January 19, 2009
Looking beyond Warren-gate...
Posted by: Chris
I was encouraged to read a piece by the Advocate's Sean Kennedy for New York Magazine that suggests that our activists are finally looking beyond the giant distraction of Warren-gate and on to the serious issues that lie ahead. (Unfortunately, HBO's failure to broadcast the inaugural event prayer yesterday by gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson will undoubtedly prolong the kvetching.)
But at least Kennedy's report suggests that the Human Rights Campaign hasn't forgotten to set their eyes on a prize bigger than who gives a two-minute prayer at the inauguration:
[T]here were those who believed it was a genuine act of inclusiveness, in keeping with the post-swearing-in benediction by the Reverend Joseph Lowery, who supports gay rights (but not marriage), and the Reverend Sharon Watkins's leading of the national prayer service Wednesday morning, the first woman to do so.
"Unless we believe it's pure political bull, Obama's been talking the whole time about bringing people together across the ideological spectrum," says gay-media veteran Chris Crain, adding: "Why is it a bad thing that someone who's anti-gay wants to support the most pro-gay president we've had?"
But Crain is an outlier; for the most part, the rancor is unabated: "The Warren choice was universally disappointing," says Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith program. "But both grayheads like me and young people are wise enough to see that we can't expect perfection from our leaders. We have to be vigilant about getting the work done that it will take to get this legislation passed."
He's referring to major policy items, like "don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act, both of which Obama says he wants to repeal.
That's actually the first time I've seen anyone from HRC talk about being "vigilant" about "major policy items" like repeal of DADT and DOMA. Up till now, all they've talked about are low-hanging fruit like hate crime and employmnet non-discrimination laws, which while important are largely symbolic by comparison.
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