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Gay Inc. Declares Defeat on ENDA. Face It: Their Strategy Is Not Working

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Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Family Equality Council, American Civil Liberties Unions, Lambda Legal, the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have been, ostensibly, lobbying lawmakers and making the case in public that queer Americans deserve the right not to be discriminated against. These organizations ask those same queer Americans to continue donating to them, so their budgets can expand and, you would think, their lobbying efforts as well. But after years — decades — of these organizations trying to convince legislators that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is worth their vote, they are closing out 2009 not with a bang, but with the sorrow song of collective disappointment. The above groups, and handfuls of others, joined together for an open letter to “demand” Congress pass ENDA. The demand is an empty one: Congress will not be passing HR 3017, and there is absolutely nothing any of these well-funded organizations can do to force their hand. And it’s time to abandon ship.

It will forever be a confounding state of affairs: Why can lobbying groups representing the interests of oil giants, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance providers wield so much control over our elected officials, but Gay Inc. does not? While the American Petroleum Institute continues to get federal lawmakers to shoot down improved environmental standards; while the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America continues to get elected officials to cease demanding lower drug prices; while America’s Health Insurance Plans continues to get legislators to turn their backs on their uninsured constituents … the organizations charged with convincing lawmakers to support civil rights turn up empty year after year after year.

How can this be? How can we dump millions of dollars into Gay Inc. and have, literally, almost nothing to show for it? While smaller gay activist groups fight our state-by-state battles, these national activist brands — HRC, NGLTF, FEC — can barely muster enthusiasm for our causes, let alone votes.

Something is seriously wrong here.

It’s hard to throw all the blame on Gay Inc. After all, for all our joking, HRC chief Joe Solmonese does not show up to work and sit on his hands for eight hours a day. He must be doing something, yes? Surely NGLTF’s Rea Carey, on the job some 18 months now, isn’t still enjoying the honeymoon phase of her tenure and redecorating her office? These leaders, and their bank accounts and legions of supporters, staffers, and volunteers, aren’t just sitting around all day.

So is it the lawmakers, then, who must accept all the blame? They certainly deserve a huge chunk of it. Passing ENDA, repealing DOMA and DADT — these shouldn’t be acts that require lobbying from civil liberties groups. But we’re not stupid: Politicians must play careful games of chess while holding office if they hope to get re-elected. They don’t want to offend voters, they say. Rather, they are just voting the will of their constituents. Often, that’s just an excuse for cowardice, or a lawmaker’s own bigotry.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned makes lawmakers jump, it’s money. While we dump millions upon millions into the budgets of Gay Inc. every year, perhaps it’s time to start funneling money somewhere more constructive: Into the political campaigns of candidates who guarantee they’ll act on our behalf. What HRC and NGLTF cannot do, no matter how much money we give them, is turn off the faucets of gay dollars flooding into coy lawmakers who, while publicly supportive of LGBT rights, do nothing about it once elected, or re-elected.

Every week, we grow increasingly tired, and detached, when we see another press release from a Gay Inc. group “applauding” something or “condemning” something else. If these organizations want to continue receiving our funds, it’s time they find — or build — a backbone, and start making outright demands of lawmakers that have major ultimatums attached.

If HRC & Co. really wanted to enact an effective strategy to get bills like ENDA to pass, they would instruct lawmakers to move on them, or bear the wrath of a network of activist organizations telling their supporters to support somebody else, to give their money to someone else, and to drag these candidates through the mud until they know first-hand the type of discrimination, suffering, and neglect LGBT Americans have been handed.

And if they don’t, we’ll know Gay Inc.’s real strategy: Perpetuate a situation where Gay Inc. groups are still needed, because LGBT Americans are still victims who need saving.

“LGBT AMERICANS OUTRAGED AT DELAY IN BASIC JOB RIGHTS”

In light of continuing delays in the House of Representatives, we must state clearly and unequivocally: Passing basic job protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people must happen now. At a time when our government is deeply focused on the critical issue of employment, it is inexcusable to delay action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Each and every job lost to prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity needlessly compounds the unemployment challenges facing our nation. We call on Congress for the immediate passage of ENDA.

For decades now, we have called upon Congress to pass legislation to address the basic right of LGBT people to work free from discrimination at our jobs, and now Congress tells us we must wait another year. In 29 states, it remains legal to fire people based on sexual orientation and in 38 states, discrimination based on gender identity remains legal. In failing to take swift action to pass ENDA, our government allows unfettered bigotry to go unchecked, leading to the loss of jobs, fear in the workplace, economic instability, and personal hardship, while allowing employers to lose competent experienced workers. ENDA is urgently needed by our communities.

The majority of Americans consistently state their support for employment protections and voters have affirmed similar state and local measures. There is absolutely no reason for Congress to continue to delay this non-controversial bill or drop LGBT issues to the bottom of their agenda. We will not be denied basic rights any longer. Nothing is more important than protecting peoples’ jobs so ENDA must pass now. Further delays are absolutely unacceptable.

Matthew Coles & James Esseks, Co-Directors, American Civil Liberties Union LGBT Project
Terry Stone, Executive Director, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Toni Broaddus, Executive Director, Equality Federation
Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Equality Council
Lee Swislow, Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
Jarrett Tomás Barrios, President, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign
Rachel T. Niven, Executive Director, Immigration Equality
Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO, International Federation of Black Prides, Inc.
Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director, Lambda Legal
Christian Berle, Director of the Log Cabin Republicans National Office
Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Director/CEO, National Black Justice Coalition
Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
Rebecca Fox, Executive Director, National Coalition for LGBT Health
Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
Michael Mitchell, Executive Director, National Stonewall Democrats
Gregory Varnum, Executive Director, National Youth Advocacy Coalition
Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National
Jo Kenny, Interim Director, Pride at Work AFL-CIO
Masen Davis, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center

  • 76 Comments
    • mark Segal
      mark Segal

      Great call……. ENDA should be our first priority. Sorry folks but by the numbers ENDA covers more LGBT people in the US then “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or Marriage equality, combined. Both DADT and Marriage equality although important only serve some members of our community. ENDA give protections to all LGBT people. And if we unite behind it, we can pass it. But our efforts have been divided and our support not focused on what can be a reality.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • wondermann
      wondermann

      agreed, Mark

      Dec 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      No amount of lobbying will get Congress to support something that deep down inside it doesn’t. By and large, most Democrats have been lukewarm at best on our issues (the only way we got the hate crimes law passed was amending it to a Defense Department bill, because as a stand-alone, it was doubtful there were the votes to pass it). And, we know where the Republicans stand. Don’t blame GayInc. for this–they’ve been trying.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      Re: Mark No.1: Certainly EDNA needs to “a” top priority. And so does DADT and marriage equality. Not one of these is MORE important than the other two. Just as there are real people who face real discriminatory employment practices, there are real people in the military and there are real people for whom the benefits drawn from marriage mean everything for medical and retirement statuses.

      Queerty, and the many others who comment about the lack luster performances of Gay Inc. fail to see the basic problem: the pharmaceutical, oil, defense contractors, insurance companies, NRA, etc industry lobbyists succeed because they use the power of their money to make Congress pay attention. And I am not just talking about the money individual lobbying efforts pay out, but more than that they use the national impact of their industry on the national economy. Pharmaceutical, oil, defense contractors, et al employee, send, purchase, distribute billions upon billions upon billions of dollars that have impacts on most every household in the country.

      Gay rights, civil rights, legal rights, etc, as issues have very minor contributions to the national economy. To most of America, they really could not care less about legislation that does not effect them.

