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The LGBT Community Finds Its Voice. It Turns Out It’s In Its Wallet.

Jim Burroway

June 19th, 2009

LGBT advocates have continued to express their outrage over the Justice Department’s DOMA brief. That brief has sparked a rebellion among LGBT Democrats who have continued to pull out of next week’s DNC fundraiser organized by the LGBT Leadership Conference and featuring Vice-president Joe Biden. Eleven LGBT leaders have announced that they will not attend the fundraising event. Even the Stonewall Democrats have withdrawn their support.

That has set the White House on a mad rush to try to quell the rebellion. Two top Obama aides, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Political Director Patrick Gaspard, will hold an emergency conference call on Monday afternoon with the LGBT caucus of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The reported purpose of the call is to provide “important updates on the Administration’s LGBT agenda and how we move forward.” That move is in addition to news from earlier today that the Justice Department will meet with LGBT groups to discuss how it deals with DOMA cases going forward.

This follows President Barack Obama’s hastily called Oval Office photo-op on Wednesday to sign a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to adopt policies to treat their LGBT employees on equal footing with their other employees — although health and retirement benefits aren’t included because they are barred by federal law. The White House has also directed the Census Bureau to determine changes in its procedures to allow same-sex unions to be counted.

The White House has finally gotten the message that they have stumbled badly. After months of silence and footdragging on LGBT issues, they have now come to understand that they are on the verge of losing one of their most reliable constituencies. And so over the past three days, we’ve seen an unprecedented string of minor initiatives. None of these small steps are earth-shattering; all of them could have been thrown together at any time in the administration’s first 100 days. But the fact that they are coming out now tells us that the pressure exerted by the LGBT community this week has had an effect. It also tells us that only through continued unrelenting pressure will the White House and Congress to take our concerns seriously.

I’m glad the pressure is working and we appear to have the White House’s attention. We now need to grab Congress’s attention as well. We need to make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to feel the same heat as we’ve applied to President Obama.

And we also need to put our money where it will really make a difference. Right now the best place is firmly in our own bank accounts and not in the DNC’s. They say money talks, but people really notice the silence when it’s gone missing.

Comments

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Bruno
June 19th, 2009 | LINK

It’s not in my wallet though, it’s in Bruce Bastian’s. There are some bigtime Democrat donors that aren’t all too happy right now…and it reflects how most of us feel.

If the wallets stay closed, Congressional Dems will take notice.

Joel
June 19th, 2009 | LINK

What really gets to me is… if Obama really did read the briefing and gave thought to it, why did he not express any disconent or attempt to change what the briefing said? For me it says so much about Obama and of how small the changes for us will be.

truthreller
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Don’t fall for it. They are throwing crumbs at the gay community to pacify it.

Don’t get fooled again.

tavdy79
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Says it all really.

Tom
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Where YOU have been silent is on those dems who ARE attending this function. NOTE TO BARNEY FRANK – IF YOU ATTEND IT WILL BE _YOUR_ PURSE STRINGS THAT GET CUT TOO!

OTRDriver
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

I honestly don’t think President Obama did not view or proof read the brief. I’m sure he felt the Justice Department was capable in issuing the brief. The only problem with that is be careful what you cut and paste from the Bush Administrations files since you will be held responsible.

OTRDriver
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

OOPS.. and one for proof reading… take out the “don’t” in my previous post.. :-/

Matt
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Here’s an idea- next time you get an email from the Obama campaign asking for money, write back and tell them you donated to support Marriage Equality in Maine instead.

Houndentenor
June 21st, 2009 | LINK

Politicians are most aware of two groups of people. The ones who show up to vote on election day and the ones who donate money. They need both to stay in power. Both parties have groups they can take for granted as voters because those groups have no where else to go unless they want to elect someone even worse on their issues. So in that case, money is the only power we have. That’s a sad commentary on our democracy but it’s the reality.

Please donate your campaign contributions only to people who support full rights for gays and lesbians. There are plenty of them out there. At the moment, the president is not one of them. If that changes, then he deserves our support. If you want marriage equality, then the money needs to be donated at the state level not the federal. And in most cases it would have a lot more impact there. HRC has been trying a top-down approach and have not a single accomplishment to show for it. There are states that are close. Changing a few state senate seats in New York would make a huge difference. I’m sure there are similar examples in about a dozen states.

Duncan
June 21st, 2009 | LINK

Why was none of this heat applied to the previous administration? Was it more heat-resistant, or with more a lower specific temperature (i.e., thicker)?

Jason D
June 21st, 2009 | LINK

Duncan,
the last administration didn’t care about LGBT issues in the first place, and also didn’t have nearly the support of the LGBT community that Obama had/has.

In short, we had nothing with which to threaten them.

“Bush, give us our civil rights or we’ll continue NOT donating money to the GOP and NOT voting for you.”

See, doesn’t work as a scare tactic when you threaten to do something you’ve already been doing.

Mac
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Stop supporting your local Democrats, and tell them why. Congress and the President are removed from our lives. Nothing is more powerful than a local pol whining to the DNC.

Eddie89
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

To heck with BOTH the Republicans and Democrats!

I just read the platform for the Libertarian party and I think I have found a new home!

The Libertarian Party’s position on LGBT rights has remained unchanged since it was created in 1972! Can the Republicans make such a claim? Can the Democrats?

To heck with the D’s and the R’s!

All they desire is to hold office/power and just take turns every few years. It’s the old “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” routine!

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