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    December 06, 2007

    'Deeply disappointed' over Shepard

    Posted by: Chris

    TWO UPDATES: At the end of this post.

    The Human Rights Campaign has issued a statement calling the removal of the hate crimes bill "deeply disappointing" -- wording that is somewhat eerie for me only because I wrote the exact same thing in my post a few hours ago. Joe Solmonese also echoed my hope that congressional Democrats will find "another legislative vehicle, in the second half of this Congress, to move the Matthew Shepard Act."

    Tacking the Shepard Act on something less controversial that a bill relating to the Iraq war strikes me as more promising than Barney Frank's suggestion that the Senate pass the hate crime measure as a stand-alone bill, which exposes it to a threatened Bush veto.

    The HRC statement also makes a point of detailing the organization's lobbying efforts to keep the Shepard Act intact as part of the DOD bill:

    On November 14th, HRC sent an e-mail to all Capitol Hill offices urging the retention of hate crimes legislation in the Department of Defense Authorization conference report.  Additionally, HRC organized and signed onto a coalition letter sent to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Armed Services Committees urging them to retain the Hate Crimes amendment as part of the conference report.  Timed to correspond with Members returning from the Thanksgiving recess, on November 28th, HRC launched a nationwide action alert to all of its members urging immediate grassroots action to Members of Congress.

    An email and a letter? That's it? 

    That's nothing compared to the "10 in 10 days" campaign HRC launched that generated 80,000 calls and emails to keep the "gender identity" protection in ENDA. Or the 100 HRC board members and volunteers who stormed Capitol Hill to lobby members directly on trans rights. Or how HRC staffers "worked around the clock" when the transgender protections were at risk because of the House whip count.

    Solmonese also thanked Democratic leaders in both houses for their "exhaustive efforts… to keep the Matthew Shepard Act as part of [the DOD] bill." At what point do we actually get to complain about the failure of congressional Democrats to pass hate crimes, despite a vote of 237-180 in the House and 60-39 in the Senate?

    Still nothing from the Task Force on the hate crime bill. Apparently Matt Foreman and his United ENDA allies are still too exhausted from their divisive attempt to sink gay workplace protections to notice that Congress just tanked the first transgender rights measure ever to pass both houses.

    UPDATE #1:

    Kudos to Judy and Dennis Shepard for speaking with a much more powerful voice about today's congressional shenanigans:

    “We are truly dismayed to find that Congress now will put aside its leadership on passage of federal hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

    “At this time of year that fills us all with hope for humankind, we are sad to find that a Congressional majority of each House who have already adopted the Matthew Shepard Act cannot yet come together. 

    “Make no mistake; this is a small triumph of process over principle.  We are dedicated to redoubling our efforts next year to achieve our vision of a hate-free America that truly includes everyone.  This has never simply been about Matthew Shepard and our family, this legislation is a gift delayed but never forgotten for all America’s families.”


    UPDATE #2:

    The Task Force has weighed in for the first time publicly in weeks on the Shepard Act, also expressing "deep anger and disappointment" that it was jettisoned from the DOD bill. Despite its inexplicable inaction for weeks now, the Task Force claims in its statement to have been busy behind the scenes, "mobiliz[ing] its members through action alerts, lobb[ying] congressional offices and organiz[ing] other national partners to pressure Congress not to give in — again — to right-wing opposition to LGBT legislation."

    Riiiight. Even taking that claim at face value -- which I don't -- the comparison to the Task Force's balls to the wall push on trans protections in ENDA -- and then to sink the compromise version -- couldn't be more striking. And Matt Foreman's strategic advice at this point?

    "We call on the Senate to immediately advance a stand-alone version of hate crimes that matches the version passed by the House earlier this year and send it to the president’s desk. When the president vetoes the bill — as he has repeatedly promised to do — everyone will see just how subservient this administration is to America’s anti-gay industry. Force his hand, for goodness sake, rather than hiding us away."

    Ahh yes, let's have a purely pyrrhic victory rather than, as at least Solmonese suggested, finding some other vehicle to push hate crimes through Congress and to an actual presidential signature.



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    1. Double T on Dec 6, 2007 5:14:41 PM:

      Matthew Shepard Act. I understand why they chose that name. But it’s time to re-market it.

      It amazes me that people do the same thing over and over; each time expects a different outcome. I think that’s one of the definitions of insanity.

      Repackage the product. Call it the “Domestic Anti-Terrorist Act.” Let’s see George veto the one and only bill that would keep Americans safe.

      A little dishonesty goes along way in Washington.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 6, 2007 7:11:12 PM:

      The most ironic part to me is that the last thing the Shepard family will ever admit is that their son's killers were put in jail for life without there even being a hate crime law in Wyoming.

      Meanwhile, California has one of the strictest antigay hate crimes laws in the United States and recorded a record number of hate crimes this year.

      Preventative value, no. Necessary to prosecute crimes against gays, no.

      Constitutional questions; yes, yes, yes.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 6, 2007 7:16:04 PM:

      Oh, and Matt Foreman's comments are typical; rather than admit the leftist brigade he supports demanded the language be stripped because then they could exercise their antimilitary bigotry and vote against the defense bill, he tries to blame everything on the President.

      Personally, I think Matt Foreman's antimilitary bigotry is the best argument out there for DOMA, and his antireligious bigotry is the best argument out there against ENDA and hate crimes laws. As long as this bigot is going to hold the gay community hostage to his leftist hatemonger beliefs, we DESERVE to be voted against and discriminated against.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 6, 2007 7:36:16 PM:

      I hate to admit it, but I have missed NDT's nonsense.

