WASHINGTON, D.C. — National pro-LGBTQ non-profit the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was inspired by its own influence in partnership with Equality North Carolina (ENC) in the 2016 gubernatorial race. The immense grassroots effort coordinated through the two organizations raised public ire for former Gov. Pat McCrory’s staunch defense of House Bill 2 (HB2), the notoriously transphobic “bathroom bill.”
HRC data revealed that 57 percent of voters on Election Day cited HB2 as the reason they voted against Gov. Pat McCrory. Now, Gov. Roy Cooper’s victory set a standard for LGBTQ activism; the power of grassroots campaigns on election results was proven.
“Our grassroots army of over 3 million has proven that, even in the face of unprecedented challenges, we can make incredible progress and defeat the hateful politicians who’ve been emboldened by Donald Trump when we organize and mobilize,” HRC President Chad Griffin said upon announcing the HRC Rising campaign. “The power and determination of the 10 million LGBTQ voters and our allies across America will only continue to grow stronger in the face of discriminatory attacks on our rights and freedoms.”
The national organization has committed itself to continuing to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation with a similar method used against HB2. HRC recently announced a $26 million campaign called “HRC Rising,” aimed at mobilizing local allies in LGBTQ rights battleground states.
The campaign will seek nationwide results, with particular focus in areas where anti-LGBTQ laws are most extreme, or most frequently considered. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada are all on the organization’s focused agenda.
In these regions, the campaign will focus on supporting pro-equality candidates, as well as expanding HRC’s personnel by 20 new full-time employees. The increased staff and volunteers will work “to expand local partnerships, recruit additional volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and…flex political muscle in legislatures and at the ballot box,” the organization announced.
The partnership with ENC was so fruitful, HRC is now intensifying its focus on similar partnerships with local organizations.
“Staff and volunteers will work with state and local organizations and partners in coalition,” the press release announced, “to bolster efforts to advance equality, defend the LGBTQ community against attacks, and deliver wins for pro-equality candidates in order to lay the groundwork for future legislative victories.”
The unprecedented attack on LGBTQ rights that was HB2 continues to have influence despite its “repeal” early this year. HB 142, a “compromise” that HRC steadfastly denounced, may be another legislative target for the campaign against inequality.
“HB142 merely repackages the discrimination of HB2 and calls it by a different name,” HRC and ENC executives wrote in a June 30 letter to Gov. Cooper. “We need the bold, decisive leadership you promised and a seat at the table when it comes to our civil rights.”
HB 142 is just one of dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills that HRC and local partner organizations have committed to battle in the coming election cycle. Despite a tenuous victory in Gov. Cooper’s election, there is plenty more work to do both in North Carolina and nationwide.
“It’s not enough to resist the hateful policies and attacks coming from the Trump-Pence regime,” Griffin said. “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.”