Seven years ago this week, former Vice President Joseph Biden gave an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that fundamentally altered the course of the marriage equality movement.
Biden — now the front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — stepped out on a limb with moving remarks on extending marriage rights to gay couples, a memorable act on behalf of LGBT rights that distinguishes him in the field of Democratic candidates.
On May 6, 2012, Biden was asked on “Meet the Press” whether his views had evolved on same-sex marriage. The vice president replied the matter “is all about a simple proposition. Who do you love. Who do you love?”
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Biden continued. “And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction — beyond that.”
Biden had just come out for marriage equality at a time when same-sex couples could marry in just six states and D.C. and then-President Barack Obama was still in the middle a years-long evolution on same-sex marriage.
During the interview, Biden added he had just visited the home of a same-sex couple in Los Angeles for a fundraiser, where he had an epiphany after seeing the young children the couple was raising.
“And I said, ‘I wish every American could see the look of love those kids had in their eyes for you guys,'” Biden said. “And they wouldn’t have any doubt about what this is about.'”
Moe Vela, who’s gay and served at the time as Biden’s director of administration and senior adviser, said Biden’s comments on same-sex marriage weren’t a surprise to him because the vice president and his wife, second lady Jill Biden, had previously confided to him they backed marriage equality.
“I have tell to you from the first personal and private conversation I had with them as an openly gay senior member of his staff, both of them…in that early time period had already shared with me that they were passionately supportive of marriage equality,” Vela said.
But Vela said Biden’s interview was also a source of conflict: On the one hand, it was “one of the most affirming emotional moments of my life,” on the other he “knew the president wasn’t there yet.”
“I was so proud…to work for these two people and to manage the office of these two people, I mean, had our back…but the conflict for me was I developed almost an antsy-ness,” Vela said. “If my boss could be for this, why isn’t this something this White House is going to support, right?”
A Biden campaign spokesperson told the Blade this week the Democratic presidential candidate still remembers his 2012 words on “Meet the Press” and they remain important to him.
“Joe Biden’s parents instilled in him an obligation to stand up to the abuse of power or discrimination from the time he was a child,” the spokesperson said. “When the question of marriage equality came up in 2012, at a time when nearly every pundit and prognosticator said that it was politically unwise, Joe Biden spoke up. He stated clearly that for him, and he believed for the vast majority of Americans, it was a simple proposition: who do you love.”
Although many, including stars like Debra Messing of “Will & Grace,” saw Biden’s words as an endorsement of same-sex marriage, there was significant confusion about whether Biden had, in fact, come out for same-sex marriage.
After all, saying “men marrying men, women marrying women” should have “the same exact rights” other couples enjoy isn’t the same as saying gay couples should be able to get legally married under the law.
Arguably, Biden was articulating the position of the Obama administration at the time, which was support for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that barred the federal benefits of marriage from flowing to married same-sex couples.
The vice president’s office at the time pushed back on interpreting his comments as an endorsement of same-sex marriage, issuing a statement declaring his position was consistent with Obama’s.
“The vice president was saying what the president has said previously — that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights,” the statement said. “That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it. Beyond that, the vice president was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country.”
Vela said Biden, in fact, had come out in support of same-sex marriage at the time and the initial statement downplaying the remarks was the vice president’s way of making trying to make Obama not look bad.
“I think that the vice president is a very loyal man,” Vela said. “He’s loyal and he had the utmost respect for his boss, Barack Obama, president of the United States, and so I don’t know why we would hold Joe Biden to any different standard than any of us would hold ourselves. Would you get out in front of your boss on an issue?”
A little PR at the time helped move along the widespread interpretation of Biden’s remarks as an endorsement of marriage equality.
Chad Griffin, who at the time had been chosen as the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, but was not yet in the role, was among those pushing that interpretation forward.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Griffin said “only in Washington and only in politics could someone parse the words of what the vice president said” and Biden was “very clear and very direct when asked if he was comfortable with gay marriage.”