      Gay Inc. needs to rethink battle strategies; but in a new way. In 1996, as Hawaii was drawing close in on marriage equality, it was HRC and their cohorts who, essentially, black-balled the marriage equality movement, because that issue was not part of their strategy. Barney Frank was also a major voice against marriage equality.

      We know from the slow process of ENDA, DADT and marriage equality, that traditional and typical lobbying efforts do not succeed. We limply accept that any Democrat is better than every Republican; that allows the Democrats to continue to shit on us and the Republican to use us to raise counter funding. Dumb.

      For those of us around from post-Stonewall pre-AIDS, we know that, on top of all the excellent grass roots community efforts to assist HIV/AIDS patients, it was ACT-UP that made people pay attention, change funding legislation, and push gay rights forward.

      What is the new ACT-UP? Where is the ACT-UP for marriage equality; where is the ACT-UP for ENDA; where is the ACT-UP for DADT?

      ACT-UP took on the pharmaceutical companies, took on state and national legislators, took on AMA and the CDC/NIH.

      I remember well the first HRC annual fund raiser in San Francisco just after Bill Clinton became president. In a room of hundreds of black ties, sending tens of thousands of dollars to HRC coffers, every one high on themselves for the recent success, and then listening to why we had to accept DADT. I remember, from our front row table, my boyfriend (today hubby) standing up in the middle of the key note address, shout “You’re wrong! DO THE RIGHT THING!” Even David Mixner was shocked; who would shout out against a Clinton administrator?

      It is time for a new ACT-UP, time for shouting, a time for movement.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      Very well said Queerty.

      The LGBT “hired guns” DO NOT have a strategy to obtain our equality. They have numerous (successful) strategies to raise money and create the “appearance of progress,” but there really hasn’t been much progress.

      @ # 3 Dan, who suggested:

      Don’t blame Gay Inc. for this – they’ve been trying.

      Really? Trying what? Lobbying? We have 40 years of proof that lobbying DOES NOT WORK for LGBT issues. Politicians vote the will of the people, or more accurately the will of the people in their District or State. It is a matter of their own political survival. That’s why it is impossible to get anything LGBT passed by the US Senate. 45 US Senators are clearly Anti-LGBT despite very expensive “lobbying efforts.”

      If we know we can’t change “politician’s votes” until we change their “constituents minds,” what exactly is Gay Inc. doing in that regard? The answer is nothing. We provide them with about $100 million a year (much more in election years) and they don’t do anything that makes a real, sustainable difference. They just keep playing the “political game.” It is important to also note that they have NO incentive to actually win – if the political game ends, they are out of work. Joe Solmonese is not interested in ending his salary and lavish expense account. He just isn’t.

      It is time to redirect our resources into something other than Gay Inc.’s “false hope” of an elusive “political solution.” If we truly want equality, it is our responsibility to create it. All of us.

      To that end, we desperately need to shift the conversation to winning our equality.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stan
      Stan

      Re: Mike (4)

      There’s no new ACT-UP because ACT-UP was a matter of life and death. They did the phenomenal, vital, admirable work of inspiring very real, very public outrage over the plague and the political/corporate leaders who enabled and ignored it. Shouting and acting up make sense when you’re shouting, “We’re dying here! You are killing us!” No matter what someone might think about gays, they know it isn’t right to sit and watch us die.

      ENDA, DOMA, DADT, and the rest – these are not about life and death. They are about livelihoods, yes, but not about a generation dying in the streets. Our current battles are about equality.

      We cannot shout our way to equality. You cannot shout, “Respect me, dammit! Make me equal or else!” Well you can, but you can’t seriously expect results. Who would respond to that? When you’re asking for help, which is the position we find ourselves in now, we have to ASK. We have to appeal to the people we know, friends, family and the rest. Yelling at your neighbor that you need your equality won’t get you anything except a sore throat. Asking for help can change your life.

      Now you, me, and even every single person reading Queerty could all ask for help and it wouldn’t change Congressional realities. But if someone were bold enough to get a real movement going where the whole conversation shifted, you bet your ass we’d have some change.

      You’re very right – we all need to rethink battle strategies. Lobbying means nothing because we don’t have leverage. Politicians are, more often than not, only give us a ‘pick your poison’ decision. We certainly can’t trust them to be our saviors or worth our dollars, when they aren’t even willing to go on record as supportive or not.

      And you’re right, we have to rethink strategies in a new way. But returning to ACT UP tactics, but applying them to a completely different battle with a different context isn’t a new movement. Asking for help, and creating an army – that would be new.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Just stop
      Just stop

      6 months ago: “How dare all these organizations not be marching for federal marriage equality and dont ask dont tell! Marriage or nothing!”

      Today: “These organizations are ineffective since they didnt get ENDA passed. Granted, not one post on this website has mentioned ENDA in six months, we launched a foolish ‘march’ on Washington where people didnt even see ENDA as an issue, and we’ve been forcing these organizations to spend money on our own reactionary idiocies. But its their fault.”

      Queerty, stop and think that maybe you are part of the problem, and stop blaming the people who have been working on legislation like this for ages. These organizations got the legislation to pass the House, got it introduced, etc. Then you reactionary gays started demanding the federal government repeal DADT and DOMA immediately. That HURT ENDA.

      Take responsibility. The idiotic gay blogosphere and moronic moves like the March are just as much to blame as anyone else.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Just stop
      Just stop

      and AndrewW- the webroots have been pushing for votes, marches, etc. This does NOTHING to change the minds of Americans

      Angry gays protesting when things they don’t like happen does zippo but vent anger.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ Just Stop:

      You are correct – nothing has been done to change minds. You are also correct about Marches, although they may focus some attention, they do not change minds. Even legislative actions and news stories do not change minds. It is mostly personal conversation that changes anyone’s mind.

      We need to stop talking to unreliable politicians and start talking to friends, neighbors and even strangers. We need to ask for their help. I would rather rely on “human spirit” than Gay Inc. or any political effort.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Attmay
      Attmay

      @Mike in Asheville:

      You hit the nail on the head. I have been saying this all along. We need to take our rights. We need ACT UP 2.0. Just because people aren’t dropping like flies the way people with AIDS were before the development of all those medicines, does not mean we are not hurting. Their tactics worked.

      We expected others to do the heavy lifting we should have been doing; the only heavy lifting we do is at the gym where all the hot guys are. We expected Michael Bloomberg to get us Republican votes for gay marriage in the New York state senate. He didn’t because that’s not his fucking job: it’s ours. His job is the Mayor of New York City.

      Where party politics are concerned, the Stonewall Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans could have put up pro-gay primary challengers to anti-gay candidates of their respective parties at any time. But they didn’t. Like sisters, politicians are doing it for themselves. Republicans and Democrats would both shove us into gas chambers if they stood to gain from it personally, and that’s the truth. Bashing Republicans (and not having a counterweight to the Religious Wrong in the GOP has proven disastrous for them) and sucking up to Democrats made it easier for Republicans to target us and Democrats (and the Gay Inc. behemoths who love them) to string us along and profit handsomely off it. In NY-23 HRC supported Bill fucking Owens, an opponent of gay marriage, because he was a Democrat, while Dede Scozzafava, the only gay marriage supporter in the whole race, was left out in the cold by the rule-or-ruin brigade and by Gay Inc. for having the unforgivable sin of an “R” next to her name. Other than simple human decency, which only existed in Washington when Mr. Smith went there in that Jimmy Stewart movie, why should Republicans help us when we have offered nothing that would make them want to give us any concessions?

