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    December 11, 2007

    NY Times schools HRC

    Posted by: Chris

    Pelosisolmoneseshepard UPDATE: At the end of the post.

    What does it say about the inside-the-beltway captivity of the gay rights movement today when a mainstream newspaper is more aggressive and passionate on our behalf than "the nation's largest gay rights group"?

    First, let's recall the tepid statement from the Human Rights Campaign after House Democrats bailed from the Defense Department bill containing the hate crimes provision so they could cast a symbolic vote against the Iraq war:

    "Today’s decision is deeply disappointing, especially given the historic passage of hate crimes legislation through both Houses of Congress this year.  After more than ten years and several successful bipartisan votes, it is heartbreaking to fall short this close to the finish line," said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. …

    "The exhaustive efforts of Majority Leader Reid, Senator Kennedy, Senator Smith, Senator Levin, Representative Conyers, Representative Kirk and other allies of equality on Capitol Hill, to keep the Matthew Shepard Act as part of this bill should not go unnoticed.  We thank them for their efforts and know that they will continue to work with us to find a way to get this legislation to the President’s desk," continued Solmonese.

    Contrast that thank-you note to the Democratic leadership that failed (yet again) to actually pass our legislation with the blistering editorial in yesterday's New York Times:

    Congressional leaders, who have disappointed frequently this year, have done it again. This time, the House leadership has failed to find a way to get a bipartisan law against hate crimes passed and signed into law. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities have waited long enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to do more than just express her support for the bill; she must find a way to make it the law. …

    Ms. Pelosi says she is still committed to getting the Matthew Shepard Act passed, perhaps early next year. That’s nice, but it is time for her to explain how she intends to do it — and then to make it happen.

    When will the Human Rights Campaign stop acting like a wing of the Democratic Party and more like a wing of the gay rights movement? Even the Stonewall Democrats managed to sound more forceful than HRC:

    "Democrats in both the U.S. House and Senate support passage of the Matthew Shepard Act (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act). The Democratic Leadership, which guided this legislation to successful passage in their respective chambers, are now burdened with a moral obligation to see their work completed.

    "If the National Defense Authorization Act is not the appropriate vehicle for passage, then we encourage the Democratic Leadership to work with our community to find the most expedient way to place this legislation on the President's desk within this Congress." - Jon Hoadley, Executive Director.


    It seems I'm not the only one doing a compare/contrast between HRC and the mainstream press today. Gay and AIDS activist Michael Petrelis takes a look at HRC's statement in response to Mike Huckabee's outrageous views on HIV and a Washington Post editorial on the same subject and asks which one of these things is not like the other?

    Hmmm, the Washington Post is practically falling over itself to use the "h" and "g" words and hold Huckabee to account for his AIDS _and_ gay views, while the leaders at HRC are much more interested in invoking a brave heterosexual kid with AIDS, an "innocent victim" who doesn't raise any troubling icky issues like male-on-male anal transmission of HIV. HRC never says the word gay in their statement!

    How can HRC go out of its way to omit the concerns and voices of gays with AIDS in this debate? Maybe the HRC leaders have forgotten that gay men are the largest category of people living with HIV/AIDS in America. Whatever the reason for the omissions, HRC continues on its well-worn path of spinelessness.

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    1. Tim C on Dec 11, 2007 2:38:01 PM:

      There's one major difference: the NYT editorial staff are not angling for positions in a Democratic Presidential administration.

    1. MPetrelis on Dec 11, 2007 3:32:04 PM:

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for making these excellent points noting the huge differences between HRC and the NYT. Visit my blog and read what I have to say about the Wash Post today being more forceful than HRC regarding Huckabee's stupid comments on AIDS quarantine:


    1. Double T on Dec 11, 2007 4:56:21 PM:


      The New York Times doesn't actually go to the Hill and lobby anyone. HRC does the "walk" not just the "talk".

    1. Wes on Dec 11, 2007 5:22:17 PM:

      HRC does the walk? I would call it the sidestep. Think: 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' and the little short governor dancing all around. That's about where we are.

    1. anon on Dec 11, 2007 6:21:14 PM:

      HRC does the "walk?" Maybe, but they sure as hell haven't made it to the finish line, despite taking $35 mil of the community's money year after year. Who the hell on the Hill is going to be mad at HRC for taking a more aggressive stance on hate crimes? It's the EASIEST bill in HRC's portfolio!

    1. Double T on Dec 11, 2007 6:25:17 PM:

      HRC shows up for work each and every day. It's not an easy job.

      Chris mocks Joe S. for attending too many black tie dinners, like this is the HIGH life. Take a second and imagine flying from city to city, living out of suitcase, putting on a tux and spending your Saturday night with a room full of strangers.