That seemed to do the trick. The next day, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was hammered with questions throughout his regular briefing on Biden’s remarks and whether Biden had gotten in front of the president and why Obama continued to oppose same-sex marriage.
The fallout was immediate. Days later, Obama gave his own interview with Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” (who was closeted at the time) to declare his evolution on same-sex marriage was complete and say he “just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Senior administration officials at the time told reporters, including the Washington Blade, Obama had actually completed his evolution on same-sex marriage a while back and was planning to make the announcement in conjunction with the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Biden’s remarks, officials said, just made that announcement happen a little sooner.
Nonetheless, the perception — which remains to this day — was Biden had taken the lead from Obama and come out first in support of marriage equality.
Following the announcements from Biden and Obama, numerous other public figures — ranging from House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to singer Jay-Z — declared their support for same-sex marriage. The endorsements from the two leaders had the effort of normalizing a position that heretofore was widely considered controversial.
Months later, the societal effects were evident with victories in every state where same-sex marriage was on the ballot. Maryland, Maine and Washington State legalized same-sex marriage and Minnesota rejected an amendment that would have made a ban on same-sex marriage part of the state constitution.
Nothing like that had ever occurred before. It led to a series of state legislatures legalizing same-sex marriage and preceded the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015 ensuring marriage rights for gay couples nationwide.
Evan Wolfson, who founded and led Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples, said Biden’s words helped move the ball forward to achieve major victories at a later time.
“Joe Biden played an important role in helping get the Obama administration out front making the case for the freedom to marry, and together with President Obama gave many millions of Americans permission to change their mind and rise to fairness,” Wolfson said. “They explained their journey to support in personal, emotional terms, talking of the loving and committed gay couples they knew, the kids some were raising and the Golden Rule values of treating others as you’d want to be treated.”
Andrew Sullivan, a gay conservative commentator and early proponent of marriage equality, said Biden, however, played a small role in those achievements overall.
“I don’t think any single politician’s words made that much of a difference, to be honest,” Sullivan said. “The movement was driven from below, not above. We led and the politicians followed.”
Still, Sullivan acknowledged Biden spoke out at a time when other politicians were evolving or said nothing on marriage equality.
“It’s definitely to his credit that he helped accelerate Obama’s own announcement of support,” Sullivan said. “Much, much better than the silence we were used to getting from most mainstream pols.”
It wouldn’t be the last time Biden got out in front of the Obama administration on LGBT rights.
When LGBT advocates were pushing for an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from engaging in workplace discrimination against LGBT people, Biden said in an interview with the Huffington Post in 2014 he saw no “downside” to the directive. Months later, Obama would sign the directive.
When the Equality Act was first introduced in the first years of the Obama administration, Biden called for its passage at the 2015 Human Rights Campaign dinner. Immediately afterward, then-White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration wasn’t prepared to endorse it “yet,” but soon after, declared support for the legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination on behalf of Obama.
The vice president also made U.S. advocacy for LGBT human rights overseas a priority in his foreign policy vision, saying in speeches nations that persecute LGBT people are countries in which “justice does not live.”
The Biden campaign spokesperson said the 2020 candidate’s early support for marriage equality was just part of his strong support for LGBT rights.
“Biden has continued to be a stalwart supporter of LGBTQ people and LGBTQ rights, believing that no one should be discriminated against — at work, by law, in uniform — based on who they love or their gender identity, reflected in his strong support for hate crimes legislation, the Equality Act, and his advocacy for the right of transgender Americans to serve their country,” the spokesperson said.
But Biden’s words on marriage equality in 2015 remain his most definitive and strongly remembered act on gay rights during his tenure as vice president.
Vela said Biden’s endorsement of marriage equality was part and parcel of the vice president and his wife’s broader advocacy for LGBT rights as president — both at home and abroad.
“I traveled to several countries with them around the world, and I traveled across the United States with them on many occasions,” Vela said. “I never, ever have seen two people genuinely in love with our LGBTQ family the way they do. They literally love us, and is it not political, it’s not pretentious, it’s not poll-driven, from the Bidens, it’s from the heart.”
