HRC Pleads With Obama Not To Make Joe Solmonese Look Like a Liar

At 927 words, this open letter from HRC chief Joe Solmonese earned him $327.90 per word — and is the Gay Inc. head’s last ditch effort to 1) show donors that HRC really can “pressure” Democrats and the White House; and 2) nudge the president not to turn Solmonese’s February promise to HRC’s “members” that “this year we are going to bring down the discriminatory policy known as DADT.”

Dear Mr. President:

Years from now, students of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) will no doubt see this fall as a pivotal period in the history of our struggle for fundamental fairness. In January, we were all inspired by your State of the Union pledge to end our nation’s discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians. Equally inspiring was the testimony in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We have come so far, but the only true measure of success is whether the thousands of brave gay and lesbian Americans who are serving their country, and the many more who want to serve their country, can do so openly and honestly. We have not yet met that goal, and without your leadership and unparalleled efforts, this historic opportunity to remove a stain of discrimination from our nation will pass all of us by.

Last week, lawyers for your administration asked for an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to end a worldwide injunction of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while they work to overturn a federal judge’s conclusion that this law – one that you have called discriminatory and contrary to our national security on many occasions – offends the protections of our Constitution. I continue to struggle with how your administration can defend a law you oppose, and how it could be even remotely constitutional for a statute to single out one group of brave Americans, because of who they are and who they love, and order them serve in silence and deception. How can our government have a duty to defend a statute that is clearly so contrary to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all?

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to stay Judge Phillips’s decision further frustrates repeal advocates and puts a bright spotlight on you to reconcile this endless legal wrangling with your public promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” While we continue to call on your Administration not to appeal, if the Justice Department does insist on defending this discriminatory law, I strongly urge you to instruct government lawyers to inform the appellate court that the Executive Branch believes that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. I agree with the esteemed lawyer and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Walter Dellinger, that such a move would send the Ninth Circuit a critically important message.

Furthermore, the litigation strategy challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is made all the more critical by the challenges a legislative repeal has faced in Congress. While the House approved repeal by a wide margin, the Senate’s first and second attempts to move forward on the critical Defense Authorization bill were stymied by Republican obstructionists looking to score political points before the midterm elections. There is still an opportunity for the Senate to send the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to your desk in the lame duck session, but it will not happen if you do not put the full weight of the Office of the President of the United States behind it. Republican opponents would rather see the Defense Authorization and everything in it – military pay raises, critical armor and equipment for our troops, health coverage for their families on the home front – fail than let gays and lesbians serve their country openly. This is an outrageous insult to our troops, to their Commander-in-Chief, and to the Defense Department charged with their operations and their care. You and Secretary Gates must be full partners in making clear to Senators that it is doubly unacceptable to hold hostage the needs of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in a desperate attempt to preserve a law that flies in the face of the American ideals they sacrifice to protect every day.

It is because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is contrary to our core values as a nation that it must end. And we must have a durable solution – legislative repeal or a solid judicial decision. But if those fail, you must not allow another day to go by in which a brave gay or lesbian service member is discharged based simply on sexual orientation. HRC has urged your administration, privately and publicly, for more than a year to use every tool at your disposal as Chief Executive to at least significantly reduce discharges, if not end them entirely. More can be done in this regard.

You can and should issue a stop-loss order suspending enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This discriminatory law has already deprived our military thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism. You have acknowledged that it harms our national security. If we fail to achieve legislative repeal this year, and if you will not abandon the defense of this discriminatory law in court, then it is imperative that you use your clear authority as President to end the discharges. Anything less is unacceptable.

We have fought long and hard to get this close to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We pledge to continue that fight, every step of the way, until this unjust law is gone for good. Future generations will look back at this moment – we must not let it become a setback in the long march toward full equality, but instead make it the turning point it is poised to become.


Joe Solmonese

Joe Solmonese Manages To Muster ‘Disappointment’ Over Obama’s DADT Appeal

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  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    If it were not for the money (and notoriety) this financial-vampire and his organization has sucked out of the G/L community, he should be publicly shunned and ignored as the parasite he is…

  • Mark

    Once again HRC focusses on the wrong priority. We should have been pressing for ENDA 110% for the past 3 years. It would help SO many more families and individuals. Instead we wasted money on losing marriage battles and DADT fights. And where is the push to help end the epidemic of homelessness and suicide among our youth? Recruiting them to fight in war is not going to solve those problems.

  • the crustybastard

    Solmonese is worse than goddam useless. He’s fucking counterproductive.

    I’ve said it before elsewhere, and I’ll say it again here: Obama is insisting on a “legislative repeal” to permit Congress to (a) screw all the gay servicemember’s families out of deriving any past or future military benefits, and (b) screw all the servicemembers injured by the gay ban out of any legal remedy.

    I’m not being paranoid, and I’m not inventing this. It’s all explicitly included in that shitty “repeal” law. Read it yourself:

    Section (d) BENEFITS.
    Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to require the furnishing of benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of ‘‘marriage’’ and ‘‘spouse’’ and referred to as the ‘‘Defense of Marriage Act’’).

    Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to create a private cause of action.

