HRC revokes endorsement of Sen. Mark Kirk following racists commentsAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, October 31st, 2016
WASHINGTON — Saturday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced it is revoking the endorsement of Sen. Mark Kirk, following his comment about Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s heritage. HRC has also endorsed Duckworth for Senate and is contributing the maximum to her campaign.
ABC 7 Chicago reported that during a debate Thursday, Kirk made a comment about Duckworth’s heritage. After Duckworth described her family’s history of military service, Kirk responded, “I forgot your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”
HRC President Chad Griffin released the following open letter to members and supporters explaining this decision:
“After careful consideration, HRC’s Public Policy Committee of the Board of Directors has taken the unprecedented step — a first in our 36-year history — of revoking an endorsement. We are a bipartisan organization and our staff and board make endorsement decisions based on a proven record of LGBTQ equality and a candidate’s ability to drive legislative change. We will not continue to make progress and pass the Equality Act without Republican support. It’s vitally important that we continue to build bipartisan coalitions so that we may continue to move equality forward. We endorsed the sitting senator, Mark Kirk, because he has been a strong supporter of our cause time and again, scoring a 100 percent on HRC’s most recent Congressional Scorecard. But events this week have gone beyond the pale for our standards of leadership.
“Leadership is about more than the legislation one sponsors and the votes one casts. On Thursdaynight, Senator Kirk’s comments about his opponent’s heritage were deeply offensive and racist. His attempt to use Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s race as a means to undermine her family’s American heritage and patriotism is beyond reprehensible. Yesterday, Senator Kirk tweeted an apology that failed to adequately address the real harm and magnitude of his words. So today, following a vote by our board’s committee, the Human Rights Campaign withdrew our support of Senator Kirk.
“Attacking someone because of her race and ethnicity is inexcusable for anyone, but especially for a sitting U.S. Senator. The diversity of our movement is our greatest strength, and Senator Kirk’s remarks were an affront to our most fundamental values. We have therefore voted to endorse Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who has been a strong LGBTQ ally in the House of Representatives, and HRC has contributed the maximum amount to her campaign. We look forward to working with her in the Senate to secure full federal equality for all LGBTQ Americans.
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