    1. Double T on Dec 6, 2007 7:50:03 PM:

      You can't have anti-religious bigotry.

      Religion is bigotry.

      Now see how silly your statement sounds. I thought you'd agree. Happy to help out.

    1. Dennis Chase on Dec 6, 2007 9:28:53 PM:

      The NGLTF and HRC harm gay men by their utter lack of leadership and inability to access political climates. The removal of the hate crimes bill is just the latest example of their complete ineptness. How do we take back our civil rights organizations once they have become theory factories?

    1. Double T on Dec 7, 2007 12:43:30 AM:

      If you don't like the job these organizations are doing, I hereby give you permission to get off your ass and start your own organization.

      You now have permission.

      Go forward.

      I'm sorry, what's that? You just want to sit around and whine. Would you like some cheese with that?

    1. Kevin on Dec 7, 2007 5:28:05 AM:


      Let me translate Tea-for-Two's reply to you:

      "This is our movement: love it or leave it."

      Good post, Chris. Again, no surprises here. 10-plus years of promising that the Democratic Party would "fight till hell freezes over, and then fight on the ice" for bills like this one. And all we got was this lousy fuck-over.

    1. anonymous on Dec 7, 2007 5:48:48 AM:

      "If you don't like the job these organizations are doing, I hereby give you permission to get off your ass and start your own organization."

      If, right now, I started a "Lesbian Center for Civil Rights", the Trans First lobby would start screaming at me within thirty seconds - calling me an unethical man-hating feminazi bitch because I'm not willing to put aside my own civil rights for the sake of straight men who transition into 'lesbian' transwoman, and women who pass as 'lesbians' until they announce that they are transmen (and then refuse to build their own culture, preferring to appropriate everything they can get their hands on from the gay culture).

      They would suck up all of my time and energy until I quit, leaving my 'Lesbian' center in the hands of trans people (who would not change the name, of course, since they prefer to hide behind the words 'gay and lesbian' instead of calling it a transexual First center.

      Then, of course, my 'Lesbian' (actually trans) center would do ridiculously stupid things, like, say, alienating congressmen by telling them to vote against ENDA (because it wasn't TRANS FIRST), and then sitting around doing nothing while the hate crimes bill was stripped out of legislation.

      I think most transpeople don't care if it takes gay people twenty more years to get civil rights, as long as they drag us down with them. They don't start screaming about 'equality' unless they start to lose their stranglehold on the gay community.

    1. Andoni on Dec 7, 2007 8:04:12 AM:

      OK, if the Dems really want my support in 2008, let them get to work and pass a freestanding Hate Crime Bill. I just bowed out of a $1000 a person fundraiser with Pelosi because of this.

      If they can't come up with the cajones to pass a freestanding bill and still wish to play games, here's one: attach the Hate Crime Bill to some Act that praises the troops and improves the medical care at Bethesda. See who opposes that and if Bush can afford to veto that.

    1. Geena the Transgirl on Dec 7, 2007 11:05:15 AM:

      The bill included race and religion. The Democrats failed more than one constituency.
      If a Democrat wins the White House, they need to get Harry Reid out as Majority Leader, he's just not getting it done.

    1. Double T on Dec 7, 2007 12:20:23 PM:

      You may be an Unethical Man-hating Femi-Nazi Bitch. So what?
      Welcome to politics in the good ole’ US of A.

      Who said if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?

      I don’t need you to translate anything. I said it in plain English. These groups in D.C. are not tax payer supported. Private individual stood up one day and got the ball rolling.
      My message : If you don’t like the job they are doing GET OFF YOUR ASS and do something about it. Just Whining doesn’t help. Where’s the Log Cabin thru all of this? Where’s the Gay-Kevin’s-of-America Liberation Front?

    1. [email protected] on Dec 7, 2007 1:16:39 PM:

      Chris: you're worried about the Task Force calling to move the hate crimes bill along separately because it would constitute a "pyhrric victory?" What exactly was the ENDA vote? That vote was the epitome of a pyhrric victory....not chance of Senate passage and certain White House veto. You didn't have a problem with phyrric victories then.

      I'm opposed to phyrric victories in any form in a Democratic Congress that HRC poured millions into helping elect. We deserve -- and demand -- more. So the hate crimes bill should be attached to another legislative vehicle if it doesn't have the votes to overcome a filibuster. And we shouldn't make compromises (i.e. ENDA) that we aren't sure we need to make. We shouldn't be compromising with ourselves nor should we be begging for crumbs from the Democratic Congress.

    1. Kevin on Dec 7, 2007 9:25:30 PM:

      LOL - oh my, well. We all had a little laugh when you said I should start my own group.

      Been there, done that. That's so 1992.

      But that aside, I long ago gave up being the self-appointed credentials awarder like you, Teary Teary. Maybe you should take your own advice and start your own BLOG. And maybe have the courage to do it under your own name. Out in the open. Like the rest of us.

    1. Double T on Dec 8, 2007 2:54:05 AM:

      Interesting that you talk alot without saying anything.

      Still dying to figure out who I am.

      Again, not important.

    1. Double T on Dec 10, 2007 6:16:24 PM:

      ( Kev says......
      I should start my own group. Been there, done that. That's so 1992.)

      So where is this group? What have they done lately?

      They must make you so Proud(?)
      And for God sake's, don't tell me it's the Log Cabin Republicans.

      The only thing they seem good at is invisibility.

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 26, 2011 2:42:43 AM:

      And for God sake's, don't tell me it's the Log Cabin Republicans.

      The only thing they seem good at is invisibility.

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