The United States leading LGBTIQ group, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has endorsed Joe Biden for president on the anniversary of his support for same-sex marriage.
In an interview with the Washington Blade, Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the board of directors voted unanimously to endorse Biden after an extensive review, which concluded the candidate had a commitment to LGBTIQ people and other minority communities.
“We reviewed his record on marginalized communities,” David said. “We reviewed his prior comments on LGBTQ issues as well as issues that affect people who bring intersectional identities to the table. As an example, I’m black, I’m gay, I’m an immigrant. All of those issues are important for me and they happen to be for the Human Rights Campaign,” David said.
The announcement was timed to coincide with the eighth anniversary of Biden coming out in favour of marriage equality on Meet the Press, which helped bring a once contentious idea into the mainstream and preceded former President Barack Obama’s own endorsement three days later.
Unlike the previous 2016 election the HRC opted to stay out of the Democratic presidential primary and instead reviewed Biden and the other candidates.
“We thought it would be most appropriate — both from a symbolic perspective, but also substantively — to make the endorsement and we made the decision that May 6 was the right date,” David said. “It reminds us where we were several years ago, when same-sex couples could not marry in so many states in the country. And Joe Biden stood up, and was very vocal about his support of LGBTQ equality and that really changed the public discourse.”
David told the Washington Blade, Biden’s commitment to LGBTIQ rights was shown in his support for the Equality Act that will ban discrimination against the community, a plan to end HIV/AIDS by 2025 and ensuring the Affordable Health Care Act is fully implemented.
As part of its endorsement, the HRC has unveiled a plan to encourage LGBTIQ and “equality voters” to the polls. They estimate there are 57 million such voters across the United States and are skewed toward suburban women and members of minority groups.
David said an estimated 3.4 million voters in that category are at risk of not turning out for the election and the HRC plans to work to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We are going to be focused on those folks who may not be inclined to vote to make sure they understand the importance of the election, they’re engaged in the process,” David said.
In 2016 Biden, then Vice President, travelled with President Obama to Orlando Florida to pay tribute to victims of a deadly shooting at a gay night club that killed 49 and injured 53 others.