Human Rights Campaign
For Immediate Release:
                                                                          Wednesday, June 16, 2004


‘From voting against the Defense of Marriage Act to actively opposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”
John Kerry is a true leader for our community,’ said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign today endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for President of the United States.  The decision was made by HRC’s board of directors based on the candidate’s support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, demonstrated leadership and his viability to win in November.

“From voting against the Defense of Marriage Act to actively opposing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ John Kerry is a true leader for our community,” said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.  “Just six months into his first Senate term in 1985, he introduced a gay civil rights bill.  His aggressive support for our community continued unabated for the years that followed, demonstrated time and again by perfect HRC ratings on GLBT issues in Congress.”

In 1996, Sen. Kerry was one of only 14 senators, and the only up for re-election, to cast a vote against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.  He also testified in front of a Senate committee in 1993 against the policy that prohibits military service by openly gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“I want to thank HRC for its endorsement.  We have worked together on so many battles and we still have many challenges ahead of us,” said John Kerry.  “I know that America finds its strength in the diversity of this great country.  I have worked for than 20 years to make sure that LGBT Americans are treated with dignity in our society and equality in our laws.  That fight is not over and I will be there for the fights in the future.”

Kerry is a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and voted for the bill in 1996.  In his Senate office, Kerry has a policy prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

“Senator Kerry is one of our strongest advocates against writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution,” added Jacques. “While we disagree with Senator Kerry on the issue of marriage for same-sex couples, he is firmly opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would deny our community equality for generations.  His opposition stands in stark contrast to President Bush, who has not only endorsed the amendment but is one of its chief advocates.”

Sen. Kerry also:

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political
organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign
support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at
work and in the community.