HRC Can’t Get ENDA Passed, But It Can Get a Disagreeing Journalist Fired

You’d expect a journalist to know never to send emails that he doesn’t want to come back to haunt him. But Maine Morning Sentinel reporter Larry Grard must live in the old school, where carbon copies of things can be destroyed with a pocket lighter, because he fired off an email to the Human Rights Campaign’s media relations office — upset with a a release from the org saying Question 1 passed because of anti-gay hatred. Grard told HRC that, as a Christian, he took offense to it. And then HRC contacted Grard’s editor and voiced their concerns, but supposedly never demanded Grard be fired — but the Sentinel did so anyway. Now that is effecting change.

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  • Cam

    “Grard told HRC that, as a Christian, he took offense to it..”

    Really? Well “As A Christian” has Grard petitioned to get Adultry made illegal? To Outlaw Divorce? To outlaw the sewing of shirts with mixed fibers? If he hasn’t then he doesn’t get to use his religion as a fake cover for his bigotry. These people that cherry pick only the portions of the Bible that support there hatred are getting really old.

  • Eric

    HRC doesn’t pass legislation, they are not Congress. HRC has been pushing for weeks for the HELP Cmte to vote on the markup language. The Committee has refused to bring it up for a vote again this year. What exactly is HRC supposed to do at that point? Threaten at gun point? This is not an HRC problem, it is a Congressional problem. Or perhaps you are unaware how actual legislation is passed in this country?

  • wondermann

    HRC can’t magically pass laws. Roll the dice and try again, Queerty.

  • AndrewW

    Well, what has HRC accomplished? Make a list. Here’s mine:

    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?

  • Mark

    Well, we cant get a refund – but we can STOP giving them money. HRC is useless.

  • Eric

    Abbreviated accomplishments by HRC:

    -Most of the fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner benefits and providing anti-discrimination policies for their employees
    -Hate Crimes
    -A solid slate of federal legislators that support our issues
    -A whole host of educational materials about coming out, religion and faith, adoption, family planning, etc.
    -Increased awareness in the media, around the country, and on the Hill of LGBT people and LGBT related issues.

    That is just a small list. True there are not a lot of big ticket legislation, but you are aware over the past 28 years we have served under ~20 years of Republican administrations – another 8 years of a less than friendly Democratic administration, ~15 years of Republican controlled Congress and courts, and up until about 10 years ago a complete lack of understanding that LGBT even exist let alone deserve any sort of equal rights. Stuff moves somewhat faster than geologic time in Congress and it has taken a lot of years and a lot of groundwork to even get us to a point where we can discuss ENDA or DOMA, let alone marriage. I am rather young, I came out 14 years and I couldn’t even imagine marriage equality would be reality as little as 5 or 6 years ago. And I firmly believe that HRC played a huge roll in getting us this far.

  • AndrewW

    @ Eric:

    Do you think your short list of accomplishments is worth $513 million? The LGBT Community has never passed a single piece of legislation – Hate Crimes DID NOT pass, it held the Defense Budget hostage.

    HRC has spent most of our money on lobbying for a “political solution.” There isn’t one. It has been largely a waste of money.

  • wondermann

    Eric, the short list is better than nothing. I agree with you.
    Andrew W what do you suggest we should do?

  • TommyOC

    I don’t know what Grard was meaning by “taking offense” as a Christian to the statement that anti-gay hatred got the result experienced in Maine (we all can say with confidence that it was), but I can give the man the benefit of doubt. As a gay man raised in a Christian household, I uphold Biblical teachings by not judging.

    There are plenty of Christian people out there for whom I believe this isn’t an issue of hate, but one of moral belief. What makes these people wrong isn’t their belief about homosexuals, but their ignorance that their beliefs somehow trumps the equal rights given to this country’s citizens. Worse than his belief is his practice of un-American ideals. And it’s under that premise that I give Grard the benefit of doubt for claiming offense as a Christian to the idea that hate drove his vote.

    He still gets no forgiveness, however, for being amongst the worst Americans to occupy this great land.