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Honoring the legacy of New Orleans’ 1973 UpStairs Lounge fire
Why the arson attack that killed 32 gay men still resonates 50 years later
On June 23 of last year, I held the microphone as a gay man in the New Orleans City Council Chamber and related a lost piece of queer history to the seven council members. I told this story to disabuse all New Orleanians of the notion that silence and accommodation, in the face of institutional and official failures, are a path to healing.
The story I related to them began on a typical Sunday night at a second-story bar on the fringe of New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1973, where working-class men would gather around a white baby grand piano and belt out the lyrics to a song that was the anthem of their hidden community, “United We Stand” by the Brotherhood of Man.
“United we stand,” the men would sing together, “divided we fall” — the words epitomizing the ethos of their beloved UpStairs Lounge bar, an egalitarian free space that served as a forerunner to today’s queer safe havens.
Around that piano in the 1970s Deep South, gays and lesbians, white and Black queens, Christians and non-Christians, and even early gender minorities could cast aside the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the times to find acceptance and companionship for a moment.
For regulars, the UpStairs Lounge was a miracle, a small pocket of acceptance in a broader world where their very identities were illegal.
On the Sunday night of June 24, 1973, their voices were silenced in a murderous act of arson that claimed 32 lives and still stands as the deadliest fire in New Orleans history — and the worst mass killing of gays in 20th century America.
As 13 fire companies struggled to douse the inferno, police refused to question the chief suspect, even though gay witnesses identified and brought the soot-covered man to officers idly standing by. This suspect, an internally conflicted gay-for-pay sex worker named Rodger Dale Nunez, had been ejected from the UpStairs Lounge screaming the word “burn” minutes before, but New Orleans police rebuffed the testimony of fire survivors on the street and allowed Nunez to disappear.
As the fire raged, police denigrated the deceased to reporters on the street: “Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”
For days afterward, the carnage met with official silence. With no local gay political leaders willing to step forward, national Gay Liberation-era figures like Rev. Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church flew in to “help our bereaved brothers and sisters” — and shatter officialdom’s code of silence.
Perry broke local taboos by holding a press conference as an openly gay man. “It’s high time that you people, in New Orleans, Louisiana, got the message and joined the rest of the Union,” Perry said.
Two days later, on June 26, 1973, as families hesitated to step forward to identify their kin in the morgue, UpStairs Lounge owner Phil Esteve stood in his badly charred bar, the air still foul with death. He rebuffed attempts by Perry to turn the fire into a call for visibility and progress for homosexuals.
“This fire had very little to do with the gay movement or with anything gay,” Esteve told a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I do not want my bar or this tragedy to be used to further any of their causes.”
Conspicuously, no photos of Esteve appeared in coverage of the UpStairs Lounge fire or its aftermath — and the bar owner also remained silent as he witnessed police looting the ashes of his business.
“Phil said the cash register, juke box, cigarette machine and some wallets had money removed,” recounted Esteve’s friend Bob McAnear, a former U.S. Customs officer. “Phil wouldn’t report it because, if he did, police would never allow him to operate a bar in New Orleans again.”
The next day, gay bar owners, incensed at declining gay bar traffic amid an atmosphere of anxiety, confronted Perry at a clandestine meeting. “How dare you hold your damn news conferences!” one business owner shouted.
Ignoring calls for gay self-censorship, Perry held a 250-person memorial for the fire victims the following Sunday, July 1, culminating in mourners defiantly marching out the front door of a French Quarter church into waiting news cameras. “Reverend Troy Perry awoke several sleeping giants, me being one of them,” recalled Charlene Schneider, a lesbian activist who walked out of that front door with Perry.
Esteve doubted the UpStairs Lounge story’s capacity to rouse gay political fervor. As the coroner buried four of his former patrons anonymously on the edge of town, Esteve quietly collected at least $25,000 in fire insurance proceeds. Less than a year later, he used the money to open another gay bar called the Post Office, where patrons of the UpStairs Lounge — some with visible burn scars — gathered but were discouraged from singing “United We Stand.”
