Human Rights Campaign targets Bush
By Angie Hu
President Bush’s support of a constitutional ban on gay marriage has “awoken a sleeping giant” and led to a multi-million campaign to increase gay turnout, Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques said last week.
The 25-year-old organization plans to spend more than $10 million in this fall’s elections and is supporting 220 candidates for Congress. Earlier this month, the group endorsed Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for president.
The group’s main criteria for endorsement is whether a candidate supports the ban on gay marriage. So several lawmakers who the Human Rights Campaign backed in the past, such as Reps. Michael Ferguson (R-N.J.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah), will not get its support this year. So far, HRC’s political action committee has raised $1.3 million for the 2004 electoral races, up from $1.2 million in 2002 and $1.1 million in 2000. Eighty-five percent of candidates the group endorsed won in
2002, according to its political director Winnie Stachelberg.
But Bush is the main target for the group’s efforts. “The difference between the two candidates [for president] couldn’t be clearer,” Stachelberg said. “Kerry [is] a fighter for all Americans, Bush…is a divider and is pushing discrimination left and right.”