      Dec 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RichardR
      RichardR

      Good points, everybody. Mark, I respect and hear you, but at the federal level, DADT and DOMA codify the ugly reality that our very nation discriminates against us.

      On a positive note, I do think the recent passage of the us-included hate crimes legislation is enormously significant. Indeed, it’s not enough, but it’s a crucial beginning, for we now are a “protected” class.

      I think “Gay Inc.” does a decent job at what they do – whether it’s grassroots work or lobbying work. All have made missteps, HRC spectacularly, but Mike in Asheville is dead on – it’s about money. We, and Gay Inc. on our behalf, don’t and never will have enough to buy our rights. As we’ve seen, putting money directly into campaigns doesn’t work either (hello BO and NY senate dems).

      Personally, I feel and have for a long time that marriage equality has been the wrong fight at the wrong time. The fight should be about separating civil marriage rights from religious marriage. Get married in a church if it and you want, but you must get married at city hall (or wherever) for the civil rights. An entirely different, and no easier or simpler battle, either, for we would be ripping away the civil authority now bestowed on churches.

      I’m feeling that our movement should be not piecemeal but for full equality and that it requires a whole new strategy. Certainly, it involves an ACT-up level of urgency, vigor, outrage, clamor, and smarts. Certainly, it involves lobbyists and grass-roots organizers. I feel strongly that this new strategy requires calling out our enemies, naming their names and shaming them — and right here I am naming the roman catholic church, fundamentalist religions, christian and muslim, and the politicians, political parties, and “believers” who support them.

      Obviously, we need to embrace our allies, and they do include many religious people and organizations, and some politicians.

      And I feel that we just have to, just must get real. First, to those enemies, it isn’t about marriage, or military service, or employment protections, or hate crimes. It is about gay. It is about gay.

      Second, our equality doesn’t really matter to anybody but us. Yes, we have some allies, but we are the ones who care, and it is a bitter thorn (sorry for the mixed metaphor) but many of “us” don’t especially care.

      Time is for and against us. For us, in that our oldest enemies are dying and they are being replaced at a slower pace, and fewer young people seem to hold those irrational animosities. Against us, in the short term because of the way political realities are slipping away from us nationally, since in that arena elections next year are sure to diminish democratic majorities in both houses nationally and democratic will everywhere; and also time is against us in the short term because there truly are hugely pressing priorities that supersede our equality, internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally. The economy must be righted, health insurance reform must occur, wars must be ended.

      I think our new theme must involve something like apartheid, the idea that in America we absolutely are second class citizens — all the individual causes: marriage, military service, etc. are simply pieces of that. How fucking dare they.

      I wish I had the answer — for the moment, I sure like the idea of letting the democratic party know that our $pigot has been turned to “off.” The letters I’m writing in response to fund-raising appeals all use the phrase “Not one vote, not one dollar until . . .”

      But where is the new ACT-UP? Who is the new Larry Kramer? What will the new Stonewall be? Clearly, Stonewall 2 wasn’t it. Maybe the stunning lack of condemnation of this appalling Uganda legislation. God, [no irony intended] it seems always to come back to religion.

      I hate to acknowledge it, but I am feeling so discouraged right now. Prop 8, Maine, New Jersey, the window that was opened with the thrilling 2009 electoral triumphs slowly closing.

      All I know is that our cause is just and that right is on our side. Sometimes, those aren’t enough.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NC Gay
      NC Gay

      1. Lambda and GLAD are not lobbyists, but legal services organizations.
      2. GLAD is responsible for marriage in most of New England.
      3. Lambda is responsible for marriage in Iowa and California (which was then taken away by the mediocre interest from the gay public).
      4. How many states passed marriage thanks to the National Equality March? How many passed Marriage because of your poorly-researched blog ramblings? How about you think about what you owe to some of these groups before attacking them?

      Dec 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      this is easier said than done… I’m a Hill staffer and I truly believe Gay Inc could model themselves on several groups and become more successful. Queerty is right that there are very effective advocates out there, hence there’s little need to re-invent the wheel. The two I would consider would be AIPAC and the NRA, both represent two very different types of constituents, but are extremely effective at their jobs.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      Another thought. We gays run toward where we already have our civil rights, ie big cities and the coasts. Because of this, we have very little influence over many Members of Congress. This presents challenges that, I believe, Gay Inc hasn’t even thought of. These challenges are not impossible to overcome, either. We need to figure out how to use money or organization in less gay districts to bridge the gaps.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 6:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      OH!! And another thing…I agree that we should’ve hit harder for ENDA. We have a gap in our civil rights framework because we decided to focus so narrowly on marriage. Someone wrote this in the WaPo (I think) not too long ago. Marriage quality just isn’t as compelling an issue as other discrimination that we face. We’re subject to violence, torture, lack of job security and more because of who we are…but we choose to focus on marriage?

      Dec 5, 2009 at 6:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ RichardR:

      Sorry, I appreciate much of your comment, but your promoting “anger” is just more of the same. We have tried “political solutions” and “angry demands” for 40 years with little to show for it. It couldn’t be clearer – we need a whole new strategy and approach to “equality” and NOT “equal rights.”

      Equality and equal rights are very different. As you have stated above the Hate Crimes Bill has now made us a “protected class.” I don’t want to be a “special class” or a “protected class” or even a “minority.” Ask Blacks how that’s worked out for them. In 1964 we passed the Civil Rights Act and 45 years later “equality” is still elusive for Blacks and racism continues to exist. There has been progress, but none of that progress has been the result of laws passed. It is because “old ideas die with older Americans.” Time and Death have delivered the changes in attitudes.

      I also disagree with the assertion that “Gay Inc. does a decent job,” at what? What exactly have they done? There are some legal groups that have some progress to point to, but not HRC and GLAAD or NGLTF. Please make me a list of what they have accomplished on our behalf.

      Also, we don’t need to encourage another “Act Up” show of anger. It doesn’t work or help. If it did, we’d all be outside screaming until we had our equality. I am inside typing – most of us are.

      We DO need a new unified strategy for LGBT Equality. Don’t expect a Larry Kramer or anyone else. Ideas will lead us – good ideas that are actually about winning and not simply surviving. In order for that to happen, we need to be very honest and objective. We need to be willing to challenge old ideas in a new world. We need to admit this is not our Grandfathers America. We need to stop spending money on failed strategies (most of Gay Inc.) and find a way to actually WIN.

      It is NOT a money problem – it never has been and it never will be. Our Community has the resources, what we need are the ideas. But, to illustrate my point, if our equality was being held hostage for $1 billion, we would figure out how to pay the ransom. Today, the reality is we have paid more than $2 billion – primarily to Gay Inc. and politics – and we have little to show for it. It has been a bad investment.

      I suggest we refocus our resources and efforts towards “winning.” We are the most creative people in the World… we can do better. We can win. We should win.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      HRC only represetns upper crusters with well-paid jobs and no danger of ever being fired.

      Unlike the overwhelming majority of LGBT Americans.

      Kissing the well-upholstered asses of the powerful gets us precisely NOTHING!

      Those asses must be KICKED!

      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      Could we quit with the insinuation that people who take much reduced salaries to work for non-profit organizations in order to help our community are sabotaging their own efforts in order keep their jobs and “lavish salaries?” It’s seriously insulting.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Just stop
      Just stop

      Ehrenstein- where do you get your information from re: “the overwhelming majority of LGBT Americans?” First of all, “the overwhelming majority” of LGBT Americans, as far as anyone can tell, already live in jurisdictions that prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. (Currently 21 states plus DC, including NY, CA, IL.) Second of all, if you think job discrimination only occurs in low-paid jobs, you are beyond mistaken. (In fact, one of the landmark Title VII cases about gender conformity involved a highly paid employee at PriceWaterhouse.)