New Orleans cops neglected to question the chief arson suspect and closed the investigation without answers in late August 1973. Gay elites in the city’s power structure began gaslighting the mourners who marched with Perry into the news cameras, casting suspicion on their memories and re-characterizing their moment of liberation as a stunt.
When a local gay journalist asked in April 1977, “Where are the gay activists in New Orleans?,” Esteve responded that there were none, because none were needed. “We don’t feel we’re discriminated against,” Esteve said. “New Orleans gays are different from gays anywhere else… Perhaps there is some correlation between the amount of gay activism in other cities and the degree of police harassment.”
An attitude of nihilism and disavowal descended upon the memory of the UpStairs Lounge victims, goaded by Esteve and fellow gay entrepreneurs who earned their keep via gay patrons drowning their sorrows each night instead of protesting the injustices that kept them drinking.
Into the 1980s, the story of the UpStairs Lounge all but vanished from conversation — with the exception of a few sanctuaries for gay political debate such as the local lesbian bar Charlene’s, run by the activist Charlene Schneider.
By 1988, the 15th anniversary of the fire, the UpStairs Lounge narrative comprised little more than a call for better fire codes and indoor sprinklers. UpStairs Lounge survivor Stewart Butler summed it up: “A tragedy that, as far as I know, no good came of.”
Finally, in 1991, at Stewart Butler and Charlene Schneider’s nudging, the UpStairs Lounge story became aligned with the crusade of liberated gays and lesbians seeking equal rights in Louisiana. The halls of power responded with intermittent progress. The New Orleans City Council, horrified by the story but not yet ready to take its look in the mirror, enacted an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting gays and lesbians in housing, employment, and public accommodations that Dec. 12 — more than 18 years after the fire.
“I believe the fire was the catalyst for the anger to bring us all to the table,” Schneider told The Times-Picayune, a tacit rebuke to Esteve’s strategy of silent accommodation. Even Esteve seemed to change his stance with time, granting a full interview with the first UpStairs Lounge scholar Johnny Townsend sometime around 1989.
Most of the figures in this historic tale are now deceased. What’s left is an enduring story that refused to go gently. The story now echoes around the world — a musical about the UpStairs Lounge fire recently played in Tokyo, translating the gay underworld of the 1973 French Quarter for Japanese audiences.
When I finished my presentation to the City Council last June, I looked up to see the seven council members in tears. Unanimously, they approved a resolution acknowledging the historic failures of city leaders in the wake of the UpStairs Lounge fire.
Council members personally apologized to UpStairs Lounge families and survivors seated in the chamber in a symbolic act that, though it could not bring back those who died, still mattered greatly to those whose pain had been denied, leaving them to grieve alone. At long last, official silence and indifference gave way to heartfelt words of healing.
The way Americans remember the past is an active, ongoing process. Our collective memory is malleable, but it matters because it speaks volumes about our maturity as a people, how we acknowledge the past’s influence in our lives, and how it shapes the examples we set for our youth. Do we grapple with difficult truths, or do we duck accountability by defaulting to nostalgia and bluster? Or worse, do we simply ignore the past until it fades into a black hole of ignorance and indifference?
I believe that a factual retelling of the UpStairs Lounge tragedy — and how, 50 years onward, it became known internationally — resonates beyond our current divides. It reminds queer and non-queer Americans that ignoring the past holds back the present, and that silence is no cure for what ails a participatory nation.
Silence isolates. Silence gaslights and shrouds. It preserves the power structures that scapegoat the disempowered.
Solidarity, on the other hand, unites. Solidarity illuminates a path forward together. Above all, solidarity transforms the downtrodden into a resounding chorus of citizens — in the spirit of voices who once gathered ‘round a white baby grand piano and sang, joyfully and loudly, “United We Stand.”
Robert W. Fieseler is a New Orleans-based journalist and the author of “Tinderbox: the Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation.”
