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  • Force from Within or Without: A comparison of the Sources of Legitimacy and Influence of Human Rights Campaign and Latvian GLBT Organization "Mozaīka"


    Essays6 Sociology, Law

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ID number:673426
Published: 18.05.2009.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: 14 units
References: Used
Time period viewed: 2005.g. - 2008.g.

The comparison between the leading national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations in Latvia
and the United States­ Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transpeople and their Friends' Organization “Mozaīka”
(Latvian for 'mosaic' or 'puzzle game') and Human Rights Campaign­ shows ample commonality in their
moderate socio­political stances and stated goals­­ equality and protections for the GLBT community through
legislation and litigation, and wider public acceptance. However, the organizations use different tactics to reach
their goals: the latter draws its strength and resources from the GLBT community directly, whereas the former
uses external factors­­ international standards and organizations­­ to further its aims and build Latvia's GTLB
community's capacity for political and social mobilization.
The Human Rights Campaign, founded in 1980 as Human Rights Campaign Fund, is self­proclaimed most
prominent and well­funded GLBT organization in the US (HRC Annual Report 2006, p.8). On its website,
HRC claims a membership of 750,000 and a staff of 150. It is one of the most influential political action
committees in the US capital (Rimmerman, 29), and in addition to daily operations HRC runs the $30 million1
Human Rights Campaign Foundation that finances HRC public outreach. The annual remuneration to the HRC
president Joe Salmonese reached $256,715 in 20082, indicating the importance the HRC attributes to
professionalism and high profile access to the political insider circles.
Human Rights Campaign's work centers around contributions to the political process through electoral
campaign contributions and direct lobbying on matters such as protection against hate crime, workplace
equality, and most recently­­ same sex marriage and other forms of coupling rights. High profile star­studded
social events such as $100 / night Dude Ranch Party3 held in Bandera, TX on February 28th and annual galas in
tandem with what Rimmerman calls “sleek, new Washington, D.C., headquarters reminiscent of corporate
America” (Rimmerman, 29) are HRC's trademarks. HRC organizes its fund raising and mobilization work
through local and regional steering committees, and funds social outreach projects, such as National Coming
Out Day and the Religion and Faith Program through its tax­exempt 501(c)(3) outreach arm­­ HRC
Human Rights Campaign projects its influence through direct financial assistance to candidates it
endorses as well as grassroots organizing for its favored candidates. They spent $7 million on the Year to Win
campaign in 2008 in support of its preferred candidates. HRC's work as an election machine was clearly
demonstrated in the email sent out to the organization's electronic newsletter subscribers on the evening of
November 4th, 2008 as the election results were trickling in from across the country. In the email signed by
President Joe Salmonese the organization not only boasted the extent of its financial contributions and getting
“5 million people out to vote for equality” but also stated that it trained more than 500 campaign volunteers and
sent one­third of its staff to work on tight electoral races across the country. All that in addition to donating
$3.5 million to fight Proposition 8 in California.4 …

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