      To all of those who are complaining essentially that there needs to be an extra-legislative “movement” avoiding the “DC elites,” I hate to point out the obvious: PASSING LEGISLATION REQUIRES INTERACTION WITH DC ELITES.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan-o
      Dan-o

      The big point that everyone seems to lose sight on is that, in this country, civil rights have, for the most part, been advanced only by decisions made and enforced by the judicial branch–not the legislative branch. It was Court decisions on segregated schools, interracial marriage, discriminatory community housing policies, Title IX and, most importantly for the LGBT community, Lawrence vs. Texas, that have broadened civil rights to minorities. Even same-sex marriage has advanced primarily because of court decisions, not legislative victories. Legislators historically protect the majority; after all, they win office because of majorities. It most likely will take a smartly argued court case and open-minded, progressive judges to realize true equal rights for the LGBT community. That’s why the legal case being pushed by Theodore Olson and David Boies seems to have some potential.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      @AndrewW: “we have paid more than $2 billion”

      Can I have some of the crack you’ve been smoking? That’s NOWHERE near correct.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ Sam:

      Grab a calculator. 40 years @ $50 million per year. That’s the average we’ve spent on Gay Inc. The last decade has been about $100 million a year. Yeah, that’s the truth. Sucks, huh?

      I did not suggest that the “non-profit sector” was screwing us. The lavish salaries seem to be mostly for HRC, GLAAD, NGLTF and a few others. We have already given those 3 organizations more than $1 billion. Sorry, but I have nothing to show for it. I did appreciate the HRC sticker on my car when I was traveling and horny – but, I don’t have anything else to show for our investment. Do you?

      It is time to get very honest about our LGBT Strategy to win our equality. We don’t have one. We need one. Now, not later.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      Your pissy priority battles. Wow. Effective.

      “No! ENDA! I need a job!” “No! Marriage! I’m in love and overtaxed!” “No! I’m lonely and bitter!” “No! I’m already well-employed!”

      Do you understand why our concerns maybe start to come across as petty?

      We all agree on equality, yes? Equality encompasses the right to work, the right to wed, the right the right the right etc?

      And we can agree that, perhaps, if we work together on the big goal, our own concerns will be taken care of?

      Or I guess we can just keep fighting. I’d like a job. If ENDA will get that for me, sure. I’d like a boyfriend. If a repeal of DOMA will get me there, let’s go. Blah blah blah.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      Gee whiz, what’s in it for Frank? That’s honest.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      But, Frank may actually get it – equality, right Frank. That’s the goal. Nothing less. Right?

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      You got it, sugarplum! With our powers combined…

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Just stop
      Just stop

      Dan-O, Title IX and community housing policies (presumably the fair housing act) are legislation. THe Court can’t enforce laws that haven’t been passed.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Keith KImmel
      Keith KImmel

      The gay rights movement has turned into the gay rights joke. This much I can agree on.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We need effective strategy to overcome our opponent’s superior cash and numbers, not to mention the bigots’ hatred. In my opinion, that means fighting for what the polls say we can win: domestic partnership and the repeal of dodt. After those wins, seeing us in responsible relationships and seriving in uniform with honor, the public would be more inclined to grant us other basic rights. But the community is still controlled by the self righteous set who think we should expect the harvest moon delivered on a silver platter in January.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ #19 Dan-O

      Let’s hope WE solve this, not the Courts. The Courts didn’t eliminate racism. They won’t eliminate bigotry. That’s our job. America is waiting.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ #28 WillBfair

      We don’t need to settle for whatever we can get. We’re better than that. We can create our equality.

      Dec 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      Some posters keep saying we need to change minds. Well, how exactly is that done? If the black community would have waited for minds to change, we would still have segregation today.

      Our lawmakers or our judicial branch need to change the laws, only then will Americans try to catch up. Unfortunately, our self serving lawmakers drag their feet unwilling to stick out their necks even after making promises they fully intend not to keep.

      I think our efforts need to be two fold, first keep lobbying our representatives and second start going after the churches that fund our oppression. Protests in front of bigoted churches every Sunday might be the first place to start. The churches go after us so we must do the same.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 7:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      #30 AndrewW
      Nice rhetorical trick. That’s a new one on me.
      I guess the italics are meant to imply that I’m asking us to settle for what we can get. I’m not. I’m asking that we engage the public from where they are and push tactically for the rest as opportunities arise. It’s called strategy.
      But those of us living in a self righteous dream world, and the victim complex crowd who need failures in order to feel sorry for themselves, still control our agenda. Until cooler heads prevail, we’re going nowhere.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 7:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JM
      JM

      “Could we quit with the insinuation that people who take much reduced salaries to work for non-profit organizations in order to help our community are sabotaging their own efforts in order keep their jobs and “lavish salaries?” It’s seriously insulting.”

      No, we won’t quit, I won’t quit, because I’ve worked in and for major national non profits, and also with the private sector at senior levels. I’m sorry to say you are wrong on every count, re: NGOs.

      In fact, most leadership positions at major non-profits pay rather well. I know because I’ve been there. I never made less than $120K/year in the sector, and W hotels were the cheapest hotels I stayed in. It wasn’t Wall Street, but it’s comfortable. And during that time, one non-profit in particular was actually shrinking its field services to the indigent.

      If you want to believe that “non-profit” means do-gooders, then just please Google “Red Cross” or “United Way” stories from appx. ’01-’06. Scandals in how they utilized donations from decent people. Leadership acting with the same indulgent blasé attitude you’ll find in major private sector corps.

      And let’s talk about the egos: tremendous egos among Executive Directors. This always amused me, because after any ED’s imperious temper tantrum, I’d wonder to myself “honey, walk out on the street, and ask anyone who the ED was, three EDs ago, for this or any other org.” The Directors of divisions within a lot of orgs are bitten by the ego bug as well.

      And frankly, the majority of these people wouldn’t survive one quarter in the private sector. One high-pressure conf call with investors, and they’d be out.

      Don’t get me wrong: countless orgs do wonderful things every day, and that’s because of the good people behind them.

      But it’s healthier, as a community, as a donor, to be objective and cynical (in the good way) about anyone who works for and with other people’s money.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 8:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • naghanenu
      naghanenu

      No. 32 · WillBFair

      Very well said.

      The truth is whether u want to believe this or not, people’s minds need to be changed. You are a minority. Accept and deal. You do not have the power to overthrow the majority….especially in this case.

      I have said this before that MANY people do not regard sexuality as something u are born with. That is the first major challenge here. Unlike race, that is so obvious, sexual orientation is still been studied. Until scientists can prove with all reasonable doubt that it is indeed an inherent and inborn trait, gays will never ever see equality. As far as many people are concerned sexuality is a mind thing, something that can be controlled like drinking. Oh and the ex gays are not exactly helping either. An ex gay has spoken in my youth fellowship before and they were all drinking it up.

      You are failing. That’s the truth. It hurts and sucks but those are facts. With each new loss, people are losing faith and are getting seriously conflicted. The opponents are getting more confident and more followers. It is obvious that in order to save credibility a new strategy is needed.

      I mean, for God’s sake, you cant even get Congress to pass simple employment protection laws. That is the most basic and supported one by almost everyone. Yet the polls say that a majority of Americans support gay rights..are the polls lying or what the hell is going on?