    As for his termination, journalists are entitled to their opinions. In fact, they’re encouraged to express them in the very papers they right for! In the olden days, that’s what we used to call an “Editorial.” Although a journalist is still a citizen, our nation prides itself on the concept of a free, open, and impartial press. Mr. Grard’s greatest sin was not doing enough to erase the doubt that his objections would not impact his duties as a journalist. To what lengths he did that in his letter and to what further lengths he could’ve done it better, I am not one to say. But if Mr. Grard’s words were properly parsed, there is no reason he should be waiting in an unemployment line over this affair.

  • AndrewW

    @ Wonderman:

    I suggest we begin telling the truth about our dysfunctional movement and look for new ideas/strategies. While he have wasted so much time and money chasing a “political solution,” we have done nothing to change the cultural conversation.

    Sooner or later we have to shift our focus to “equality,” instead of equal rights. We can only achieve equality by enrolling our fellow citizens in our equality. We will be equal when people believe we are. This doesn’t mean “confrontation,” the crazy religious right fanatics are only one-third of those that consider themselves “religious.” So, two out of three isn’t bad. If we do this, two-thirds of Americans will stand with us. We would then own the politicians. Lobbying wont accomplish that – only we can.

    We need to figure out how to inspire a real, sustainable movement. More money for HRC doesn’t help in that regard.

  • Cam

    Ugh, Can you imagine the results we would have gotten if we would have paid one of the well connected K st. lobbying firms HALF of what we’ve given to HRC over the years? If organizations like the Mining consortiums, U.S. Steel, and the cable companies all hire these gigantic, inside the beltway behemouths to get their way with Congress why should we waste time on an organization like HRC where a bunch of people with no other qualifications outside being gay sit around and hope to get a well known govt. official and a well known celeb to their next black tie gala? One Lobbyist had a meeting with Senator McCain to get him to do an about face and write a very unethical letter to the FCC pushing them to get off Big Telecom’s back. Just imagine what that Lobbyist could do with 10 years and half a billion dollars!

  • AndrewW

    @ TommyOC:

    The “Christian” problem is about beliefs. Right now in America Christian denominations are dividing over the gay issue and are forming two very different groups: Conservative (literal interpretation of the Bible) and Progressive (liberal/spiritual interpretation of the Bible). These die-hard Conservatives believe “God tells them that homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant.” Because they believe it as God’s word – it is not negotiable. We can’t trump that ingrained belief.

    The good news is that the conservative bunch are only about one-third of self-defined “religious” people. The other two-thirds are willing to put “equality” before religion.

    I believe it is best to simply ignore the one-third. If you can’t quite ignore them, please don’t empower them by promoting them. It’s better to emulate Rachel Maddow by “exposing and then laughing.” This will effectively marginalize them.

  • AndrewW

    @ #11 Cam:

    If you believe in lobbying (despite HRC’s $500 million failure), please tell me exactly what we have to offer in the negotiations? You cannot compare us to industries or other associations – we have a much different problem: people religiously believe we are wrong.

    Our US Senate is twice as religious and twice as old (not a coincidence) as the average American. Anti-LGBT US Senators are either very religious or their constituents are very religious. What good does lobbying do? What can you use to convince them? What can you trade? Plus, they are not going to commit political suicide by NOT voting their constituents beliefs – and they study the polls. Polls are much more important than lobbyists.

    The only way we can change our odds in the Congress (primarily the Senate) is to either 1) Change the Politician, or 2) Change the minds of their constituents. Lobbying doesn’t accomplish either one of those things.

  • TommyOC


    You miss the fine reasoning of my argument. There are plenty of “Christian” people out there – that conservative portion you think makes up 1/3 of all self-identified Christians (though I would argue this point) – who don’t *hate* homosexuals in the very definition of the word. I know it’s a very tough you and many others to grasp, but it IS true.

    And once you can grasp that point, you’ll grasp my other point that the real issue you need to take with them is why they feel their beliefs should trump our equality, particularly when every fiber of the American ideology supports equality hands-down (even if it took us ~200 years to get there).

    And if you can understand the above paragraphs, you’ll see that my response wasn’t a defense of the man, but only an admission that his grievance is valid.

  • AndrewW

    @ TommyOC:

    It isn’t about “hate,” it is about whether or not those who define themselves as “religious” believe the Bible is the “literal word of God.” That is the difference. Because when they have that literal interpretation, they believe God “told them so.”

