In an article written on July 27 By Lisa Leff, Associated Press
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pulled out as keynote speaker for a gay rights group’s fundraising event scheduled for Saturday night following intense lobbying from transgender activists angry over the group’s stand on a federal gay rights bill.
Villaraigosa was scheduled to headline the Human Rights Campaign dinner scheduled for Saturday night in San Francisco. San Francisco city officials and many prominent gay rights leaders already had agreed not to attend the event, which has been billed as a fundraiser to help defeat a November ballot measure that would again ban same-sex marriage in California.
The Human Rights Campaign is one of the nation’s most prominent gay rights organizations and the Washington-based group already has given over $500,000 to defeat the same-sex marriage measure. But many transgender activists and their allies have been angry at the group since the fall, when its leaders agreed to support a federal job discrimination ban that protected gays, lesbians and bisexuals – but not transgender people.
Kudos to the Mayor and all the other elected officials who chose to
NOT attend the dinner. It’s nice to see Democrats with a backbone.
When Villaraigosa agreed to appear at the dinner at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, he was unaware that the San Francisco Labor Council had urged its members to boycott the event, which would have put the Democratic mayor, who is mentioned as a possible 2010 gubernatorial candidate, in the position of having to cross a union picket line, according to Szabo.Some activists were planning to hold a counter-gala outside the hotel on Saturday night.
“We made a commitment and we understood the controversy, but we are now aware the Labor Council had voted for an official boycott,” he said. Szabo added that Villaraigosa searched for a way to be able to fulfill the obligation before alerting the Human Rights Campaign late Friday night that he was canceling his appearance.
The Mayor saw this as a labor dispute and he wasn’t about to cross a
picket line and piss off the labor unions. Good for him and thank you
Pride at Work and the San Francisco labor council.
The Human Rights Campaign was part of a broad coalition of civil rights groups that promoted a job bias measure introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., that originally would have included protections for transgender people. After Frank concluded the bill would fail unless the transgender safeguards were removed, many groups opposed the amended legislation while HRC continued to back it.
The bill passed the House and its supporters are working toward a vote in the Senate.
It’s supporters? And what supporters might they be talking about
here? Surely HRC is not STILL supporting a sexual orientation ONLY bill.
Brad Luna, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement issued Saturday that the protest “has nothing to do with organized labor” and that the Washington-based organization was committed to the civil rights of transgender people as well as gays and lesbians.
Unfortunately, the actions of HRC have only shown that they are committed to obstructing rights for a large portion of the LGBTcommunity. The last time I checked, employment discrimination was a labor issue but this is just one of the many reasons why our community is outraged, another outrage in all this is that the leadership of HRC still believes they are entitled to raise enormous amounts of money from a community that they have yet to fully support.
“And as we have an open dialogue about the best way to move forward, let us never forget that we are still a community of brothers and sisters standing as one to advance equality for all GLBT people,” Luna said.
Brad, don’t ever, EVER refer to me or those in our community whom
you refuse to support, as “family.” We are not your brothers and sisters.
MY family doesn’t treat me as a second class citizen nor would it EVER
support and defend an organization that does.
Inside the Picket Line at HRC fund raiser.