The baffling Human Rights Campaign endorsement of Republican Mark Kirk over Democrat Tammy Duckworth got even more awkward today as the internet got reacquainted with the news that in early March Kirk pledged to support Donald Trump.
— Tammy Duckworth (@TammyforIL) March 28, 2016
In case you need some background, Michelangelo Signorile took a survey of the head-scratching over HRC’s endorsement last week:
Kirk has only earned a score of 78 percent out of 100 percent from HRC, while his opponent, Democratic House member Tammy Duckworth, has a score of 100 — in addition to a real shot at taking the seat and handing Democrats the Senate. David Nir, political director at Daily Kos, called the endorsement as “appalling as it is embarrassing,” and “pathetic and stupid.” Mark Joseph Stern at Slate acknowledged the “long game” HRC may be playing in backing GOPers who vote pro-gay, but nonetheless drew the line at allowing the terribly anti-gay GOP leadership to retain the Senate this year, observing that HRC “does not seem to grasp…simple reality.”
At The New Republic, Eric Sasson rightly pointed to HRC’s “serious diversity problem” per an internal report that leaked, and to the optics of backing a white male Republican with a meager score over a woman of color and a combat veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraq war — and who has a perfect score. Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed had obtained the internal report last year, which called HRC “exclusionary,” “sexist,” and “homogenous.” This endorsement certainly lent more credence to that.
Griffin offered a statement last week in the defense of the endorsement:
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.
Still, some have questioned his imperfect Congressional Scorecard rating. But Senator Kirk’s score from the last Congress does not reflect his current co-sponsorship of the Equality Act. And because bills in the House and Senate have differed, comparing his rating to a House Member’s is apples to oranges…
In addition to the Human Rights Campaign’s failure to lead in combating the seemingly-viral spread of anti-LGBT legislation in the form of bathroom bills and ‘right to discriminate’ laws, the endorsement of Kirk is causing a lot of people to question what the hell is going on at the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group and lobbying organization.
— Kerry Eleveld (@kerryeleveld) March 28, 2016