      Too much energy and time has gone into the marriage fight with no real results. You say the majority of Americans support marriage for gays….really? So where were they in Maine, California, and the remaining 29 states that this has come under popular vote. New York, a city so diverse and famous in the world, just rejected by an overwhelming 24-38 to approve gay marriage legislature. The DNC for all your threats are not even batting an eyelash and are actually ignoring you at the moment as though they are embarrassed to affiliate themselves with you. I mean where the hell is Barney Frank? He hasn’t even said a word.

      As we end this year, let us reflect and think before we act on gay issues. You can blame NOM all you want…it is not their fault. The people are the problem. You need to convince the people.They are the ones that make a difference.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • spindoc
      spindoc

      Part of the problem is that gay inc. thought they had an ally in Barney Frank and kept waiting for him to do something, AND defending him for constantly doing nothing. They should have spent more time lobbying other congresspeople and not wasting time on Barney, he was dragged kicking and screaming from the closet and has spent the rest of the time since trying to prove to the Dems that he can keep the gays quiet.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ 35 SpinDoc:

      Enough “spin.” Please.

      You cannot “lobby” politicians regarding LGBT issues. You just can’t. If we could lobby-away-their-beliefs, wouldn’t we have done that during the last 40 years?

      The truth is we cannot pass anything LGBT-related in the 111th Congress because of our US Senators. 45 US Senators are anti-LGBT regarding “discrimination,” (ENDA) and 55 US Senators are anti-LGBT regarding “equality” (DOMA, DADT). That is the reality.

      We have wasted $2 billion in 40 years “lobbying” with the false promise of “changing votes.” We should have spent that money on “changing minds.” THAT would have made a difference.

      Our equality will not come as a result of sum elusive “political solution,” it will be the result of changing the “cultural conversation.” Naghanenu is correct – you have to change the “people,” change their minds. As a community we have never tried that. We keep putting all our eggs in the Democrat’s basket. It has never worked and it’s not working now.

      We will be equal when people believe we are.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dan j
      dan j

      I don’t want to get caught up in rating wrongs, but I am firmly convinced DADT affects all of us, not just those who want to serve. It is the only law that REQUIRES us to be punished. MANDATING punishment for who we are, tells other employers and the entire world that we SHOULD be punished, simply for who we are. We will always need ENDA and hate crime protections as long as the government teaches that we are inferior and deserve to be denied equal treatment under the law. This law directly affects all of us by using our taxes to demonize us. We need to change minds as well as laws and as long as we require new recruits as well as current soldiers to punish gay people for who they are, we will perpetuate prejudice and discrimination instead of ending it.

      It took me a while to get behind repeal of DADT, as I hate to give up the easy way to avoid the draft if they ever bring it back, and I am not a big fan of the military, and have no interest in joining. So I thought I had no personal stake in changing this law until I realized how it directly affects me by teaching new generations as well as sending a message to the rest of the world, that gay people should be punished because they are gay. While we can and should condemn Uganda for their outrageous punishment of gay people, it is difficult as a nation to tell them they are wrong to punish, when we set the same example through DADT.

      I hope this helps to persuade anyone who doesn’t see repeal of DADT as a priority, of why it should be.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 1:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      Let me pose this question: what good would ENDA do the LGBT community? First, most federal laws like ENDA only apply to entities receiving federal dollars. That leaves out a lot of employers nationally. Most small businesses don’t receive federal bucks (unless they have a SBA loan), so their employees would not be covered, possibly.

      I agree with the poster who said that we have failed to convince a majority of straights to support our issues on a national level. State by state (other than marriage), we have done reasonably well. Which is not surprising, since state legislators are closer to their constituents than the DC crowd.

      We need to drop marriage as the end-all.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellIsWaiting
      HellIsWaiting

      @ naghanenu. You are wrong on so many levels. No wonder the gay rights movement is damned to hell. There are too many Nancy Boys, like you, waving the white flag. First, there is no reason at all to prove, or require as a basis, that homosexuality is an immutable characteristic like race, in order to move forward in the pursuit of eqaulity under the law. Jews elect, through free choice, to remain Jewish. Yet their rights are not abridged on the basis of their freedom to associate with one another. There is likewise no rational basis to discriminate against GLBTs, even if homosexuality was a choice. If the Jews can chose and they get equal protection under the law, then so can the gays. And, for the record, there are more gays than Jews in this country.

      Regarding marriage… a very small, angry MINORITY is dictating the way for all others. You see… in Maine… the majority of the population of that state DID NOT endorse the raping of one group of its rights. If you really hated the idea of gay marriage up there… you would have VOTED. Only 1/2 of the eligible voters in Maine voted. Of that 1/2 that voted… about 1/2 voted to oppress. That’s ~25% of the population of that state (~1/2 of ~1/2 = ~25%). The other 75 fucking percent of the population of that state either didn’t care (because they didn’t vote) OR believed in equality for all and voted to endorse marriage equality, and actually voted. Same story in CA. And everywhere else were these kinds of issues get voted on. The majority IS NOT SPEAKING. That is why only a Court of Law can adequately resolve this issue.

      NY was a fucking joke. As has been said by others, it is basically two states: NYC, which is represented in the Assembly (by population density) and the rest of the state represented in the Senate (as a function of geography). Period. Beyond dysfunctional. Damn them to hell.

      NOM is a sack of shit organization that launders money to promote lies. They aren’t helping the cause, by any means. You coddle your enemies. Perhaps Maggie Gallagher can strap one on and school Brian Brown as to what sodomy actually is. As God as my Witness, these anti-sodomites and the organization the represent will be nothing but a footnote in the history books in about 50 years. And those after us will ask: what the fuck was all the fuss about?

      Dec 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ HellIsWaiting:

      I don’t think naghanenu wants to wait “fifty years,” as you suggest. He was correct in identifying the real problem:

      “The people are the problem. You need to convince the people. They are the ones that make a difference.”

      We have to stop attacking and start talking. We have to stop fighting and start creating. Blaming everyone but ourselves doesn’t advance our cause.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StopHRC.com
      StopHRC.com

      The reason we have nothign to show for it is because they have all been pouring money into gay marriage campaigns that were destined to fail. The rich are putting their money in one place – marriage. It sucks and it traps all of us queers who wish we could broaden our movement.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian NJ
      Brian NJ

      Gays have to stop being so cooperative and displaying reasonableness. They need to play ball, not think they have to just write letters and make arguments. The other side makes threats and show muscle, while we show diplomas. We need to show muscle.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 8:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Forty2
      Forty2

      I gave up on Gay Inc. a long time ago. I donate my time and money to organizations that actually get out there and do shit, like Doctors Without Borders for example, instead of A-list fags who throw themselves lavish fundraiser balls at $2000 a head or whatever; these people live in a gilded birdcage.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ozymandias
      Ozymandias

      My thoughts on ‘reaching out’…

      The idea of reaching out to the religious community has merit (especially since they are the ones backing all the inequality), but that very fact makes me want to have NOTHING to do with them, especially when I am confronted by smiling and otherwise-compassionate Christians who will tell me to my face that I am somehow ‘wrong’ or ‘deceived’ – and my own testimony is, quite frankly, not effective with these folks who will simply dismiss my story by saying ‘Well, regardless of what you say, it is a choice. Somehow you CHOSE to be Gay – even if it was subconscious.’ Even telling my story of suffering through ‘conversion therapy’ and all the emotional wounds it caused just makes them say ‘Well if you had more faith, you’d be delivered.’ Watching them do everything they can to spin homosexuality into ‘a choice’ or ‘an abomination to God, blah blah blah’ is damned hard, and has left me emotionally exhausted on more than one occasion trying to talk to these people.