      It's not a party, it's work. Only someone really ignorant would think otherwise.

      And HRC is not the only game in town( you wouldn't know that from reading this blog). If you don't like HRC, fine, but get in the game.

      Make a difference.

      I have no problem with anyone who points out a problem, as long as they follow up with an answer.

    1. on Dec 11, 2007 6:43:03 PM:

      Double T, if I've criticized Joe for too many black-tie dinners I don't remember it and it certainly is nowhere near the heart of my problem with his administration of HRC. Why focus on silly straw men like that or challenging critics to start their own groups? As if that were the most productive use of their time! Better off improving the ones we've got than trying to reinvent the wheel.

      Unfortunately, none of the gay political groups is at its best right now. HRC is captive to the Democrats, politically ineffective and has no vision in its leadership. The Task Force is obsessed with wedging HRC out of the grassroots to try and stay (be?) relevant. Log Cabin has mostly sat things out and when it gets involved, the politics behind its moves make no sense. And Stonewall Dems have never been a player.

      Gay money is better spent these days with GLAAD or Lambda Legal or with special-issue groups like Immigration Equality or Mel White's Soulforce.

    1. Wes on Dec 11, 2007 8:12:30 PM:

      DT- It is not practical for me to form some kind of a GLBT rights group and start lobbying congress. My knowledge and expertise is not in that area. But some of what you said is right--- provide solutions. HERE is my solution: give money locally where it does something. The local gay community center in my city of 200,000--the state capital of Florida-- does something that none of the other organizations does--it has a positive presence in front of people in my own city. It provides a place for people that need help re our issues. It provides some semblance of organizational structure when important issues develop (such as the gay marriage ban on next year's ballot). And I think it is changing attitudes at the very level that they need to be changed--in each of our communities. Until attitudes are changed in these communities like mine, we are not going to make any progress on a national level. Because politicians are followers--not leaders.

      So my solution is to give and work locally. But that is only my personal opinion. If you feel like me, then pull out the checkbook and write a check to your local organizations that are making a difference. If you feel differently then follow your path.

      But as a gay person surely I have a right to complain about the sorry disorganization I have viewed this year on the national scene regarding what should be my civil rights--but is instead political cotton candy.

    1. Tom on Dec 11, 2007 9:41:36 PM:

      Are you kidding me that GLAAD has done more? I watch Ugly Betty and laugh...but I feel bad for how they portray the Transgender Folk...never a statement on that. I can not think of one other thing GLAAD has done. BTY, thanks for posting the pic of Joe. It is GREAT and he is HOT!

    1. Double T on Dec 11, 2007 10:51:55 PM:

      Wes and CC( I'm guess, no name inserted).

      I know HRC is a "touchy" one for some people, I appreciate the positive comments ( instead of some personal attack ).

      Wes, YOU'RE WRONG. with the power of the internet grassroots organizations can( and do ) make a difference.

      I too like keeping some money LOCAL. My problem with that is seeing so many local organizations poorly run. If I hear another Pride/Rodeo/whatever was ripped off by one of its board member, I'll cry.

      So start Locally, think Nationally.

    1. Wes on Dec 12, 2007 12:53:39 AM:

      DT-- I think you misunderstood my post. When I said it was impractical for me to form a GLBT group and start lobbying congress ,I did not mean to imply that grassroots efforts cannot have favorable impacts. I believe they could. Even though it is not obvious often. But what I did mean was that I am spending 14 hour days with my business making money because I have expertise in that area. I do not--on the other hand--feel I am capable to run a grassroots political organization. I don't have time to run my business and a grassroots gay political org. too. THAT is why I would like a national organization to represent my (and in many cases--our) interests. And my opinion--and please respect it--is that most of the national organizations are not performing for me. They have their candlelight dinners--and Hillary campaign strategy meetings-- to run and if it is a great social outlet for some though then fine. If you feel differently than me then great--give them money. But next time a vote comes up on something I would like to see happen, I hope they at least get their high heels off my big toe. At least my broke local community center is not stomping on my feet.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 12, 2007 7:26:28 PM:

      Actually, Wes, the irony is that you are missing out on HRC's victimization parties about how oppressed and hated gays are and how we can't possibly succeed without ENDA/hate crimes/marriage/Democrat majorities.....because you're too busy working and making money with your business.

      Your existence and success is the best testimony yet for how worthless and irrelevant HRC is to gay people -- and how much waste the tens of millions of dollars that they blow in bribes to keep the Democrats liking them annually is.

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 26, 2011 2:52:31 AM:

      in bribes to keep the Democrats liking them annually is.

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