The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights group, jumped into the Alabama Senate race Thursday and endorsed Democrat Doug Jones.
“Doug Jones has pledged to serve all Alabamians, including LGBTQ people,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama’s state director. “In this election, the choice between Roy Moore and Doug Jones could not be more stark. Moore has never passed up an opportunity to promote bigotry, division and extremism, while Doug Jones has staked his career on fairness, equality and a positive vision for Alabama’s future. HRC is proud to endorse Doug Jones and work to help him become the next U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama.”
Moore, Jones’ opponent, has made a national name for himself opposing rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court last year, he instructed state probate judges to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples ― despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring marriage equality the law of the land.
In September 2016, an Alabama judicial panel suspended Moore without pay for his actions. It was the second time he was removed from his position.
In 2002, Moore called homosexuality “abominable, detestable, unmentionable, and too disgusting and well known to require other definition or further details or description.” Three years later, he said in a radio interview that he believed “homosexual conduct should be illegal.”
Moore has long been on the radar of HRC, so the group’s endorsement of Jones isn’t a total surprise. HRC launched a #NoMoore campaign in 2016 calling him out for opposing the Supreme Court’s decision.
Jones, however, has not yet received a significant amount of national support, as groups are still weighing whether they’ll be able to help a Democrat win in the red state.
HRC spokesman Nick Morrow said that with its endorsement, the group will be mobilizing its members around the race and continuing the #NoMoore campaign.
“Otherwise, we’ll be happy to work with Jones in any way to help talk about how he is the obvious, much superior candidate in this race when it comes to LGBTQ rights,” Morrow said.
Jones told HuffPost in a recent interview that his primary focus in the race would be on what he called “kitchen table issues” ― education, jobs, health care ― but that he’d also make equality and fairness central to his campaign. As a U.S. attorney in 2002, Jones was the lead prosecutor in a case against two of the men responsible for 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I have fought for the rights of all Alabamians and all Americans my entire career and will continue to do so as U.S. senator,” Jones said in a statement Thursday. “We must continue to push for equality and fight hate and discrimination in all forms.”
The Moore campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.