Gay campaigners looking to score equality in polls

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

As Americans go to the polls for the mid-term elections today, the Human Rights Campaign has selected candidates for the House of Representatives which it would like to see in power because of their commitment to gay rights.

The campaign group has called on gay and lesbian voters to stand up for equality especially in states of Illinois, New Mexico, and Florida.

Illinois hosts a battle between former Army major Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who lost her leg in Iraq, and Republican Peter Roskam.

Ms Duckworth is known to oppose the Pentagon’s ban on openly gay military recruits, and has stood up for gay rights on many issues, unlike Mr Roskam.

In New Mexico, Patricia Madrid, a prominent supporter of transgender rights, takes on Heather Wilson, who has a poor record on supporting gay rights, in what is tipped to be a close contest.

Florida will see Ron Klein, a supporter of anti homophobic bullying legislation, against current Representative Clay Shaw, who has backtracked on support for hate crimes laws and supports the Federal Marriage Amendment which would constitutionally ban same sex marriage.

Last month, the HRC produced a score card for gay and lesbian voters to decipher who would best serve their needs.

The card highlights several key areas for voters using points for gay votes where candidates have stood up for gay rights such as the FMA, teaching about homosexuality in schools, and hate crime laws.

“This scorecard is a vital tool for rating members of Congress on votes important to our community in the last legislative session,” said HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt. “With the Federal Marriage Amendment and other critically important votes to our community rated in this scorecard, we would encourage all LGBT individuals and straight supporters to take a careful look and know where your representative stands on issues of equality and fairness.”

The House bills and votes scored include: H.J. Res. 88 – the Federal Marriage Amendment; H.R. 3132 – the Conyers Hate Crimes Amendment to the Child Safety Act; co-sponsorship of H.R. 2662 – the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act; co-sponsorship of H.R. 1059 – the Military Readiness Enhancement Act; and co-sponsorship of H.R. 3006 – the Uniting American Families Act.