New Supreme Court term includes critical LGBTQ case with ‘terrifying’ consequences
Business owner seeks to decline services for same-sex weddings
The U.S. Supreme Court, after a decision overturning Roe v. Wade that still leaves many reeling, is starting a new term with justices slated to revisit the issue of LGBTQ rights.
In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court will return to the issue of whether or not providers of custom-made goods can refuse service to LGBTQ customers on First Amendment grounds. In this case, the business owner is Lorie Smith, a website designer in Colorado who wants to opt out of providing her graphic design services for same-sex weddings despite the civil rights law in her state.
Jennifer Pizer, acting chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, said in an interview with the Blade, “it’s not too much to say an immeasurably huge amount is at stake” for LGBTQ people depending on the outcome of the case.
“This contrived idea that making custom goods, or offering a custom service, somehow tacitly conveys an endorsement of the person — if that were to be accepted, that would be a profound change in the law,” Pizer said. “And the stakes are very high because there are no practical, obvious, principled ways to limit that kind of an exception, and if the law isn’t clear in this regard, then the people who are at risk of experiencing discrimination have no security, no effective protection by having a non-discrimination laws, because at any moment, as one makes their way through the commercial marketplace, you don’t know whether a particular business person is going to refuse to serve you.”
The upcoming arguments and decision in the 303 Creative case mark a return to LGBTQ rights for the Supreme Court, which had no lawsuit to directly address the issue in its previous term, although many argued the Dobbs decision put LGBTQ rights in peril and threatened access to abortion for LGBTQ people.
And yet, the 303 Creative case is similar to other cases the Supreme Court has previously heard on the providers of services seeking the right to deny services based on First Amendment grounds, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In both of those cases, however, the court issued narrow rulings on the facts of litigation, declining to issue sweeping rulings either upholding non-discrimination principles or First Amendment exemptions.
Pizer, who signed one of the friend-of-the-court briefs in opposition to 303 Creative, said the case is “similar in the goals” of the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation on the basis they both seek exemptions to the same non-discrimination law that governs their business, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, and seek “to further the social and political argument that they should be free to refuse same-sex couples or LGBTQ people in particular.”
“So there’s the legal goal, and it connects to the social and political goals and in that sense, it’s the same as Masterpiece,” Pizer said. “And so there are multiple problems with it again, as a legal matter, but also as a social matter, because as with the religion argument, it flows from the idea that having something to do with us is endorsing us.”
One difference: the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation stemmed from an act of refusal of service after owner, Jack Phillips, declined to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple for their upcoming wedding. No act of discrimination in the past, however, is present in the 303 Creative case. The owner seeks to put on her website a disclaimer she won’t provide services for same-sex weddings, signaling an intent to discriminate against same-sex couples rather than having done so.
As such, expect issues of standing — whether or not either party is personally aggrieved and able bring to a lawsuit — to be hashed out in arguments as well as whether the litigation is ripe for review as justices consider the case. It’s not hard to see U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sought to lead the court to reach less sweeping decisions (sometimes successfully, and sometimes in the Dobbs case not successfully) to push for a decision along these lines.
Another key difference: The 303 Creative case hinges on the argument of freedom of speech as opposed to the two-fold argument of freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise in the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation. Although 303 Creative requested in its petition to the Supreme Court review of both issues of speech and religion, justices elected only to take up the issue of free speech in granting a writ of certiorari (or agreement to take up a case). Justices also declined to accept another question in the petition request of review of the 1990 precedent in Smith v. Employment Division, which concluded states can enforce neutral generally applicable laws on citizens with religious objections without violating the First Amendment.
Representing 303 Creative in the lawsuit is Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that has sought to undermine civil rights laws for LGBTQ people with litigation seeking exemptions based on the First Amendment, such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
Kristen Waggoner, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in a Sept. 12 legal brief signed by her and other attorneys that a decision in favor of 303 Creative boils down to a clear-cut violation of the First Amendment.