    There are many conservative Christians that believe we are “wrong, sinful and deviant,” but they don’t hate us. That belief is the problem. The issue is how “serious” (or literal) they believe the Bible. Hate is not the reason, it is simply our definition of them – for believing what they think is God’s word.

    It makes more sense to focus on the religious people who do not believe “God told them so.”

  • TommyOC


    If it’s not about “hate,” then you buy into my argument surrounding the journalist’s objections to HRC. And if that’s the case, then one has to wonder why the guy was fired.

    There are two classes of conservative anti-gay Christians that I think we need to clarify before we go into semantics. There are the Christians that believe homosexual activity is “wrong, sinful and deviant,” and then there are those who believe homosexuals themselves possess the same qualities. The former are people carrying their belief in their religion (not hate); the latter are people who interject their own personal brand of disdain (hate).

    Speaking toward the first subgroup of conservative Christians I mention above, while I strongly disagree with their beliefs, as an American I’m bound to let them express their thoughts. I believe that the subject of this article is one of these types. It’s this group our outreach and efforts should be directed toward.

    The second subgroup I mention is the hater, the ones for whom no effort in marginalizing their voices will ever be enough. Their propaganda, fear mongering, and verbal gay bashing that has to stop. The Maggie Gallaghers, Brian Browns, and Pat Robertsons of the world. It is this second group that I myself have a dislike bordering on hatred for. And it is these people who should have their liberties infringed upon, just to know what it’s like.

  • Chance

    We pay too much attention to that crowd as it is. Every time we yell and scream about the unchangeable haters, we just make them relevant.

    I’d say we should marginalize them. But definitely not attack them, or “infringe their liberties.” That will only give them the chance to play the martyr. They’ll love that, it’s their favorite role to play. We can beat them without using their tactics.

  • AndrewW

    @ TommyOC:

    The ones you claim add hate to their beliefs are only empowered by your attention – perhaps even promotion. They are a minority and you keep making them more important. When you do that you make them the face of “all” religious people. This cancels any attempt to enroll the remaining two-thirds of religious people who are ready to join us and even support us.

    I would suggest you look at religion – including individual denominations – as a family. You can’t attack one of them, without attacking all of them.

    The good news is religion is dividing in our favor. We should help that, not hurt it. Ignoring the crazy ones and/or simply laughing at them does marginalize them.

    I do not think that many Christians actually “hate” us – they just really, really, believe we are wrong and they need to stop us – for their God has told them so. That’s different than hate – that, is fear.

  • don east

    why cant a differing opinion be accepted? it would be a dull world if we all agreed on everything, that is why we have our beliefs.

  • AndrewW

    @ Don East:

    I think many of us make the distinction of whether or not we actually chose certain beliefs, especially religious ones. 97% of religious people “inherit” their denomination from their parents. There isn’t a “explore religion and then pick one,” we are typically what our parents are.

    If Jerry Falwell was born in Kuwait he would have been a Muslim.

    Opinions are a lot different than religious beliefs. Those beliefs are created at a very young age, in a very authoritative environment, and become somewhat intractable.

    The good news is that young people (during the last 30 years) have been exploring more. The number of “religious” people continues to decline – replaced by spiritual or non-religious. Plus, many denominations are now splitting to separate the conservative believers from the progressive believers.

    ALL good news.

    I don’t think the Reporter should have been fired for his beliefs. But, at the same time, I recognize that HRC actually accomplished something. It’s rare to see that.

  • Cam

    No. 13 · AndrewW
    @ #11 Cam:

    If you believe in lobbying (despite HRC’s $500 million failure), please tell me exactly what we have to offer in the negotiations? You cannot compare us to industries or other associations – we have a much different problem: people religiously believe we are wrong.