    Solmonese, Obama and the Democratic Party want you dumb homos to be so excited about their fine work you’ll just ignore the fact they’re screwing you again.

    Fuck’em. Fuck’em right in the ear.

  • Jeffree

    Solmonese’s letter missed making a CRUCIAL point: At a time when the military is engaged in war on 2.5 fronts (Iraq, Afghanistan, & some operations into Pakistan) and when personnel are stretched thin, it’s NOT in the interest of US military *readiness* to boot out otherwise well-trained & competent troops.

    Nor is it in our national interest to bar otherwise qualified men & women from enlisting to serve (LGBs).
    — — —
    Solmonese needs to think more like a US President than the head of a non-profit org !

  • Miguel Peralta

    @the crustybastard:

    What are you going on about? Repeal of DADT means just that: repeal of DADT. Not the enactment of some kind of military civil unions law or a housing discrimination law. Those are separate issues that may or may not be addressed by the military. That is true whether DADT is killed by Congress or by the courts.

  • Miguel Peralta

    @Mark: Losing marriage battles? HRC didn’t forget ENDA, it just pursued it with its usual incompetence and its betrayal of gay rights to other goals. HRC dropped DADT repeal as a priority in order to focus on ENDA in 2009 and 2010. But it failed at ENDA too b/c it foolishly insisted on including all manner of non-gay categories, from cross-dressers and drag performers to straight men who wear earrings to transsexuals.

    Including these non-sexual orientation categories imposes potentially huge liability on employers at a time when jobs are scarce. Our allies in Congress quite correctly told us that this wasn’t going to pass. HRC as usual was clueless and stupid and took an all or nothing position. It got nothing and so did we.

    Gay people all across America are the victims of HRC’s incompetence and neurotic obsession with upholding the fiction of “LGBT”.

  • the crustybastard

    @Miguel Peralta:

    Sorry you don’t comprehend the issues involved. I’ll try to be more clear.

    Equity in provision of benefits are a matter of equal pay for equal work. If every gay employee is required to self-finance expenses that any straight employee is provided for free as an employment benefit, the employer is paying straight employees more, and gay employees less.

    If the ban is unconstitutional, the law creating the ban is void and regarded as if it was never a valid law (because it couldn’t ever be). However, if the ban is “repealed” by law then the law creating the ban was indeed valid, and any repealing act can do whatever Congress wants it to do. Like continue to screw gays.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

  • AndrewW

    HRC is only in the game for the Democratic Party and their generous salaries. I can’t figure out why we support them – they haven’t accomplished anything.

    WHEN do we grow up

    HRC is not good for the LGBT Community. Stop enabling them.

  • Jeffree

    A small local non-profit I volunteer for (non-LGBT related) sets out annual and quarterly goals: they’re all quantifiable:
    e.g.: # clients served, # client contact hours, % clients reaching target goals, client satisfaction (scaled 1-5), etc.

    Donôrs get reports every 6 months.
    For less quantifiable goals, there are still benchmarks & deadlines….

    The director knows that if the goals aren’t consistently met, she will be asked to step down. (Her predecessor was shown the door, but so far so good in her 2:5 yr. tenure)

    Granted this is a “small shop” with limited resources and a narrow focus, but there *is* accountability built in. Too bad more organizations don’t seem to follow such a transparent model.

  • Cam


    Once again HRC focusses on the wrong priority. We should have been pressing for ENDA 110% for the past 3 years. It would help SO many more families and individuals.

    Hi Mark,

    Technically I agree with you, and also I think that the main problem is that HRC has been TRYING to focus on ENDA, they just haven’t been sucessful at it.

    The reason a lot of people want DADT and DOMA wiped out is that those are both Federal laws that ok discrimination against gays. IF those go away, companies in court can’t try to defend discrimination by saying “The federal govt. has said that gays are a suspect class so why should we accept them?”

    But I think it shows how bad Solomnase’s jugement is. He told us to be quiet and not speak out, that after 8 years we would be happy with everything OBama has done….funny how he suddenly is trying to push the White House now..why?

    HRC didn’t really want the Federal laws to dissappear because if they do then HRC’s reason for being dissappears.
    He has realized that gays are seeing how much HRC has taken in in dollars and are comparing it to their dismal results.
    A few calls for his resignation has panicked him.

    Notice that all three reasons are selfish ones. I just don’t think that the higher ups in HRC care about our rights.

  • Kat

    “HRC Pleads With Obama Not To Make Joe Solmonese Look Like a Liar”

    Uhhh….that ship sailed about three years ago – an a ship called ENDA 3685.

  • Zoe Brain

    @Miguel – last time I heard something like
    “But it failed at ENDA too b/c it foolishly insisted on including all manner of non-gay categories, from cross-dressers and drag performers to straight men who wear earrings to transsexuals.”

    It was FotF I think claiming that ENDA would protect “bestialists, pedophiles, necrophiliacs, homosexuals and other sexual orientations”.

    The fact is, Barney, like you, doesn’t like Trans people, and while he’s in charge, they’re getting bupkiss. And while you engage in obvious inequality to others, why the heck should straights care about inequality to you? You had the moral high ground – now you’ve pissed it away because you’re just as Transphobic as AFTAH.

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