      I remember seeing a YouTube video of someone who supported Prop 8 and still considered themselves ‘tolerant’ – the whole video pissed me off to no end, particularly when the author said he would still be happy to visit a Gay couple’s picnic and everything would be just fine – even after voting to strip that Gay couple of their rights. My response was ‘WTF?? I’d slam the fucking door in their FACES if they showed up at my house!’ Is it a knee-jerk reaction? Sure – but it’s also a simple truth; I would NEVER want to welcome someone into my home, take advantage of my (and my partner’s) hospitality, and then turn around and strip me of my right to marry, or otherwise support discrimination against me. And there’s no WAY I’d let them get away with saying they were tolerant – that’s just a way for these people to salve whatever guilt they might feel when they come face to face with me or anyone in the LGBT community. Yet I also know that these Christians would then turn right around and become the aggrieved victim, bemoaning those ‘militant Gay activists who can’t accept a different viewpoint or opinion.’ My pain and outrage becomes meaningless at best, and at worst extra ammunition to be used against me and mine.

      I’m very thankful for the Christian friends that I have that are supportive of Equality (in whatever area – military service, employment, marriage, etc.) but even their voices seem drowned out by all their fellow Christians who keep repeating the same sound-bytes about God carpet-bombing Sodom and Gomorrah ’cause of the Gays, or how it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve ad nauseum.

      It seems to me that our approach should use this sort of formula:

      * Continue pushing for legislative action on ENDA, DOMA Repeal, DADT Repeal. Abandoning that push would be disastrous, since lobbying groups for the Religious Right certainly wouldn’t abandon their efforts!

      * Continue pushing for judicial review of anti-Gay policies, wherever we can. I’d say the Judiciary has certainly swung in our favor over the past ten years, and by continuing to push in this area, more judges will come to see the inherent inequality we face (or I certainly hope).

      * Expanded community outreach, particularly among the younger generation and supportive religious groups. It’s in this demographic that we have our biggest support, and I believe we must continue making a concerted effort to show these folks that there *is* a disconnect between being against Equality, and still considering themselves ‘tolerant’ – that the Civil Rights movement and the Gay Rights movement are more similar than they are different – and that granting the LGBT community equality in civil matters would not impact on religious freedoms, or freedom of speech.

      * Call anti-Equality legislators on the carpet. The HRC (yes, I know, I know) has an excellent kit called “No Excuses” which basically shows folks how to request a legislator’s presence at an informal meeting where they (or a rep of theirs) can be grilled on their stands. I think those anti-Equality Democrats in NY should be hauled in front of a group of angry Gays and forced to explain their rationale.

      * For heaven’s sakes, we have to get off our Gay asses and get out there! I don’t even want to know how many LGBT folks in California and Maine didn’t vote – the idea that even ONE Gay man in those states could just shrug and say ‘I don’t care about that’ just makes me see red. Between MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, we have extremely powerful networking tools at our disposal, and we’ve seen them work in the post-H8 protests… but these are just tools, and they’re useless if not used.

      Just my opinion on the matter…

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      ENDA is the bottom line for me. Without equal job opportunities many of us will remain in the shadows. And, as citizens, there is no reason that we should still be having to deal with this, but we are. We are too passive. Too many of us think that straight society is better than we are. Check out the state of the country. Straights are not better than we are, not by a long shot. Let’s start using our brains, and our brawn too when necessary. Most straight people know we’re entitled to better than we get in America. It’s a matter of dealing with a vocal minority of pinheads. Pinheads can be dealt with.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellIsWaiting
      HellIsWaiting

      It is time to start playing hardball. We must enlighten those who are willing to listen and destroy our enemies. Return Fire.

      Don’t put up with those who impose religious superiority over you, because of who you are, or who you chose to love. Kindly remind them that they are equally destined for Hell as they are passing Judgment that only Our Lord can pass. And do not talk, support, or coddle them, ever, unless and until they unconditionally accept you for who you are. This may mean friction in your immediate family or circle of friends. Fuck’em. You want to make an omelet; you have to crack a few eggs.

      Stop whining about Christian persecution. Islam is about DEATH to homosexuals. So you like vacationing in Dubai? You and your fag boyfriend get the death penalty in the UAE. That’s a lot worse than what the Christians are saying. Yet too many become obsessed with Christianity, while ignoring the other Enemies Within. All the more reason to ignore completely the religious arguments surrounding queer rights – and focus on the non-secular, Constitutional pursuit of such rights, responsibilities, and freedoms.

      When the shit bags put out commercials, or other vile filth, scaring people that their kids will be turned queer if gay marriage, domestic partnerships, or any right is afforded to the LGT’s – Return Fire with “Damn right your kids are going to be exposed to gay issues. Why? Because even if you stripped the right to respiration from gays – your str-hate kids will still harass kids of gay parents… simply because gay parents exist, regardless if they can marry (or whatever). The gays will *never* go away. So why not just grant the rights and get this the fuck over with?”

      About “broadening our movement” … it’s been broad for 40 fucking years. Simply keep fighting for full equality under the law, and no compromises. There is no such thing as a compromise on Civil Rights. As Ben Franklin said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We should make the sacrifices today, not settling for “temporary safety”, so that those who come after us will know what true freedom is. That may take 50 to 100 years, as other Civil Rights movements have taken that long.

      …and finally… kindly remind those that only real men know how to take a dick up the ass. It takes MANLY skill. That alone is reason enough to end DADT.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • juoking81
      juoking81

      I found a HOTTEST interracial club===M i x e d C o n n e c t *.* C_O_M===for black Women and white Men, or black Men and white Women, to interact with each other. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

      Dec 7, 2009 at 4:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      ENDA is a small step forward. At its best and most inclusive ENDA totally lacks the kind of kick ass jail time and confiscatory fines needed to convince religious and business leaders that discrimination is bad for their bottom line and their health.

      • It needs to be accompanied by a ban on hiring bigots by governments, the cults and business.

      • It lacks the kind of legal and administrative remedies that would make it easy to file grievances and lawsuits with a high likelihood of winning.

      • And finally it ignores discrimination in housing, access to public services and accommodation and most critically, access to medical services.

      In other words it’s so lame that even Democrats and Republicans, who make a habit of catering to bigots, can pass it and a bigot like Obama can sign it. Even that is far from assured.

      We’ll have to watch the debate and the amendment process to see if those infamously spineless Democrats accept all the Republicans gutting amendments like they did last time. We know Barney Frank will betray us out of habit if nothing else. What we don’t know is how many Reuben Diaz’s are lurking in the Democrat Congressional caucus.

      If it doesn’t pass soon and we get close to another election the Democrats will probably just try to quietly table it as they’ve done for decades.

      Here’s why. It’s clear that anti-incumbency is going to hurt Congressional Democrats more than usual for an off year election. And it’s clear that the Obama years won’t be compared to his immediate predecessors Clinton and Bush, in spite of their similarities, but to Hoover and Nixon.

      The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll says that 48% approve what and 50% disapprove. The 48% approval is a 7 point drop from November and down a whopping 20 points from February-March.

      “The poll indicates that the biggest drop in approval comes from non college educated white voters. That’s one indication among many that Obama’s growing unpopularity may be more related to unemployment and the poor economy.”

      Just last Friday one time DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe said:

      “I have been in this business of politics for 30 years now, I have never seen such angst that you see across the country. People are angry and they’re going to take it out on incumbents… People are angry, and rightfully so, that we bailed out Wall Street and they’re getting huge bonuses.”

