- Largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) lobbying organization in the U.S.
- Closely aligned with Hillary Clinton
Founded in 1980, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest -- with more than 750,000 members -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) lobbying group in the United States. Through its three interrelated branches -- the HRC Foundation, the HRC lobbying arm, and the HRC Political Action Committee -- this organization supports political candidates and legislation that will advance the LGBT agenda. Historically, HRC has most vigorously championed HIV/AIDS-related legislation, “hate crime” laws, the abrogation of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and the legalization of gay marriage.
Originally known as the Human Rights Campaign Fund, HRC in its earliest days focused on contributing money to LGBT-friendly candidates. The organization shortened its title in 1995 when it became an active lobbying agent.
HRC’s first presidential endorsement came in 1992, when it backed Bill Clinton’s successful campaign. In 1998, the organization lobbied heavily in support of federal hate-crimes legislation, particularly in light of the then-recent murders of Matthew Shepard (who was killed because he was gay) and James Byrd, Jr. (who was killed because he was black). Thanks in large measure to HRC’s lobbying efforts, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was eventually passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.
In 2004, when the Federal Marriage Amendment (a.k.a. the Marriage Protection Amendment) was drafted to define “marriage” solely as a union between one man and one woman, HRC was instrumental in persuading Congress to vote against it.
Though nominally a nonpartisan organization, HRC has many close ties to the Democratic Party, particularly to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Birch (HRC's former executive director), John Isa, Adrian Matanza, Jill Stauffer, David A.C. Turley, and Tony Wagner were among the key HRC figures who worked on Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, other HRC personnel maintain close ties to all manner of leftwing political figures and activist groups:
HRC has received financial support from the Ford Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute ($200,000 in 2008), and the Tides Foundation.