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    June 04, 2009

    Don't Ask Do Deal: HRC's betrayal

    Posted by: Chris

    I've been writing for years and years about the tragic willingness of those in "leadership" roles of the gay rights movement to cut deals that betray their supposed constituents. Joe Solmonese and David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign are archetypes of this pathetic trend -- grossly overpaid lobbyists who spend far more political capital lowering the expectations of gays on behalf of the Democratic Party than they do pressuring for equality in Washington.

    Thanks to a report for the Daily Beast by Jason Bellini -- formerly with Logo -- we have yet another pathetic example of HRC's betrayal of the movement, agreeing not to press for repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell until next year:

    Don't say I didn't warn you. HRC and the Democrats have been promising (with no plan to deliver) passage of a hate crime law and Employment Non-Discrimination Act for more than a decade, including before the 2006 election, and yet we are still expected to be satisfied by these same civil rights crumbs for the entire first year that Democrats are firmly in control of Washington.

    In some ways, delay is somewhat more justifiable on DADT than other gay rights measures, given the implementation steps to be taken in the midst of two foreign wars. But make no mistake: if DADT waits until 2010, then relationship recognition -- whether repeal of DOMA or a federal civil unions law -- won't get touched until after the midterm elections, if then.

    I hope that grassroots activists and gay folks nationwide play Bellini's report again and again, paying special attention to Smith's dissembling and Solmonese's smarmy status-whoring, along with the ridiculous excuse-making by Tammy Baldwin.  Come on, Congresswoman -- there hasn't been enough "education" on gay rights issues? Polls show overwhelming public support for not just ENDA and hate crime laws, but repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and for marriage or civil unions.  Enough with the lame, self-serving excuses!

    As for "the nation's largest gay rights group," we are definitely not getting what we pay for.  Despite an astronomical budget, we get backroom deals and snail's pace progress. Then again, what do we expect from a civil rights group that recently bought a building with a 30-year mortgage?  The Beltway tuxedo crowd is in no hurry, especially if actual activism might risk their coveted access and cocktail invites.

    All this nonsense reminds me, unfortunately, of why I burned out on gay politics earlier this year. We can only hope that independent voices bypass the Solmonese/Smith crowd and demand change directly from the Democrats in power -- in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

    Count me in for another March on Washington -- let's just make sure the HRC building is included on the protest route.



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    1. CJ on Jun 5, 2009 9:12:20 AM:

      Don't give up Chris..the independent voice must be heard. It's part of the process that we go through this with the Solmonese/smiths up front all spit-shined up for the RR, and the real troops following up behind with the the real guns and the real stories for the rest to relate to and support us on. We keep talking, writing, voting, shouting, or what ever we can do so that we can keep moving forward. Keep up the good work-Love from one pre-dadt homo-discharged, gave up on my binational relationship, 100% Service-Connected Navy Lezzy getting her condoms in the mail from the VA and telling everyone about it.

    1. mcquaidLA on Jun 6, 2009 4:56:57 PM:

      Well put, Mr. Crain,

      In their quest for "access" our "activist orgs" in D.C. are repeating the exact same mistake the press made during the Bush administration. Remember? The "press" fell all over itself playing nice with the White House in order to keep its "access." The missed point was that when all you're getting is bullshit, "access" is less than worthless.

      What we gays have now, is a bunch of organizations run by people in D.C. who fancy themselves "serious" because they know how to "play the game." What is lost on them is that if they're not getting results, they're not really "playing the game" at all - they're just being played. And we're being played, too.

      It's put up or shut up time for the Democrats and as a lifelong Democrat myself, I say don't hold your breath baby, because we ain't gonna get shit from them. They know they've got a good con going and they're going to milk us for every penny and every minute of manpower they can get.

      So let's make a new game; Let's dis-organize. Let's promise to keep our money in our pockets, our volunteer hours to ourselves, and our ballots uncast unless we see some action first.

      Let's make it easy, we choose one issue; DADT, ENDA (including trans people, and no religious exemptions for any org. receiving public money) full Domestic Partner Rights (including immigration). The minute it gets passed and signed into law, the pursestrings open and we show up at campaign headquarters and the voting booth.

      And if we don't see progress? Well, we have better things to do with our money and time than throw it down a bottomless pit lined with empty promises, no? We'll just have to do for ourselves.

    1. pakcrimes on Jun 16, 2009 1:58:42 AM:

      Hate crimes exist everywhere in the world even against their own nationals.

    1. matt on Jul 19, 2009 11:15:14 AM:

      YES, Chris! I am so tired of the LGBT fat-cats purring on DC's leg. Who is the HRC? What legitimacy do they have to speak for US? Did we VOTE for them? NO. Let's take OUR politics BACK! Don't give them money until they work for US! Stop Washington's LGBT Lap-dogs!

    1. SheQuon on Dec 12, 2009 7:18:04 PM:

      And let's not forget the futile effort HRC made backing that presidential candidate with the same initials, getting her on the cover of The Advocate (don't get me started), as if to assume we were all in agreement, when clearly we were not!

      Andy Humm and Ann Northrup--two longtime in-the-trenches activists who host a zero-budget gay public affairs show on Free Speech TV--have a very strong opinion of both HRCs and their ineffectiveness.

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