    Andrew, HRC has failed because they are a bunch of gays who come into DC without much connection to the gvot saying “Gee, I’ll work for HRC.” These other Lobbying organizations hire former Senators and Congressmen and women, or they hire the spouses of Former Senators or congressmen, their siblings, their friends, former staffers. People who automatically have entry into the majority of high powered offices. Congressment and Senators mostly aren’t “religiously” opposed to us and I’m sick of that bullshit excuse. Why aren’t these same Congressmen who are opposed to us for religious reasons fighting for a constitutional effort to overturn Roe v. Wade? Why aren’t they fighting to make Adultry a crime? To legalize the stoning of women? They aren’t doing that because the “totally religious” argument is B.S. These guys are interested in one thing and one thing only. Getting reelected. Right now they are convinced that their constituencies hate gays. But what big lobbying firms are paid to do is come in and make deals. I.E. vote this way and we will hold this many fundraisers for your campaign and will guarentee you this many millions of dollars. They will also spread money around the Congressman’s district to get gay friendly people to contact them to back up their pressure on the hill. That is what real lobbying firms do. HRC just holds black tie galas and goes to meet with Elected reps that are already on our side. We need to hire one of the big firms that has connections to the people that AREN’T voting for us…..
    Example, Bob Barr from GA. wrote and pushed through the “Defense of Marriage Act” NOW he wants to run for president as a liberatarian, the liberatarian party platform is PRO-gay marriage. Well so what happened to this religious man who was against us because of his faith? He changed his tune and now says he supports gay marriage. EVERYBODY on the hill is a whore, we just haven’t been paying them enough to come home with us.

  • AndrewW

    Sorry Cam.

    You can predict – with great accuracy – How a Congress Member will vote based on two things: 1) their denomination or 2) how religious their constituents are.

    It IS religion.

    Members of the 111th US Congress:

    Mormon (13) 100% Anti-LGBT
    Seventh Day Adventist (2) 100% Anti-LGBT
    Presbyterian (48) 75% Anti-LGBT
    Protestant (45) 75% Anti-LGBT
    Baptists(73) 74% Anti-LGBT
    Methodist (53) 74% Anti-LGBT
    Christian Scientist (3) 67% Anti-LGBT
    Lutheran (23) 61% Anti-LGBT
    United Church of Christ (5) 60% Anti-LGBT
    Episcopalian (40) 56% Anti-LGBT
    – – – – – – – –
    Eastern Orthodox (8) 50% Anti-LGBT
    Catholics (161) 43% Anti-LGBT
    Unitarian Universalist (3) 33% Anti-LGBT
    Jewish (44) 14% Anti-LGBT
    Unaffiliated (9) 0% Anti-LGBT
    Buddhist (2) 0% Anti-LGBT
    Quaker (1) 0% Anti-LGBT
    The entire Congress is 57% Anti-LGBT,
    but the Senate is 65% Anti-LGBT (the big problem).

    For those of you that believe Democrats are ALL on our side, the truth is 28% of Democrats are Anti-LGBT. 88 of the 317 Democrats in the 111th Congress.

    Most of the Democrats that are Anti-LGBT are from States where at least 60% of their constituencies make religion “important.”

    Most of the Democrats that are Pro-LGBT are from States where less than 60% of their constituencies make religion “important.”

    If either the politician makes religion important, or his/her constituents (+60%) make religion important, they will be Anti-LGBT.

    Sen. Kennedy was very Pro-LGBT. In the State of Massachusetts only 48% make religion important. He was one of many Catholic Pro-LGBT politicians from States in the New England and the Northeast that DO NOT make religion important.

    In places where religion is important – we’re screwed. It’s that simple.

  • Cam

    No. 22 · AndrewW said…
    Sorry Cam.

    You can predict – with great accuracy – How a Congress Member will vote based on two things: 1) their denomination or 2) how religious their constituents are.

    Really? And why then, do so many Catholic congressmen and Senators support Abortion? Because the women’s groups didn’t ALLOW it to be a completly religious issue at the time. The coopted the argument. If those SAME Catholic Congressmen vote against us but support abortion then their reticence to deal with us is NOT about their religion, it’s about their feeling that right now we are not as popular as the opposition. A real lobbying group puts a huge amount of money and financial pressure on elected reps. That is why you have people like Senator McCain supporting Drilling in the ANWAR section of Alaska one session of the senate and opposing it the next. He was pressured by a huge lobbying organization that started running ads in ARizona supporting a drilling ban, they raised money for him etc… and gee, magiclly mr. “Drill baby Drill” doesn’t support drilling in ANWAR. If you could predict any of their votes based soley on their religion then you wouldn’t have Lobbying firms in DC making billions of dollars, since none of them would ever change their minds. But they do, we just haven’t been working the system like everybody else.

