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“The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever”

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2009

Andrew Sullivan taps into the impatience that many of us are feeling surrounding the Obama administration’s delay and prevarication on LGBT issues:

Here we are, in the summer of 2009, with gay servicemembers still being fired for the fact of their orientation. Here we are, with marriage rights spreading through the country and world and a president who cannot bring himself even to acknowledge these breakthroughs in civil rights, and having no plan in any distant future to do anything about it at a federal level. Here I am, facing a looming deadline to be forced to leave my American husband for good, and relocate abroad because the HIV travel and immigration ban remains in force and I have slowly run out of options (unlike most non-Americans with HIV who have no options at all).

And what is Obama doing about any of these things? What is he even intending at some point to do about these things? So far as I can read the administration, the answer is: nada. We’re firing Arab linguists? So sorry. We won’t recognize in any way a tiny minority of legally married couples in several states because they’re, ugh, gay? We had no idea. There’s a ban on HIV-positive tourists and immigrants? Really? Thanks for letting us know. Would you like to join Joe Solmonese and John Berry for cocktails? The inside of the White House is fabulous these days.

Two weeks ago, the Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese emerged from a White House meeting with a blank check allowing the administration to delay away. He announced that he was pleased with the meeting. “They have a vision,” he said. “They have a plan.” So I guess there’s no need for the HRC to risk its White House access to apply any pressure.

And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the White House takes its cues from LGBT advocates. That may explain why White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave the longest series of non-answers yesterday to some rather simple questions from ABC New’s Jack Tapper on LGBT issues that we’ve seen in a long time. No pressure? No problem.



May 13th, 2009 | LINK

I printed out a copy of Andrew Sullivan’s post, and I’m putting it in the mail to the White House today. Maybe others can do the same. It’s simple, it costs 42 cents and it will only take a minute of your time. But this is something the President’s handlers need to read. Maybe they will, if they get enough copies. Here’s hoping.

May 13th, 2009 | LINK

I keep thinking of a bit of wisdom attributed to Alfred E. Newman in Mad magazine: “The length of a minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.”

It’s very hard to convince some well-meaning straight people just how urgent it really is! And yes, it’s frustrating.

I like Rob’s idea a lot. It’s actually 44 cents, I think. Still very worth it.

May 13th, 2009 | LINK

With all the serial backtracking on his gay promises, the 50K troops staying in Iraq permanently, the continuing lifetime detentions of suspects without charging them, the Bushian application of state secrets privilege (smacked down by the 9th Circuit, just like it was for W), the promotion of the torturer McChrystal in Afghanistan, today’s big abuse-photo coverup, the lies about posting bills online and ending the medical marijuana raids, it’s like we didn’t have an election at all.

Bush Dark is turning out to be the greatest electoral fraud of my lifetime.

May 13th, 2009 | LINK

Got to say Mr O is turning out to be a big disappointment. His true colors of being a politician versus a statesman are increasingly clear as time passes. Sadly no where else for our community to go; however, I will take the time to express my extreme dissatisfaction to him and the HRC (who I continue to financially support– for now..).

May 13th, 2009 | LINK

This is why I stopped giving money to HRC years ago. Send your money to organizations that are in the trenches–like the Task Force and Lambda Legal.

As long as HRC takes in enough money to pay to maintain their “palace” on Rhode Island Avenue and their Board/Staff have an open invite to the WH (along with some sort of Helsinki syndrome), they won’t give two sh*ts to the LGBT community. Especially after 8 years in the wilderness they are just happy to have (meaningless) access. make me think of the SNL skt from a few years ago…”Lowered Expectations.” HRC and a do-nothing White House. Perfect together.

HRC does not lead. They only follow (and I DON’T mean they follow their supposed constituency).

May 13th, 2009 | LINK

“Thanks for letting us know. Would you like to join Joe Solmonese and John Berry for cocktails?”. Pretty much says it all.

May 13th, 2009 | LINK

I feel like you’re way off the mark here. Fresh off creating an economic stimulus, closing Guantanamo and confirming an end-date in Iraq (the decision may not have been satisfactory, but it’s better than the nothin’ Bush was slinging) President Obama is mired, as are most leaders, in a world health crisis. He’s been in office less than six months and despite this everyone seems to expect answers to their problems immediately. It’s an administration, not a magic wand. I’m tired of hearing LGBT advocates bemoan this presidency when it’s hardly got its legs.

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