"The Human Rights Campaign has been at the forefront of the fight for GLBT equality and opportunity, and I am proud to have its endorsement," Senator Obama said. "Too often, the issue of GLBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. I look forward to working with HRC to end discrimination against GLBT Americans and to ensure that all of our citizens are treated with dignity and respect."
"HRC is proud to throw our full support behind Senator Obama's presidential campaign," said president Joe Solomonese today. "We have just witnessed a historic primary contest in which two champions of our community demonstrated that they hear our voices and share our dreams. For millions across this country, their candidacies--as the first woman and the first African American to be top contenders for the nomination of a major party--have already been life-changing, inspiring, and groundbreaking.
"They are, quite simply, heroes to anyone fighting for equality."
Senator Obama, while not a supporter of civil marriage for same-sex couples in name, has spoken in support of federal benefits and protections for same-sex couples. He also supports a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Obama, as well, opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.
"I've been consistently impressed by Senator Obama's willingness to speak about GLBT issues in front of diverse audiences," Solomonese added. "Matters of life and livelihood for GLBT Americans are on the line in this election and after eight years of an anti-gay stranglehold on the presidency, Sen. Obama's message of fairness and acceptance is a breath of fresh air."
Senator Obama also issued an open letter to the LGBT community today, pledging "real change for all LGBT Americans."
"It's wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation," he said. The Senator also touted his efforts during his time in the Illinois State Senate to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination, and to equalize federal tax and immigration law for same-sex spouses.
Senator Obama also supports repeal of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as exclusively heterosexual on a federal level. He prefers civil unions with equal benefits, but says he won't stand in the way of the states' choices on how to recognize same-sex spouses. "As your President," Obama said, "I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws."