Monday, November 09, 2009

Dear DNC: The gAyTM is closed...

From John A. over at americablog:
Don't Ask, Don't Give
by John Aravosis Via AMERICABLOG.COM is launching today a donor boycott of the DNC. The boycott is cosponsored by Daily Kos, Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, Paul Sousa (Founder of Equal Rep in Boston), Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler (ED of the Equality Campaign, Inc.), Bil Browning for the Bilerico Project and soon others.

It's really more of a "pause," than a boycott. Boycotts sounds so final, and angry. Whereas this campaign is temporary, and is only meant to help some friends - President Obama and the Democratic party - who have lost their way. We are hopeful that via this campaign, our friends will keep their promises.

You can find our Frequently Asked Questions, below, that explain the entire campaign.


What is this?
We are asking voters to pledge to withhold contributions to the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and the Obama campaign until the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is passed, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is repealed, and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed -– all of which President Obama repeatedly promised to do if elected.

Why are you asking people to take this pledge?
Candidate Obama promised during the campaign to be the gay community’s “fierce advocate.” He and the Democratic party have not kept their promise.

Can you give examples of how the President and Democrats have not been fierce advocates for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans?
1. Asking a religious right activist who claims to have been “cured” of his homosexuality to headline campaign events in South Carolina. Then letting the anti-gay bigot spend half an hour, on stage, haranguing gays at the Obama event.
2. Refusing for months to interview with LGBT newspapers during the campaign,
3. Flubbing question on whether gays are immoral.
4. Inviting anti-gay activist Rick Warren, to give the invocation at the inaugural.
5. Inviting a gay bishop to the inaugural festivities, then not beginning the TV broadcast until the gay bishop has finished and left.
6. Refusing to appoint an openly gay Cabinet member.
7. Abolishing the LGBT outreach position at the DNC.
8. Refusing to re-establish the White House Office of LGBT Outreach.
9. Continuing to discharge two gay servicemembers a day, when he could stop it .
10. Asking for a study on “whether” repealing DADT would hurt national security.
11. Deleting his gay civil rights promise from the White House Web site.
12. Changing his commitment to “repeal” Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to “changing DADT".
13. Repeatedly defending DOMA in court, when he didn’t have to.
14. Making jokes about marriage equality
15. Claiming he doesn't support, even though he once did.
16. Comparing gay relationships to incest and pedophilia in a DOJ brief.
17. Joking about gay protesters upset about the DOMA brief.
18. Refusing to provide health care benefits to the partners of gay employees
19. Claims that health benefits for partners of fed. employees were new. Not true.
20. Suggesting he won’t get to DADT, or ENDA until his second term, if ever.
21. Won't suspend implementation of anti-gay laws, while suspending others.
22. Working against amendment to defund Don't Ask, Don't Tell investigations 23. Saying won’t repeal DADT until wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have finished.
24. Senator Harry Reid had to beg President Obama to help on DADT repeal.
25. Calling LGBT marchers on Washington, “the Internet left fringe”
26. Saying he won’t touch DOMA in his first term.
27. Refusing to release list of gay attendees at hate crimes reception.
28. Refusing to mention Maine or Washington state, or anything of substance, in his speech to the Human Rights Campaign dinner.
29. Saying gays are “na├»ve” for wanting the president to keep his promise.
30. Refusing to issue a statement specifically opposing anti-gay ballot measures in Maine and Washington state.
31. Attorney General Eric Holders flubs question on Maine, twice -- once while in Maine.
32. DNC/OFA emailed supporters in Maine and Washington state, but didn't ask them to vote against anti-gay ballot measures, then lied about it.
33. Senator Durbin (D-IL), a very close ally of Obama, says Senate probably won’t repeal DADT in 2010, as promised.
34. Senior DNC official accuses gays and lesbians of “helping Republicans” by simply asking Democrats to keep their gay civil rights promise.
35. Refusing to publicly endorse marriage equality for gays.
36. Refusing to this day to interview with the gay press.
37. Refusing to apologize for any of these slights.

But won’t your pledge hurt Democrats?
It never hurts Democrats to keep their promises to the voters. The American people respect strong leaders who have the courage to stick to their beliefs. And it will only help Democrats in the next election to stand by their commitments to a core constituency. If Democratic voters aren't motivated, they won't vote. We are concerned that the President's failure to fulfill his promises may suppress voter participation not only from gay Democrats, but from our families, friends and allies. In a very real way, this is an effort to ensure that we get-out-the-vote in 2010, 2012 and beyond.

But if you don’t give money to the DNC, won’t that help elect Republicans who are even worse on gay issues, and other issues Democrats care about?
We are not calling for a boycott of donations to the DNC. We are simply calling for a pause until the party follows through on its campaign promise to repeal DADT and DOMA, and pass ENDA. The party will get the same donations it would have gotten, when the promises are kept. The Democrats could choose to make good on their promise today. And by doing so, they will only further motivate the Democratic base to again turn out for the next election, a decidedly good thing.

You have to admit, gay rights is controversial – wouldn’t it be political suicide for Democrats to push gay rights?
Democrats should not have promised to support gay civil rights rights in exchange for our votes if they never intended to keep the promise. If we're not controversial during the campaign, when politicians are happy to accept our votes and our money, we cannot accept being labeled controversial after our candidates win. We kept our part of the bargain, we voted for Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress. It’s entirely reasonable for us to ask our elected officials to keep their part of the bargain too.

What's more, gay rights are not controversial. Americans favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military by a margin of 69% - 26%. By a margin of 57% - 37%, "A clear majority of Americans (57%) favors allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples." That can't happen if DOMA is the law. And in fact, if these civil rights promises were controversial, they would have hurt candidate Obama at the polls. But, he proudly and loudly proclaimed his support for LGBT equality, and he won.

No matter how disappointed you are, aren’t Democrats still better than Republicans?
The Republican party is terrible on gay issues. That doesn’t excuse the Democratic party breaking specific promises to the gay community made in exchange for our votes. We didn’t break our promise at the ballot box, the Democrats shouldn’t break theirs after we helped put them into office.

President Obama has only been in office less than a year, why the rush?
In less than a year, serious damage has already been done to the President’s commitments to the gay community. The problem isn’t only that he hasn’t been quick enough to fulfill his promises, it’s that he has actually backtracked on his promises and hurt the cause of civil rights and our community, as detailed above.

But aren’t there bigger priorities than gay rights for the Democrats to deal with, like health care and the economy?
Would President Obama, the DNC and the Congress tell other minorities that their civil rights aren't important? The suggestion is that Democrats have more important things on the table. When won't Democrats have more important priorities than the civil rights of gays and lesbians? Will there ever be a day, a year, an administration, when the President and the Congress won't have serious crises to deal with? Suggesting that gay Americans and their friends and families wait until the President and Congress have nothing else to do is not only insulting, it's a recipe for never. And regardless, we trust that this President, unlike the previous, can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Who is behind this effort?

John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay, two longtime political operatives in Washington, DC, and the editors of Cosponsors of the campaign include DailyKos, Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, Paul Sousa, and man others. You can contact us at:

How can I help?
Sign the pledge, tell your friends about this campaign, read the blog, and stay tuned for updates and action alerts on how you help make sure that the President, the Congress and the Democratic party keep their promises to the LGBT community, our families, our friends and our allies.

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