Interest Group Politics and Collective Action

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Interest Group Politics and Collective Action

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group in the nation. With over 400,000 members, the group is able to lobby very effectively in Washington and has an impressive legislative record. The HRC began in 1980 as a fund to raise money for gay-supportive congressional candidates. It was meant to be a response to the successful right-wing groups at the time, including the National Conservative Political Action Committee and Moral Majority. By 1984, the Human Rights Campaign Fund was effectively supporting congressional candidates, raising over 475,000 dollars. By 1990, the HRC had a membership of 25 thousand, and was organizing marches in the capitol. Between 1990 and the present, the Campaign grew to it’s current size nearing half of a million members, and the group’s PAC contributed over 5 million dollars to lobbying efforts. These efforts focus on four issues: First, it lobbies to increase efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. Secondly, the HRC aims to use federal legislation and workplace advocacy to combat discrimination in the workplace. Third, an effort is made to pass legislation against anti-gay hate crimes. Lastly, the Campaign works to pass legislation addressing lesbian health issues.

The mission statement of the HRC defines the group as a voice for the gay and lesbian community, with aims of lobbying Congress, electing fair officials, and educating the public on gay and lesbian issues. These goals are indeed noble and legitimate, but they often put the group against many right-wing organizations, especially conservative Christian groups which condemn homosexuality in all forms. Since the segment of the populatio...

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...ties between members, but it is using the Internet very effectively to provide personal incentives for group participation. The American government and the American people should and most likely will hear increasingly more about the HRC in the years to come, as the Internet continues to provide the group with a growing voice in government and workplace politics.

Works Consulted

Human Rights Campaign: Working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights. (Main Website.) Visited 7 Nov. 2001.

Mattner, Jesse. Mancur Olson’s, The Logic of Collective Action, Abridged (Chapters I & II). http://www.

Olson, Mancur Jr. “Collective Action: The Logic.” From Nivola and Rosenbloom. Classic Readings in American Politics. 2nd ed. St. Martin’s Press. New York: 1990. p 225-240.

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