WASHINGTON -- The Human Rights Campaign mourned the death today of former U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a staunch defender of individual liberty and equality for gay Americans.
"Barry Goldwater envisioned an America where equal rights and liberty extend to all people. He exemplified honorable conservative principles such as respecting individual rights. Many of today's right-wing politicians, who mistakenly call themselves conservatives, can learn a lot about true conservatism by studying Barry Goldwater," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch.
In 1993, Barry Goldwater came out in support of allowing openly gay people to serve in the military. He believed all Americans who wanted to serve their country honorably should have that right.
Goldwater, whose grandson is gay, continued his support for equal rights by publishing a July 1994 Washington Post op-ed, asking Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect gay Americans from job discrimination.
"It's time America realized that there was no gay exemption in the right to `life, liberty and the pursuit to happiness' in the Declaration of Independence. Job discrimination against gays -- or anybody else -- is contrary to each of these founding principles," Goldwater wrote in his op-ed.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian and gay political organization, with members throughout the country, effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support, and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.