History will be made tonight at the Democratic National Convention as equality champion Hillary Clinton takes the stage becoming the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major party. It will also be a historic night for LGBTQ progress, as HRC’s Sarah McBride becomes the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention. HRC President Chad Griffin, a vice chair of the convention, will also speak tonight, as will Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.
Griffin is expected to speak around 4:55 Eastern. McBride is expected to speak at about 5:50 PM Eastern. Follow along as @HRC livetweets their remarks tonight.
Chelsea Clinton, who during a luncheon for LGBTQ delegates yesterday hosted by HRC and Victory Institute lambasted the Republican Party for its support of dangerous so-called “conversion therapy, will introduce her mother. The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights, will also address the convention.
McBride will be introduced by openly-gay Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus. A number of pro-LGBTQ lawmakers will take the stage tonight, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
The convention this year includes a record number of LGBTQ delegates -- including a historic high of 27 transgender delegates. Transgender rights advocate Marisa Richmond is serving as official timekeeper; and Mara Keisling, a veteran trans advocate, is serving on the platform committee. Watch here as McBride talks about the Democratic Party’s most pro-LGBTQ platform in history.
Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton
Secretary Clinton has a formidable record as a champion for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. and around the world. As a U.S. Senator from New York, she helped lead on measures protecting LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination and established a strong record on key votes and legislation important to LGBTQ Americans. She was the first Secretary of State to robustly advocate for LGBTQ equality throughout the world, declaring that “gay rights are human rights” in a historic and forceful 2011 speech to the United Nations. View more on her record and agenda here.
Governor Andrew Cuomo
Last fall Governor Cuomo took the historic step of extending vital non-discrimination protections to transgender New Yorkers and visitors in employment, housing and public accommodations. Building upon state and federal case law, Cuomo’s administration issued regulations clarifying that gender identity is included in the definition of sex, and protected under state non-discrimination laws.
During his tenure, Cuomo has made LGBTQ equality a core part of his agenda. Cuomo was honored by HRC earlier this year for efforts towards marriage equality, combating HIV/AIDS and conversion therapy and improving opportunities for transgender citizens.
Reverend William Barber
Reverend William Barber, the dynamic and widely-respected head of the North Carolina NAACP is a forceful advocate for LGBTQ rights. Barber has consistently decried North Carolina’s HB2 law as discriminatory, and joined 16 religious leaders in a statement calling for an end to “religious refusal” bills that allow discrimination against LGBTQ people. He also led a mass sit-in at the state legislature demanding immediate repeal of HB2.
Senator Brown and Senator Mikulski
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Barb Mikulski (D-MD) are both original cosponsors of the Equality Act, and have been consistently strong allies to the LGBTQ community throughout their tenures. In addition, they are cosponsors of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), which would prohibit discrimination against students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. They are also cosponsors of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), which would require schools to adopt codes of conduct against bullying and harassment.
Governor Tom Wolf
Governor Wolf immediately established himself as a leader for LGBTQ policy when he took office in 2015. Earlier this year, he signed two executive orders prohibiting state contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Last week, Wolf designated businesses owned by LGBTQ people as state "Small Diverse Businesses," a designation providing small businesses better access to government contracts. Along with 78 percent of Pennsylvania residents, Wolf supports updating the state's current non-discrimination laws, and is also pushing for passage of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, a comprehensive non-discrimination measure that would extend protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The combination of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine make for the most pro-equality ticket in history. Hillary Clinton has made LGBTQ equality a pillar of her campaign, including calling it her “highest priority” to pass and sign into law the Equality Act. In addition, she supports the military’s decision ending the ban on open transgender military service, is fighting to outlaw dangerous and debunked “conversion therapy” for minors and is calling for an end to the epidemic of transgender violence. Read more on Clinton’s strong LGBTQ platform and record here.
Running mate Tim Kaine also has a strong LGBTQ record. In addition to supporting marriage equality, Kaine is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act. One of Kaine’s first actions as Virginia Governor in 2006 was to sign an executive order adding sexual orientation protections to the non-discrimination policy for state workers. Kaine also recently signed onto an amicus brief in the 2nd Circuit case, Christiansen v Omnicom Group Inc., arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).
Clinton-Kaine stand in stark contrast with the Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Among his anti-equality positions, Trump has vowed to rescind marriage equality and pledged to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overturn last year’s historic Obergefell marriage equality ruling. He has pledged to sign the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which could allow individuals, many businesses, and nonprofit organizations to circumvent critical federal protections and blatantly discriminate against LGBTQ families.
Pence, in a now notorious interview with ABC last year, refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015 for his “license to discriminate” bill -- which threatened to allow businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people -- and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters.
Read more on how Trump and Pence would put LGBTQ equality at risk on HRC’s new “Dump Trump” site.
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