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In what the organizations officials are calling “the largest grassroots expansion in our history”, a major LGBT-rights group is adding $26 million in funding to counter President Trumps anti-gay agenda.

 

By Nathan James

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a Washington-based nonprofit, is allocating the money because, says CEO Chad Griffin, “It’s not enough to resist the hateful policies and attacks coming from the Trump-Pence regime. We’ve got to accelerate the pace of progress toward full equality and secure protections for LGBTQ people in states and communities across the country. That’s why we’re going on offense.

Since taking office, President Trump has initiated several hostile measures, among them reversing an Obama directive on transgender public school students using restrooms compliant with their gender identity, abolishing the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), and publicly addressing one of the largest anti-LGBT groups in the country, affirming the trend towards “Turn Away The Gays” laws. Griffin said the funds would be used to support political initiatives aimed at the ballot box. “The power and determination of the 10 million LGBTQ voters and our allies across America,” Griffin noted, “will only continue to grow stronger in the face of discriminatory attacks on our rights and freedoms.

Over the course of its 37-year history, the Human Rights Campaign has worked to achieve nationwide marriage equality, military service for gay, lesbian, and transgender recruits and active-duty soldiers or sailors, and spearheaded the “Legalize Gay” movement, which ended the criminalizaton of homosexuality.

With the accession of Trump and his extreme-right core constituency, HRC officials see a sweeping rollback of these, and other LGBT gains, as the White House advances its own agendas. To help counteract these developments, HRC is adding more full-time employees to its ranks, and stepping up its activities where battleground Senate races are expected in the 2018 mid-term elections.

Photo by Steve Baker

Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as Senate President, has indicated support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which would legalize anti-LGBT discrimination on “religious grounds” nationwide, effectively returning Jim Crow legislation on a continental scale. The HRC has vowed to “vigorously defend all the gains we’ve made over the past half-century“, since the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion ignited the LGBT-rights movement.