On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in his bid to become the commonwealth’s next governor.
“Ralph Northam is a proven champion for equality and has the vision and experience needed to continue moving Virginia forward as a welcoming and inclusive place for all,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
“As governor, Ralph Northam will fight to pass comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure LGBTQ people all across the Commonwealth are able to live their lives free from discrimination.”
Northam was previously endorsed by LGBTQ rights organization Equality Virginia because of his steadfast support for the LGBTQ community. As lieutenant governor, Northam cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of protecting LGBTQ public employees from workplace discrimination and against an effort to force Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) to defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. As a state senator, Northam also voted against attempts to allow child placement agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Along with HRC’s endorsement, the Northam campaign will also benefit from HRC’s legions of staffers and volunteers who will be involved in get-out-the-vote efforts on his behalf. The organization recently launched HRC Rising, a $26 million campaign to oppose what it calls the “Trump-Pence regime.”
That campaign, marking the biggest strategic investment in HRC’s history, is focused on electing more pro-equality candidates to Congress, governor’s mansions, and state legislatures so they can serve as a bulwark against any erosion of LGBTQ rights at the federal level or in the courts.
Northam will face off against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie in November. Gillespie has a record of opposing LGBTQ rights, has expressed support for a North Carolina-style “bathroom bill” banning transgender people from public spaces, supported Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, and accused the LGBTQ community of forcing the wider public to accept “alien moral standards.”
“I’m honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that has fought so valiantly for the rights and equality of all people,” Northam said in a statement. “Every day, new attacks are leveled at the equal treatment of individuals and groups, and I’m proud to stand with an organization that has dedicated themselves so ardently to righting those wrongs.
“We saw the devastating economic impact of discriminatory laws like HB 2 in North Carolina, and I am committed to ensuring Virginia is an inclusive place to work and live,” he continued. “Like our [state] slogan says, ‘Virginia is for lovers,’ and if I am elected governor, I will make sure we won’t discriminate against anyone — no matter who you are or where you’re from.”