The Human Rights Campaign on Wednesday endorsed “true ally” Jon Ossoff in his quest to unseat U.S. Sen. David Perdue and turn Georgia blue in November.
“In the Senate, I’ll fight for equal rights and equal protection for all Americans and proudly support the Equality Act, which will expand federal anti-discrimination protections to include gender and sexual orientation,” Ossoff (photo) said in a press release. “I’m honored to have the Human Rights Campaign’s support and look forward to working with them to secure human rights for all.”
Ossoff also pledged to defend same-sex marriage and the rights of same-sex couples to adopt, oppose attempts to ban LGBTQ service members, strengthen anti-bullying programs for LGBTQ youth and defend transgender rights if elected.
Ossoff was one of six U.S. Senate candidates endorsed by HRC. The others were Sara Gideon of Maine, Theresa Greenfield of Iowa, MJ Hegar of Texas, John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow a vote on the Equality Act despite broad support from the American public, according to HRC President Alphonso David.
“Today’s endorsements mark the next step of HRC’s efforts to elect a pro-equality U.S. Senate and end McConnell’s tenure as majority leader,” he said. “Each of these candidates are true allies of our movement and will work to ensure LGBTQ people are treated with the respect and dignity every human deserves. Together, united like never before, we can achieve the change our community needs.”
Ossoff won the Democratic primary in June, fending off challenges from former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and former lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico.
He stirred LGBTQ excitement during his 2017 campaign for the 6th Congressional District seat. He lost to anti-LGBTQ former Secretary of State Karen Handel in the most expensive U.S. House race in history. He told Project Q in September he would stand up for LGBTQ people if he beats Perdue this November.
“I am a resolute and unwavering ally of the LGBT community,” he said. “Georgians, no matter their sexual orientation or gender, will be able to count on me to fight for them every day in the United States Senate with a clear voice advocating on behalf of the human rights and civil rights of every single Georgian.”
Ossoff marched in the Atlanta Pride parade in October.
Polling data aggregator RealClearPolitics rates the Ossoff-Perdue race a tossup.
It’s one of two U.S. Senate races in Georgia on the ballot in November. The race to unseat Sen. Kelly Loeffler has attracted a mix of nearly 20 candidates from several political parties, all of whom will face off on the same ballot in this special election. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the seat to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired late last year due to health issues. Loeffler supports anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” legislation. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is the only other high-profile Republican seeking to replace Loeffler.
Rafael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, is the Democratic frontrunner in the Loeffler race. He was endorsed by 25 sitting U.S. senators on Monday, including lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. He was also endorsed this month by 11 Atlanta City Councilmembers, including Antonio Brown, the only openly LGBTQ member of the council.
Warnock was one of the speakers at the memorial service for Joan Garner, the beloved Fulton County commissioner and LGBTQ activist who died in 2017.
RealClearPolitics has not rated the Loeffler race.
This story is made possible through a grant from Google News Initiative's Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.
Photo by Matt Hennie