  • AndrewW

    Cam asked: “And why then, do so many Catholic congressmen and Senators support Abortion?”

    WHEN have members of Congress ever had to take vote to support abortion?

    Representative Bart Stupak is a Roman Catholic and he is messing up the Health Care Bill with an Amendment against a woman’s right to choose. His from a State (Michigan) where 64% of his constituents make religion “important.”

    Some Catholics, primarily in the Northeast, disagree with their church on abortion BECAUSE their constituents also disagree with their church. Only 48% of Massachusetts residents make religion “important.”

    You cannot lobby away a politicians religious belief, or the majority beliefs of their constituency. You have only two options: 1) change the politician or 2) change the minds of their constituents.

    If we could simply “give money” to politicians to change their votes about LGBT issues, we would have done that a long time ago. As a community we have spent more than $2 billion on a “political solution,” and it hasn’t worked. It won’t work unless we change the minds of our fellow Americans, yet we haven’t spent any money or energy on that.

    If you think lobbying away the religious objection to homosexuality, please give me some examples. Former Rep Bob Barr changed his position after he left the Congress. As a Libertarian he has made it clear that it is a “States Issue.” He supports the repeal of DOMA and he has not endorsed SSM.

  • Cam

    Andrew, you seem to think that these politicians are locked into their religious beliefs here. I think where we disagree is, you think more highly of them than I do. You think that their beliefs are honest and valid, where I think they will profess whatever will get them elected, with all the adulterers, and people visiting prostitutes in Congress, this is where I’m getting my opinion on that. Lobbying groups not only pressure the elected rep, but put pressure on them in their home district. They hold fundraisers, run ads, build up buzz. Part of the problem with these Congresspeople is that it isn’t as if their constituencies are foaming at the mouth gay haters, it’s that many of them are somewhat uncomfortable with issues like gay marriage, but maybe aren’t crazed by it. Right now there is no reason for the Congressperson to change their vote because nobody is pushing them and putting pressure on them in their own district. THAT is what a real lobbying organization does. HRC will call their DC office, ask for a meeting, sometimes they will even get a meeting, then they will go in, and talk with one of the Congresspersons staffers and say “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we had gay rights?”…….a REAL lobbyist would go in there and first of all would get a meeting with the actual Congressperson because their Lobbying firm would have raised a ton of money for this person in the past and he owes them meetings as part of the pay back. They would walk in with a stack of papers and say “Hey, we’ve done push polling in your district and found out that yes, 57% of your constituents are not comfortable with gay marriage, however, only 35% of that group feels that it is an important issue, meanwhile we’ve been running pro-gay marriage ads and now that number is down to 52% and the pro-gay marriage group also has 79% of them that feel it is an important issue, They are much more tied to the issue and we are ready to do a huge get out the vote drive for the supporters. Additionally, we have commitments from several gay friendly groups for $350,000 in donations to your next reelection campaign. THAT is how a real lobbying organization puts on the pressure.

    That congressperson would possibly switch their vote. All they need is a real incentive which HRC at this point in time is completely incapable of offering. HRC is completely inside the beltway, but in spite of that has lousy connections on Capital Hill, they are a lobbying organization that is afraid to even name themselves for what they are. The Gay Rights Campaign.

  • AndrewW


    Lobbying will NOT persuade a politician to commit suicide. Polls are much more important to their survival than any lobbyists arguments.

    Our support in the US Senate is almost entirely in States where their less than 60% of their residents make religion “important.” We have NO support when more than 60% of the residents make religion “important.” These are their “voters.” Defying their wishes would only lead to their losing at the next election.

    Our emphasis should be on changing minds (and the resulting polling data) instead of beating our heads against an unmovable wall. There is simply no evidence whatsoever that any of the $2 billion we have spent on Gay Inc. lobbying has changed any votes. The constituents change the votes. We should be investing in changing the constituents minds. With $2 billion, we could have changed a lot of minds.

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