Los Angeles mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa will no longer be the keynote
speaker for a gay rights group's fund-raising event after
facing intense lobbying from transgender activists
angry over the group's stand on a federal gay rights
scheduled to headline the Human Rights Campaign dinner
on August 2 in San Francisco.
D.C.-based organization is one of the nation's most
prominent gay rights groups and has so far donated over
$500,000 to defeat a November ballot measure that
would ban same-sex marriage in California.
activists and their allies have been angry with the group
since its endorsement of a version of the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act that excludes transgender
people from protection. While an earlier version of
ENDA did cover transgender people, the exclusionary
version was introduced with the thought that it had a better
chance of passing, and that version did indeed pass
the House of Representatives last fall. HRC supported
both versions of the measure.
Villaraigosa's spokesman, said the mayor's decision to not
attend the event was more a byproduct of the controversy
surrounding HRC's stand on ENDA rather than a snub of
the group itself, reports the AP.
Szabo, when Villaraigosa agreed to appear at the dinner, he
was unaware that the San Francisco Labor Council had urged
its members to boycott the event. Attending the event
would have put the mayor in the position of having to
cross a union picket line. (The Advocate)