WASHINGTON DC - Gay rights have so overpowered religious rights in court decisions over the past few years that candidates endorsed by groups such as the Human Rights Campaign are now more often than not immediately nixed by social conservative voters.
In the case of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, his campaign made no effort whatsoever to reach the state's Catholics, evangelicals or social conservatives in the recent Republican Primary. So, when two weeks ago, the Human Rights Campaign made a dramatic endorsement for Kirk over Democrat challenger Tammy Duckworth, it was no surprise.
However, the LGBT community was blind-sided by the endorsement, and are not happy with the HRC's pick for the fall election.
Thursday in the Independent Journal, the president of HRC Chad Griffin set up the background as to why the HRC chose as they did:
Two weeks ago, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Mark Kirk for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Some were quick to criticize us for endorsing a Republican incumbent who has voted with the LGBT community, and thought we should have endorsed a progressive opponent to oust him. But here’s why we believe that would have been wrong and short-sighted.
HRC has always aimed to make LGBT equality a bipartisan issue. That’s why HRC is, and always has been, a bipartisan organization. In fact, we have never in our history won a major legislative battle without bipartisan support. Today, that bipartisan support is all the more important when the threshold for passing anything through the Senate is 60 votes. The truth is we need more cross party cooperation on issues of equality, not less.
So when members of Congress vote the right way and stand up for equality—regardless of party—we must stand with them. We simply cannot ask members of Congress to vote with us, and then turn around and try to kick them out of office.
Senator Kirk has been a strong ally in the Republican Party. He was the first Senate Republican to cosponsor the Equality Act, a critical step towards full federal equality. He was one of fewer than a dozen Congressional Republicans to support marriage equality, and he was also the Republican lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). He supported the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. And, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would never have passed the Senate without the leadership of Republican Senators including Mark Kirk.
Griffin's explanation moves ahead - leaving social conservatives in Illinois that believe religious liberties should not be set aside for sexual lifestyle preferences with little choice in the November election.