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The Human Rights Campaign Holds Gala Amidst ENDA Controversy

by Rose Ketabchi (rose [at]
The Human Rights Campaign is having its annual dinner in downtown San Francisco this evening. The dinner is a major event for the group and often attracts many politicians and celebrities. -But protests surrounding the event this year are expected to be particularly well-attended. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pulled out as a keynote speaker following intense lobbying from activists who are angry about the group’s stand on a federal gay rights bill. San Francisco city officials and many prominent gay rights leaders already agreed not to attend the event, which has been billed as a fund raiser to help defeat a November ballot measure banning gay marriage in California. Rose Ketabchi reports. (3.17)
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Especially driving around the San Francisco Bay Area, you might see one of these stickers: a yellow "=" in a blue square. That’s the logo for the Human Rights Campaign.
That’s Amanda Clarke. She was discharged from the army after coming out as a transgender woman. The HRC is one of the nation’s most prominent gay rights organizations. They’ve given over $500,000 to defeat the gay marriage ban. –But, like Clarke, many transgender activists and queer allies have been angry at the group since the fall, when its leaders agreed to support a federal job discrimination protection bill. That legislation protected gay men, lesbian women and bisexual people, but not transgender people. Amanda Clarke:
The HRC insists, however, that they are a group committed to the civil rights of transgender people as well as gay men and lesbians. In fact, a theme for tonight’s fund raising event is, “Unity.”
David Smith is Vice President for Programs at the Human Rights Campaign.
That was David Smith with the HRC. -And I’m Rose Ketabchi, reporting for KPFA.
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by Jaclyn R. Cady (jcady [at]
It would be more accurate to say,

"...when its leaders agreed to support a watered-down version of a crucial federal job discrimination protection bill. The original bill would have protected gay men, lesbian women, bisexual people, and transgender people, but the HRC-backed version dropped transgender protection."
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