does not compute

SLDN Will Give Cash to DNC’s Fundraiser. 2 Days Later, It Will Protest Democrats?!


Are we missing something here? As the debate rages on as to whether to support, ignore, or boycott the Democratic National Committee’s GLBT fundraiser in Washington on Thursday, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says it plans to attend and give cash to the party. Two days later, SLDN will then lead a protest march “on the White House.” Huh? (UPDATE: Please read the note below.)

The SLDN — which represents folks like Dan Choi and, like Queerty, was one of the original critics of the White House while it stood still on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, while other organizations defended the president — will send board member and gay Iraq war veteran Brian Fricke to the fundraiser. Fricke says that if Obama doesn’t correct the Department of Justice’s notoriously vile Defense of Marriage Act briefing, then “there is no case” to defend the president, he tells the Washington Blade.

But: “That being said,” Fricke adds, “the DNC’s LGBT Leadership Council is an excellent platform for our community.” Yes, he’ll be there on June 25.

Interesting. Because two days later, on June 27, also in Washington D.C., the very organization Fricke represents is spearheading “The March on the White House” to demand Obama “show leadership on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

So SLDN is donating cash and supporting a political party that’s repeatedly turned its back on us one evening, then two days later demanding the party’s de facto leader grow a pair for gay rights? Several readers have written us with confusion, which makes sense, especially when re-reading this slogan from a SLDN ad: “Everyday, we work to lift the ban.” By donating cash to a party that’s refused to do just that?

This isn’t just an instance of mixed messaging to SLDN supporters, the theory goes; it also tells Democrats they can ignore gays but still collect our cash, with the only punishment being a little rally on the White House.

Unless, of course, SLDN is supporting the 77 House Democrats who just called on Obama to order an immediate halt to DADT dismissals. Are they the beneficiaries of the DNC donations?

If you want other reasons to laugh with logic, listen to DNC treasure Andy Tobias defend the president on the DOMA brief: The filing was “completely indefensible,” he says, but it was a “Department of Justice brief, and it’s not the president’s policy and not what the administration thinks about DOMA.”

What Tobias means to say is, despite appointing Eric Holder attorney general, and despite making promises to repeal DOMA, Obama shouldn’t be held accountable for the terrible things the federal government had to say in that brief. Because that would be, like, nonsense! If it’s truly “not what the administration thinks about DOMA,” then grab some White Out, Obama, and start redacting.

UPDATE: SLDN communications director Kevin Nix clarifies things for us: Fricke is going on his own accord, not as a representative of SLDN (which, notes Nix, cannot donate to the DNC given its 501(c)3 non-profit status). SLDN remains opposed to the DNC fundraiser, thus, the protest.

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  • Rudy

    If whoever designed that visual thinks this will help straights rethink the issue, he’s out of his mind.

  • Cam

    They are playing the game, just like companies like Microsoft that donate to the RNC and DNC. Ugh, hypocricy.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    This poster confirms what I have said all along. We, the gay community, have no other choice but to live with the compromise of DADT. In other words the military is saying since they have to be ready to go to the defense of the country (and that translates to being ready to kill or be killed) they can not have a situation where crack troops are refusing to serve next to people who are flaunting a lifestyle in the sexual sense that they find offensive and will not do their jobs.

    No one really give a damn what turns you on sexually but when you have to order a man to his death you need discipline. Many of the people who are harping on DADT never served in the military and have no intentions of ever joining. I doubt if the situation was as bad as Choi claims it would have taken him that long to say adios. You joined voluntarily. You are not asked to join. You agreed to play by their rules and they have bent as far as they are going to bend on this issue.

    Posters like this do far more harm than good. I think DADT is a good policy. It says we don’t give a damn what you do in the privacy of your own quarters, just leave it there when it comes time to serve on duty around your fellow soldiers. And I don’t blame them. You can not be asked if you are gay and they tell you to shut up about it if you are.

    This poster makes me wonder if they give in then what next, a uniform for transexuals perhaps?? Get real people. I am glad sound minds are winning over the ignorant ones in our community.

    I went in right after vietnam and I got tired of counting queens on every base. It is a given and the military is well aware of it. That is why, with sexual freedom being what it is, they gave just a bit. Rest assured that is as far as they are going to go and I personally stand with them.

  • Captain Freedom (HRC doesn't speak for me)

    This is the problem with gays. So many of us want jobs on Capitol Hill or in more discreet places under Barack Obama’s desk that we’re willing to allow some of us to play ball with the Establishment while millions of us bear through endless emails about black-tie-galas, silent auctions, fundraisers, pushes for more money, awards shows, and more useless crap that the Awards Show wing of the HRDNC keeps shoving down our throats.