      What’s urgently needed is the creation of a national activist group independent of the Democrats and their front groups like HRC and SLDN. It’ll need internal democracy with binding votes on strategy and tactic with a firm refusal to pay anything but stipends to full time staff.

      That kind of organization can aim it’s fire at our real enemies: the cults who promote hate, the businesses who make money off discrimination and the politicians who pander to both. Then we can launch a 50 state /federal battle win full equality.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 9:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Guest
      Guest

      Most successful lobbyist groups also LIE to their members and constituents. It’s easier and more effective to get people passionate about them when they use baseless language and fear-mongering.

      Gay, Inc. can’t use the same strategy.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      Bill Perdue suggests a “new organization” and its mission:

      That kind of organization can aim it’s fire at our real enemies: the cults who promote hate, the businesses who make money off discrimination and the politicians who pander to both. Then we can launch a 50 state /federal battle win full equality.”

      So, after we attack everyone: religion, business and political parties, who’s left? Who will grant our “full equality” in this “50 state federal battle” you suggest? Who haven’t you pissed off in the process?

      I appreciate your political analysis and how we’ve been damaged by religion, deceived by politics and mislead by Gay Inc. (and others). But, the “angry” approach is tried-and-untrue. It hasn’t worked, in fact it only fuels the flame of disagreement. Sooner or later we have to put out the fire. We have to take a stand for equality. We have to enroll supporters by asking for help.

      I would rather ask for help. People will help. Well, unless you’re still yelling at them.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      HellIsWaiting said:

      “That may take 50 to 100 years, as other Civil Rights movements have taken that long.”

      You ignore the fact that we live in a new world. This isn’t your Grandfather’s America. Everything has changed – except us.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 36 · AndrewW said…..
      @ 35 SpinDoc:

      Enough “spin.” Please.

      You cannot “lobby” politicians regarding LGBT issues. You just can’t. If we could lobby-away-their-beliefs, wouldn’t we have done that during the last 40 years?

      The truth is we cannot pass anything LGBT-related in the 111th Congress because of our US Senators. 45 US Senators are anti-LGBT regarding “discrimination,” (ENDA) and 55 US Senators are anti-LGBT regarding “equality” (DOMA, DADT). That is the reality.

      We have wasted $2 billion in 40 years “lobbying” with the false promise of “changing votes.” We should have spent that money on “changing minds.” THAT would have made a difference.

      Our equality will not come as a result of sum elusive “political solution,” it will be the result of changing the “cultural conversation.” Naghanenu is correct – you have to change the “people,” change their minds. As a community we have never tried that. We keep putting all our eggs in the Democrat’s basket. It has never worked and it’s not working now.

      We will be equal when people believe we are.
      ___________________________________________

      Oh Please, Politicians vote for issues and change their minds ALL THE TIME! THIS is the only issue they seem to be getting a pass on with the bullshit religious excuse. Again, until I see those same politicians voting to make divorce illegal and adultery a crime I don’t want to hear about a religious excuse. Right now, politicians like Barney Frank’s job is to keep us quiet because they’ve determined that they don’t have a chance of losing the gay vote if they DON’T help us. Frank has backed up this line of thought. If the Dems thought that they may lose an election or their money got cut trust me, they would vote for us in a second.

      As for equality coming when minds change. In the year 2000 40% of the state of Alabama still wanted interacial marriage to be illegal. Minds haven’t changed that much even after all this time. Time to stop excusing Congress by attempting to say it’s our fault. Thats like saying that the rape victim deserved it because her skirt was too short.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      In Post Number No. 49 AndrewW plays dumb and asks “So, after we attack everyone: religion, business and political parties, who’s left? Who will grant our “full equality” in this “50 state federal battle” you suggest?”

      Hint number one: Concord and Lexington, April 18th, 1775. HRH George the Third gets his royal ass kicked. The first American Revolution.

      Hint number two: The Confederacy, aka, a sewer full of christian slave owning thugs get their faces shoved into the dirt by the blue clad army of farmers, workers and freedmen: April 9, 1865 The second American Revolution.

      Our next turn at bat doesn’t have to be in April. Any month will do as long as begin the fight for fundamental change. Then we can deal with the “religion, business and political parties” who terrify people like AndrewW so much.

      We and our allies in unions, the antiwar movement, feminists and in minority communities will change the rules, form our own government and create our equality. Nobody’s going to grant it – we have to take it.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ Cam:

      Please avail yourself of the polling data and research. Most of us don’t live in Alabama – thank God.

      But, the research is clear: In the past 40 years the “acceptance” of homosexuality has tripled. Alabama is a very “religious” State, so the progress has been much slower.

      The “minds” of voters have changed a lot more than the “votes” of our Congress – in fact at a 3:1 rate. Congress is old, religious and mostly white – America is not. Wake up.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      You can have your war, General Bill Perdue.

      I think our community (and the World) is a lot smarter than that. The only thing I fear are people “stuck in the past,” with outdated ideas, useless weapons and the ability to type.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      No. 54 · AndrewW – Stop sputtering. It’s revealing but unbecoming.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Gay Union. Streamlined and consolidated, Zap!

      Dec 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Auntie Vladie Lenin
      Auntie Vladie Lenin

      Oh please, Bill Perdue is at it again, declaring war on everything.

      Hey Mary Marxist, you and what army? There aren’t exactly THAT many unemployed lgbt hipsters wearing Che t-shirts ready to storm the Winter Palace.

      Love how Mary Marxist wants to declare war on corporations (and the entire capitalist system, elsewhere on this and other blogs). Gee, last time I looked around, the private sector was treating us better than our elected officials.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stan
      Stan

      Auntie Vladie, I’d gay marry you if it were allowed.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      @AndrewW: If you can find any evidence to support your claim that LGBT organizations working on political equality were raising $50 million a year between 1969 and 1979 I’ll eat my hat. It’s a dubious claim for the 1980’s as well.

      With all the corporate money suddenly coming in to the coffers of Gay, Inc. over the last decade, it’s hard to remember that HRC’s budget when Elizabeth Birch took over in 1995 was just $6 million a year. I don’t think they’re doing a very good job either, but backing up your argument with wildly inflated, patently incorrect “statistics” isn’t going to help.

      We’ve been outspent for years (and still are – Focus on the Family, just ONE anti-gay group, has an annual budget of $140 million), which doesn’t mean that these groups couldn’t be doing things differently and getting better results. I’m just saying that getting marriage in five states, anti-discrimination laws in over 20 states, overturning sodomy laws and being on the cusp of passing ENDA isn’t the most HORRIBLE result in the world, given what LGBT groups as a whole are up against.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      No. 58 • Auntie Vladie Lenin

      Wow, I was wondering what rock this creature of many aliases was hiding under.

      And when he’d pop up to extol the virtues of capitalism, child labor, union busting, degradation of the environment, economic failure, wars for oil and all the other ‘gifts’ of capitalism.

      Auntie Vladie is on the same team as the Clintons who were trained at Wal-Mart. Is Wal-Mart, the largest corporation in the world where Hillary Clinton spent five years on the board of directors a prime example of what Numb-nuts means when he says that “the private sector was treating us better than our elected officials”? No doubt. Wal-Mart, Numb-nuts, the Clintons and capitalism are all despicable.

      But at least the Clintons and Wal-Mart use their own names. Numb-nuts, aka Auntie Vladie Lenin is too cowardly to identify himself. Is it any wonder.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 54 · AndrewW said….
      @ Cam:

      Please avail yourself of the polling data and research. Most of us don’t live in Alabama – thank God.

