For all our uproar about Barack Obama doing nothing about repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, could he actually be less guilty in all of this than we thought? A shocking report says it’s actually the Human Rights Campaign — already among the most critized members of Gay Inc. — who told him to wait on ending DADT. What?
Rather than push for ending the military’s policy on expelling gays, “leading” gay rights group HRC is said to have pushed for the White House to instead focus on hate crimes legislation and bills like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Jason Bellini reports that “multiple sources” revealed Sen. Chuck Shumer actually told other gay leaders that HRC recommended not prioritizing DADT, in favor of the other legislation.
HRC denies the charges.
However, if true, that means HRC director Joe Solmonese’s camp is at least partly responsible for the dismissals of folks like Dan Choi, since the organization isn’t advocating for gay soldiers’ immediate protection. Sure, HRC’s other agenda is worthwhile: hate crimes protection and ENDA deserve to be passed. But it comes with an enormous cost for equality. Is HRC insisting some gay people are more worthy of protection now, while others should wait?
Huh, that sounds familiar.
For HRC’s sake, we can only hope this report turns out to be false. Just its one-time recommendation that a non-trans-inclusive ENDA was worth passing (a position HRC later acknowledged it would never stand by again), HRC stands to lose even more credibility if it’s found out to be brokering our rights behind closed doors.
Still assuming this is true, none of this lets Obama off the hook. He doesn’t have to listen to HRC (nor believe it has 750,000 membersand speaks for all gays). The president could instead listen to his moral compass — and his own promises he made to voters — that equality for all Americans, even the gay ones, is something he would see to.
UPDATE: Is this the same Joe Solmonese who just today was quoted by Politico saying, “No one believes that [anti-gay federal policies] will be miraculously changed overnight” and added that HRC is “frustrated at the pace of progress”? Because that, friends, would just take this hypocrisy to another level.
UPDATE 2: Read our follow up post here, with statement from Solmonese and Sen. Shumer.