Legal & Regulatory

After Senator Kirk’s Statement on Duckworth, HRC Revokes Endorsement

October 31
6:00 AM 2016

On Saturday, the Human Rights Campaign cancels its endorsement to Mark Kirk, a Senator of Illinois, after he delivered his comments to Democratic challenger Rep. Tammy Duckworth questioning the family's ties of the Iraq war veterans to the American Revolution.

The Senator later on apologized after the said debate.

The President of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, told in a post issued on Medium that Senator Kirk's commentaries on the heritage of Rep. Duckworth were "deeply offensive and racist".

In the post, Griffin wrote: "Attacking someone because of her race and ethnicity is inexcusable for anyone, but especially for a sitting U.S. Senator. The diversity of our movement is our greatest strength, and Senator Kirk's remarks were an affront to our most fundamental values."

Duckworth was born in Bangkok. Her mother, Lamai, is a Thai while her father, Frank, is an American citizen who died in 2005 and a member of the U.S. Marine whose family's military roots were traced to the Revolutionary War.

Since it was established, this is the only instance when the Human Rights Campaign has revoked a campaign endorsement. Griffin confirmed in his post that Mark Kirk received a score of 100 percent on HRC's most recent Congressional Scorecard. However, after the said comments, the group will endose Duckworth instead.

The Spokeswoman for Mark Kirk's campaign, Eleni Demertzis, said that Kirk is "incredibly proud of his leadership to fight discrimination at every level."

"The HRC decision today is unfortunate because it was based on politics instead of reality and further exemplified just how uncomfortable HRC was in supporting a Republican who was a leader for their efforts, including eradicating discrimination," Demertzis furthered.

Aside from the Human Rights Campaign, the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, a gun violence organization that was founded by the retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly and his wife Gabby Giffods, revoked their endorsement for Kirk, as well.

In an official statement, the Executive Director of the group, Peter Ambler, said: "Senator Kirk's racist attack on Congresswoman Duckworth is unacceptable and represents a low point, even in this election season. While we believe the path to responsible change and communities safer from gun violence must include Republican champions, we cannot continue to support Senator Kirk. A man who is not worthy of your vote cannot be worthy of our endorsement."

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