kirk for reelection.
While Secretary Clinton may be forgiven for confusing Nancy Reagan’s quest for stem cell research with AIDS funding (which she most certainly did not support) when attempting to say something gracious about a First Lady that had just passed, the Human Rights Campaign gets no such pass.
In some light, (rose tinted in my opinion) the fact that HRC went and endorsed a Republican could be seen as a good thing, implying that the parties have moved toward unity on this issue would normally be a milestone worth cheering. However when you consider the context, this move is not quite what it seems.
Kirk is being challenged by Representative Tammy Duckworth, whose score by the Human Rights Campaign is a 100%. Kirk’s? 75%. It may have been a long time since I took a math class, but I sure as hell know that 100 is better than 75. What purpose does this scoring system serve if HRC doesn’t reward politicians for their high score? What incentive does it give for lawmakers and candidates to espouse and endorse these issues if you can get by with supporting their causes only three-fourths of the time?
I understand that Kirk has been a rare breed- a GOP elected official that is in some way warm toward the LGBITQ community. Though this may be in part due tot he fact that he is in Illinois, a typically blue slate. But let us consider also that in this year, the GOP has a lot more seats up for grabs than the Democrats. And only one party has really embraced LGBITQ inclusion. Backing Kirk and potentially tipping the scales in his favor could keep in power the political party that—with few exceptions— stands in the way of progress for our community.
This is not the first controversy that HRC has found itself embroiled in. From their reluctant embrace of Trans issues to their puzzling endorsement of Secretary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary (a curious, but arguably less controversial pick than Kirk) have kept the Campaign in the spotlight. But this most recent and in many ways confounding move seems to fly in the face of what the Human Rights Campaign stands for and threatens to pose a real threat to the LGBITQ community. Donors should rethink any future donations to a group with such a puzzling decision making process.
I know that I have.