      But, the research is clear: In the past 40 years the “acceptance” of homosexuality has tripled. Alabama is a very “religious” State, so the progress has been much slower.
      _________________________

      That incident was on people in Alabama’s acceptance of INTERACCIAL marriage…not gay marriage. The point was that, even now they are still opposed to it. Why should we sit around begging people to love us when no other group waited for acceptance? The civil rights of a group have never been up for vote by the majority, they’ve come from the Supreme court or from the legislature.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      @JM: Hmmm… I’m not sure what your temper tantrum had to do with what I said. You bitch about egos and how you think non-profit staff are overpaid, but what I said was insulting was the suggestion that those who work for LGBT orgs “are sabotaging their own efforts in order keep their jobs.”

      You say you were making $120K/year at a “non-profit.” If that’s what you were making, you were in the same general neighborhood as the EDs of GLAD, SLDN, PFLAG and Equality California. That would have to make you pretty senior if you worked for an LGBT org. (Unless you worked for a non-LGBT org and are comparing apples to oranges…)

      Were YOU going to work everyday thinking “hmmmm…I wonder how I can sabotage LGBT equality today so I can keep taking home this fat paycheck?” (Substitute your org’s mission, if you were doing something else.) Because most of the people I worked with when I was in non-profit (including a stint at one of the orgs on this list) put in long hours doing hard work trying to win our rights (or accomplish whatever the mission was).

      Finally, I don’t know what bozos you worked with, but a lot of us move on to better paying for-profit jobs once we get too old to live on chump change. So thanks for bashing people who give years of their lives working hard for very little money trying to make the world a better place, but I ain’t buying the bullshit you’re selling.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ 60 Sam:

      HRC is only a part of Gay, Inc. The average is $50 million a year combined. During the Aids crisis some funds went to treatment and education programs, but we have averaged $50 million year. During the last 10 years it has exceeded $100 million a year (and more during election years). (In 2008 Gay Inc. received over $200 million).

      So, the truth is we have spent “billions” seeking a solution. My complain is that almost ALL of it has been for a “political solution.” There isn’t one. That money was mostly wasted.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      @AndrewW: Again, WHERE are you getting that number? There’s no way that the POLITICAL LGBT organizations have been getting anywhere near $50 million a year until recently. Who would even have gotten that money in the 70’s?

      You can’t count money spent on AIDS drugs and prevention as evidence that LGBT political lobbying, organizing and lawsuits don’t work. Likewise money spent on things like community centers, health clinics, etc. Paying for a place to hold gay AA meetings doesn’t help us get our rights.

      You originally said “if our equality was being held hostage for $1 billion, we would figure out how to pay the ransom.” Then you claim we’ve spent “$2 billion” on trying to get equality and “have little to show for it.” We’ve spent NOWHERE near that amount on gaining LGBT equality, and inflating that number by including money that was (wisely) spent on AIDS and other non-equality efforts is disingenuous at best.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Hey Bill! I’m with you! I get you! We’ll rebuild the Berlin wall! Out of sequins! Built on the corpses of our corporate overlords (I’m looking at you, Mickey Mouse!!!)!

      It will be fabulous!!

      Dec 7, 2009 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      Keep adding Sam.

      HRC has had +$35 million a year, for several years. Since HRC’s founding they have received $347 million. Add the millions the NGLTF, Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans across the US. Special fundraising efforts for Congress and last years Hillary and Obama campaigns. State Legislatures. Prop 8 efforts, along with Maine and Washington State. Local races. And on and on and on.

      My suggestion that our community has spent $2 billion in 40 years trying to buy a “political solution” is actually low. We have spent more than $1 billion in just the last 8 years. So, the number is likely much more than $2 billion.

      But, the point remains political solutions are a waste of money. Ask everyone that got excited and contributed to Bill Clinton. 1992 feels a lot like 2009 for the LGBT Community, doesnt it?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Attmay
      Attmay

      @59 Auntie Vladie Lenin:

      You GO girl!

      Seriously, where is the only place where they discriminate against us and get away with it? The federal government. Meanwhile so-called “Big Business” bends over backwards to get our cash. The Southern Baptist boycott of Disney had no effect on Mickey and Co.’s pro-gay policies. And Pepsi didn’t exactly cave into the American Fascist Association.

      And did you ever notice how communist countries’ environmental records are piss-poor compared to those of non-communist countries? Look at Beijing at its best and compare it to Los Angeles at its worst. Remember where Chernobyl occurred.

      Or was 100 million corpses in the name of The Revolution™ not enough for Bile Killajew (who I’m starting to think is an anti-gay plant or mole of some kind)?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Auntie Vladie Lenin, Frank, Stan – usually people with multiple personality disorder are given a combination of psychotherapy and meds to help control their symptoms.

      But when the disorder is multiple trolling (by the same troll) using different Noms de guerre we treat it, especially in this case, with a hearty dose of dismissive laughter and pity at the ineptness of our favorite troll.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank [Different person #1 using similar name]

      And of course we should all be taking our mental health advice from bat-shit “man-the-barricades” Bill.

      I imagine that his psychiatric advice will help us just as much as his “kill anyone who stands in our way” LGBT equality advice.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 10:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellIsWaiting
      HellIsWaiting

      Bill Perdue for President of the United States. Finally, someone who advocates engaging our enemies; and destroying them. Godspeed Bill Perdue.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 11:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      @ Cam:

      You said: “Why should we sit around begging people to love us when no other group waited for acceptance?”

      Who said anything about sitting around or begging?

      Incidentally, you just gave evidence that “civil rights laws” and Court rulings did not change opinions in Alabama. Laws don’t change minds – they never have. Understanding changes minds. Of course, if you’re just going to “sit around” nothing will change.

      Politics hasn’t worked and we’ve spent billions. The Courts may help, we’ll see. But, that’s all we’ve ever tried. We can’t buy our equality – we must create it.

      The people in our community promoting a “political solution” are part of the political process. They are preserving their jobs/income – at our expense.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Sorry Auntie Vladie Lenin, Frank, Stan – I only advocate self defense and measures to suppress hate speech and the violence it produces.

      I despise capitalism as much as the man who said “These Capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people.” Since you’re uncommonly ignorant, in all your guises, I’ll provide you a hint.
      http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/capitalists.html

      But just this once. No more hints. I make it a practice to refrain from educating pigs. It’s a waste of time and as we’ve seen, it annoys the pig.

      Dec 8, 2009 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WakeUpLGBT
      WakeUpLGBT

      LGBT Resources to HRC:

      2000 $21.04 million
      2001 $21.36 million
      2002 $28.98 million
      2003 $29.62 million
      2004 $34.17 million
      2005 $35.87 million
      2006 $39.03 million
      2007 $42.00 million
      2008 $43.95 million
      2009 $45.79 million
      ====================
      10Y $341.81 million

      In the previous 18 years HRC received another $172 million.

      In 28 years HRC has received $513 million. Half a billion dollars.

      What, besides those “cruising stickers” do we have to show for it? What exactly has HRC accomplished?

      Dec 9, 2009 at 11:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • McShane
      McShane

      Ditto Mark Segal: Gays have done too much to blur the issues by demanding too much at once, and as a consequence getting nothing. I can say this as someone who has lost good jobs on more than one occasion because I’m not taken as being gay up front but am honest about that.
      To have the right to live and work is simply Bill of Rights guarantee. Many people seem to be content to cost everyone their ability to live if they get to be married, which is shameful.

      Dec 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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