May 18, 2020 In the News

Pro-LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign endorses Pappas, Shaheen for reelection

By John DiStaso
May 18, 2020

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Human Rights Campaign, a major nationwide advocacy and political group promoting the rights the LGBT community, has endorsed U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas for reelection.

Shaheen was among five Democratic U.S. senators and Pappas was among 40 U.S. House members or House candidates included in an endorsement rollout by the group Monday.

“Chris Pappas is one our community’s fiercest allies in Congress,” HRC national press secretary Lucas Acosta said in an interview. He said Pappas is among seven LGBT House members and part of a pro-LGBT House majority.

Acosta said that in addition to Pappas’ support on specific issues unique to the LGBT community, his presence in the Houise means the LGBT community “has a seat at every table because every issue impacts our community.”

“And since her days as governor, Senator Shaheen has truly been an ally of, and advocate for, our community,” Acosta said. “She pushed for marriage equality in the Senate before it became the law of the land. She has been a true leader on our issues at every level.”

The Human Rights Campaign is a powerful multi-pronged organization promoting LGBT rights and equality. It has a foundation that is a 501(c)(3) organization for programming and research. It also has a 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization as well as a PAC and a super PAC.

“We have a variety of tools to work with,” Acosta said.

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics’, the Human Rights Campaign’s PAC made direct contributions totaling $104,307 so far in 2020, including $3,500 to Pappas.

Pappas received the endorsement of the group in 2018 after he won an 11-person Democratic primary to succeed former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who did not seek reelection in the 1st Congressional District. In the 2018 cycle, HRC made direct contributions totaling $604,655, including more than $9,600 to Pappas, according to

Acosta said that as incumbents and champions for the causes of the Human Rights Campaign, Pappas and Shaheen are being endorsed relatively early in the campaign. He said New Hampshire is a key state for Democrats to retain control of the House and possibly win the majority in the Senate.

At issue if Democrats win Senate control is the Equality Act, which would specifically add protections against LGBT discrimination to the federal Civil Rights Act. It passed the House last year but has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“It’s past time that we get the Equality Act signed into law to ban discrimination against the LGBTQ community and send a message to every person and child that they should be proud of who they are,” Shaheen said.

“HRC has been leading the way for LGBTQ Americans and our fight for equal rights,” Pappas said. “The House made history last year when we passed the Equality Act and I look forward to working with HRC to ensure that it is passed and signed into law so that no individual will be a second class citizen because of who they are or who they love. Everyone deserves to be able to live their truth, and working with HRC we can realize a brighter future for all Americans.”

Shaheen added, “Every American should be free to be who they are, earn a living and love who they love without facing discrimination or pain, but there is so much more work to do to provide true equality.”

Shaheen said that as governor, she won repeal of a law prohibiting gay and lesbian individuals form adopting children, “making New Hampshire the first state in the nation to repeal it. She was elected to two-year terms as governor in 1996, 1998 and 2000 and won Senate elections in 2008 and 2014..

“In the Senate, I introduced legislation to ensure equal rights for same-sex spouses of veterans before marriage equality became the law of the land, helped repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and have fought President Trump’s transgender military ban,” Shaheen said.

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David addressed the broad slate of new endorsements in a statement.

“HRC and these champions for equality must work together to ensure we maintain a pro-equality majority in the U.S. House and establish one in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow consideration of the Equality Act leaves LGBTQ people across America at risk of being fired from jobs, refused essential services like health care and more vulnerable to violence. HRC will work to mobilize 57 million Equality Voters nationwide to turn out this November and ensure these endorsed candidates win because lives are on the line.”