One is painfully aware that it is not necessarily a smart move to ever “report” on the current Democratic presidential race. There is an increasingly troubling trend for sheer outrage and verbal assault for noting or commenting on one particular candidate. It leads one to wonder about the ability of some on the left to embrace the basic human right to either report the news or opine on the state of politics.
That being said, it was ‘reported’ on Tuesday that the largest LGBT rights organization in America, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), announced it had endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. The organization’s president, Chad Griffin, issued a statement saying,
“All the progress we have made as a nation on LGBT equality — and all the progress we have yet to make — is at stake in November. While they fight to take us backwards, Hillary Clinton is fighting to advance LGBT equality across our nation and throughout the world. We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for president, and believe that she is the champion we can count on in November — and every day she occupies the Oval Office.”
Griffin is right, by the way, Clinton has made protecting and expanding LGBT rights one of her presidential campaign’s pillars. In fact, during a speech for HRC last October, the former Senator and Secretary of State warned that Republicans would try to roll back marriage equality and gay rights, and she pledged she would defend them as president. She said, “I’ve been fighting alongside you and others for equal rights and I’m just getting warmed up. That’s a promise, from one HRC to another.”
Sure enough, religious Republicans at the state and federal level have expressed no interest whatsoever in adhering to the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all Americans or acknowledging the Supreme Court’s constitutional authority to enforce equal rights provisions in the 14th Amendment.
On Tuesday, Clinton pledged her ardent support for the Equality Act that amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include discrimination against LGBT people. Clinton also said she supports transgender people serving in the military, and will put an end the brutally-Spartan practice of gay ‘conversion therapy’ on minors. Hillary said,
“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign—the nation’s largest organization working to achieve full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign and millions of advocates across the country, we’ve made tremendous progress. But our work is far from over. Too many LGBT Americans still face discrimination—in employment, in housing, in education, in health care—because of who they are or who they love. And the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher. The Republican candidates for president have not only hurled hateful, insulting rhetoric about the LGBT community—they’ve made it clear that if elected, they will roll back the rights that so many have fought for.”
Now, what is always baffling are questions to Clinton about former President Bill Clinton’s role in signing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) twenty years ago in 1996. Clinton notes that at the time, DOMA was a “lesser evil” to the religious Republicans’ crusade for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and likely gays as well. However none of that matters one iota; Hillary Rodham Clinton is not Bill Clinton and like a couple of hundred-million Americans, the mood of the nation is not what it was twenty years ago.
In fact, in 2008 and 2012, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Barack Obama regardless he was not the same strong advocate for equal rights for same-sex couples he is today. However, HRC listened carefully to then-Senator Obama’s staunch support for the Constitution and rightly determined that when framed as an equal rights issue, the President would see the travesty of denying Americans their equal rights based on religion and archaic laws.
Clinton remarked about why her stance on same-sex marriage evolved over the past twenty years. She said, her daughter, Chelsea began encouraging her to speak out in support of same-sex marriage while she was Secretary of State. She also cited her daughter’s recent marriage as a contributing factor to her evolution. She shared that,
“A few years ago, Bill and I celebrated as our own daughter married the love of her life, and I wish every parent the same joy. To deny that opportunity to any of our daughters and sons solely on the basis of who they are and who they love is to deny them the chance to live up to their own God-given potential.”
One doesn’t know, or care frankly, about “god-given” potential, but Clinton’s sentiment and stance is paramount in providing every American, no matter their sexual preference, race, or religion, with their constitutionally-guaranteed equal rights. They are, after all, guaranteed rights documented for posterity in the 14th Amendment and upheld by the current conservative Supreme Court.
Sadly, those rights, although affirmed by the conservative Court as protected under the 14th Amendment in the Constitution are under attack by religious Republicans and their powerful evangelical fanatic base. Whichever candidate wins the nomination, they will be in for a sustained and vicious assault by the religious right and their equally religious Republican hate-group and the Human Rights Campaign believes Hillary Rodham Clinton is up to the task to protect the LGBT community and more importantly, the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all Americans.