“Colorado and the United States still contend that CADA only regulates sales transactions,” the brief says. “But their cases do not apply because they involve non-expressive activities: selling BBQ, firing employees, restricting school attendance, limiting club memberships, and providing room access. Colorado’s own cases agree that the government may not use public-accommodation laws to affect a commercial actor’s speech.”
Pizer, however, pushed back strongly on the idea a decision in favor of 303 Creative would be as focused as Alliance Defending Freedom purports it would be, arguing it could open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“One way to put it is art tends to be in the eye of the beholder,” Pizer said. “Is something of a craft, or is it art? I feel like I’m channeling Lily Tomlin. Remember ‘soup and art’? We have had an understanding that whether something is beautiful or not is not the determining factor about whether something is protected as artistic expression. There’s a legal test that recognizes if this is speech, whose speech is it, whose message is it? Would anyone who was hearing the speech or seeing the message understand it to be the message of the customer or of the merchants or craftsmen or business person?”
Despite the implications in the case for LGBTQ rights, 303 Creative may have supporters among LGBTQ people who consider themselves proponents of free speech.
One joint friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, written by Dale Carpenter, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who’s written in favor of LGBTQ rights, and Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment legal scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues the case is an opportunity to affirm the First Amendment applies to goods and services that are uniquely expressive.
“Distinguishing expressive from non-expressive products in some contexts might be hard, but the Tenth Circuit agreed that Smith’s product does not present a hard case,” the brief says. “Yet that court (and Colorado) declined to recognize any exemption for products constituting speech. The Tenth Circuit has effectively recognized a state interest in subjecting the creation of speech itself to antidiscrimination laws.”
Oral arguments in the case aren’t yet set, but may be announced soon. Set to defend the state of Colorado and enforcement of its non-discrimination law in the case is Colorado Solicitor General Eric Reuel Olson. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would grant the request to the U.S. solicitor general to present arguments before the justices on behalf of the Biden administration.
With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has recently scrapped the super-precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion, supporters of LGBTQ rights may think the outcome of the case is all but lost, especially amid widespread fears same-sex marriage would be next on the chopping block. After the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against 303 Creative in the lawsuit, the simple action by the Supreme Court to grant review in the lawsuit suggests they are primed to issue a reversal and rule in favor of the company.
Pizer, acknowledging the call to action issued by LGBTQ groups in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, conceded the current Supreme Court issuing the ruling in this case is “a terrifying prospect,” but cautioned the issue isn’t so much the makeup of the court but whether or not justices will continue down the path of abolishing case law.
“I think the question that we’re facing with respect to all of the cases or at least many of the cases that are in front of the court right now, is whether this court is going to continue on this radical sort of wrecking ball to the edifice of settled law and seemingly a goal of setting up whole new structures of what our basic legal principles are going to be. Are we going to have another term of that?” Pizer said. “And if so, that’s terrifying.”
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman, named president of Human Rights Campaign
Progressive activist a veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman and veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, is to become the next president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group announced on Tuesday.
Robinson is set to become the ninth president of the Human Rights Campaign after having served as executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and more than 12 years of experience as a leader in the progressive movement. She’ll be the first Black, queer woman to serve in that role.
“I’m honored and ready to lead HRC — and our more than three million member-advocates — as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people,” Robinson said. “This is a pivotal moment in our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people. We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us.”
The next Human Rights Campaign president is named as Democrats are performing well in polls in the mid-term elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving an opening for the LGBTQ group to play a key role amid fears LGBTQ rights are next on the chopping block.
“The overturning of Roe v. Wade reminds us we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing fundamental freedoms including the freedom to marry, voting rights, and privacy,” Robinson said. “We are facing a generational opportunity to rise to these challenges and create real, sustainable change. I believe that working together this change is possible right now. This next chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is about getting to freedom and liberation without any exceptions — and today I am making a promise and commitment to carry this work forward.”
The Human Rights Campaign announces its next president after a nearly year-long search process after the board of directors terminated its former president Alphonso David when he was ensnared in the sexual misconduct scandal that led former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. David has denied wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the LGBTQ group alleging racial discrimination.
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