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    February 28, 2007

    Another voice in the HRC chorus

    Posted by: Chris

    Bareditorial Add the Bay Area Reporter's editorial page to the voices calling for a change in direction at the nation's largest gay and lesbian organization. Taking note of the handful of controversies stirred up by the Human Rights Campaign in recent days, the venerable B.A.R. noted:

    Among national gay rights organizations, the Human Rights Campaign is the 800-pound gorilla in the room; and lately, it has been acting like one, flailing its arms at critics and derogatory candy ads. …

    HRC's actions have led to mounting questions in recent weeks about its purpose and ability to work in a bipartisan fashion. Its executive director, Joe Solmonese, hasn't done much to douse the firestorm of criticism.

    After recounting my criticism of HRC's overwrought response to the Super Bowl Snickers ads, the editorial took issue with Solmonese's angry response:

    Solmonese, in turn, personally attacked Crain in a letter sent to gay publications that run his column. He chided Crain for his "fascination with me" and "misguided rhetoric" but even attacked the gay press, saying printing Crain's columns "sets back the work of the entire movement."

    Instead of zeroing in on his agency's critics and attacking the media, Solmonese should leverage HRC's muscle power be working the halls of Congress to build support for pro-gay legislation.

    Apparently the nation's largest LGBT organization, with more than 650,000 members and a $30 million budget, the 25-year-old group doesn't have many gains in the way of federal rights.

    The B.A.R. even added a new issue to the anti-HRC mix, which is actually a perfect example of how Solmonese is too willing to put Democratic Party priorities over those of the movement. The editorial notes that with Democrats finally in control of Congress, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and a hate crimes law are poised for passage — as well they should be, after years and years of strong bipartisan support, sky-high public support.

    But repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has also been introduced.  Of the three, this is the only bill that would actually require political capital to push through. So of course, the Democratic leadership is ducking, and so is HRC:

    One player seems to be missing [from the effort ot repeal DADT]: HRC. So far the organization has signaled it will focus on hate crimes legislation and ENDA, not the repeal of DADT. Rather than attack gay media outlets and LGBT pundits, Solmonese would better serve the cause by focusing on Congress and proving for once that HRC merits its gorilla reputation.

    At this point, hopefully other gay media outlets — including my friends at the Washington Blade and its sister papers — will devote some coverage to this important discussion about HRC's direction and future.



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    1. Repeal Dont Ask, Dont TellNow from Blowhard on Mar 1, 2007 11:27:14 AM

      Now is the time for the Democratic Party to step up or forever loose their ability to call on GLBT support.  There is a Democratic majority in both houses and they should immediately address and pass the repeal of Dont Ask, Don... [Read More]

    Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Another voice in the HRC chorus:

    1. Gay Media Taking Note of HRCs Partisan Tilt from Gay Patriot on Mar 1, 2007 4:52:13 PM

      It seems were not the only gay publication taking on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Blogger Michael Petrelis alerts us to an editorial in the Bay Area Reporter (no conservative voice that) taking the organization to task for ... [Read More]


    1. Bill on Mar 1, 2007 12:59:04 PM:

      I guess it is true. We gays love to eat our own. Like we don't have real villains.

    1. Andoni on Mar 1, 2007 1:14:10 PM:

      Just two comments:

      1. With a $30 million budget, we in the gay community are getting nothing. Some smart journalists should start reporting on other progressive special interest groups that have smaller budgets or similar budgets but accomplish tons more than HRC. Just as an example of one that I'm familiar with, the ACLU has a budget on the same order of magnitude as HRC, but it accomplishes demonstrably more than HRC.

      2. Not only is HRC not giving much effort repeal DADT, but it seems it doesn't want to give any energy to helping UAFA either, other than make it a scoring point.

    1. tim on Mar 1, 2007 3:01:53 PM:

      Solomonese can't risk tying the over arching gay agenda to the Democratic agenda to protect his friends in congress. That's why there's not movement of DADT

    1. jimbo on Mar 6, 2007 12:25:34 PM:

      An interesting comment made on my blog regarding HRC's accounting transparency:

      Interesting note about [HRC] from Give.org: "Despite written BBB Wise Giving Alliance requests in the past year, this organization either has not responded to Alliance requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to the Alliance’s Standards for Charity Accountability. While participation in the Alliance’s charity review efforts is voluntary, the Alliance believes that this lack of cooperation may demonstrate a lack of commitment to transparency and accountability."


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