secrecy

Is the White House Scared of Retaliation Against Its Gay Pride Guests?

The Supreme Court refused to let cameras in the Prop 8 courtroom because of alleged fears of retaliation against supporters of the gay marriage ban. The justices are about to rule on whether the names that helped put Referendum 71 on the ballot in Washington State can be disclosed, as required by law, or whether fears of retaliation are enough to keep them anonymous in a democracy. And now it’s the White House abandoning its supposed mission of transparency to shield the guests at yesterday’s LGBT Pride reception, hosted by the president. How come?

Ever since the reception was announced, the White House has refused to release the names it invited. Which is a silly thing to do, since the RSVP list — which apparently didn’t include Rep. Barney Frank — will be a matter of a public record in a few months once the White House releases its visitor logs, and you can be sure Micheal Petrelis will be hunting through them.

We already know a couple of the names who were on it (Chely Wright, Constance McMillen) and who were not (Joe Solmonese). But why delay the rest? It’s a purposeful move to stave off any potential controversy and nitpicking over the list while the news cycle is still hot; when the names are made public later this summer or fall, fewer people will care who went, and even this website will have moved on. But certainly Obama’s camp, and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, aren’t keeping the names private because of safety concerns. Right?