    Ironically the people doing the most for us are the Hollywood liberals who have always been dubbed the most “out of touch.”

  • J

    @Rudy: bingo. It’s hard to believe some committee in this organization greenlighted this.

  • timncguy

    you’re behind the curve. it’s gotten even more complicated. now sldn is planning to protest outside the dnc fundraiser at the same time that 2 board members are inside.

  • Fitz

    I’m not wasting nay more of MY political capital on SLDN. Your on your own bois.

  • schlukitz

    @Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell:

    I think DADT is a good policy

    Another homophobe heard from!

    And one of our own (?) no less.

  • Bruno

    @Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell:

    You are GRAVELY misinformed on DADT. Yes, on the surface, it was supposed to be a case of not asking and not telling. But the military does more than ask, they conduct witch hunts which involve researching a suspected gay soldier by doing everything BUT asking them directly. And then kicking them out of the military. There’s also widespread blackmailing as a result of this policy. It’s a sick, vile, disgusting, antiquated policy that no decently self-loving gay man or lesbian could ever equate with fairness.

  • wondermann

    We are operating on misconceptions, misinformation and assumptions …and it shows

  • Steve

    Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
    –Otto von Bismarck

  • Duck & Cover

    SLDN has been in total free fall ever since their cofounder left.

    Strangest of all, until only recently, they’ve been telling their own servicemember clients that one way they WON’T defend them is by demanding the president freeze discharges as he legally can.

    There’s another anti DADT group that recently opened an office in DC made up of Iraq-Afghanistan era vets. They haven’t broken through the attention ceiling yet, but clearly think that SLDN is NOT the group to work with.

  • TANK

    SLDN is weak and ineffective in its advocacy. But, no moreso than the other national lgbt orgs.

  • Duck & Cover


    Sure we’re “represented” by some pretty lame people. But most LGBT groups are “generalists.” SLDN claims to be the big kid on the block SOLELY about DADT so their impotence is magnified.

    They’re getting no more money from me. I’d rather send it to an effective group like Lambda Legal or the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

  • keith

    From SLDN’s statement: “We do not, nor would we want to, dictate how members of our board or our Military Advisory Council make their political views known. However, I understand that two board members are attending the DNC event. I also understand they will be making their own spirited and creative statements once inside the room.”

    Those statements are gonna have to be pretty damned “spirited and creative” considering they’re accompanied by $1000 checks.

  • Prof. Donald Gaudard

    SLDN should be boycotted and denied any funding from any self-respecting gay or lesbian. Another service organization needs to form which would serve the interests of the service members and not the interests of the SLDN officials. The poster is atrocious and should be ripped apart wherever it is shown. I can’t imagine a more homophobic organization than SLDN. They obviously are only interested in the publicity of attending an “event”. Go military!! Stand up for yourselves and overthrow this sham organization!! Don

  • Jason Knight

    This is one of the very reasons I no longer work for SLDN.

  • M Shane

    It becomes so terribly disappointing to see people who are so public(as Queerty) demonstrate such demeaningly ignorant reasoning again and again.
    Do you think that a class in Logic Phil 101 would lead you to not present such an unseemly face:

    There is no contradiction between giving money to the Democratic Party and marching on the Capital. How does that makes the least biyrt of sense. I’m beginning to think that you are on low grade Chicken Crank or something and getting brain rot.

    The Dem party has not been in office 200days and you expect despite there being increadible changes that they should have skipped health care, two wars, the environment, the recession etc and just put all their energy into making a cottery of selfish queens happy ? Surely you are crazy dimwits.

    I know that most gay people are way to ignorant to realize that we have a military state and that we have done nothing but fight wars since WW2: 30- of them. We have a military presence in over 150 countries. The Pentagon are powerful people that are not push overs.

    Don’t be dumb while you screech..

  • Movement Guy

    I used to really like Queerty, but you guys are so ready to throw everyone under the bus lately, that you’ve, once again, screwed the pooch factually. SLDN is a 501(c)3 organization and, therefore, cannot donate to a political party. That would be a violation of its tax-exempt status. Yet to you contend here that it is doing so. Given the potential IRS implications, you should immediately retract this statement.

    Board members such as those attending the DNC fundraiser are private individuals and can do as they please. They are also undoubtedly paying for their own tickets since SLDN doing so would be illegal for both SLDN and the DNC. Finally, nonprofit are governed by their boards, not the other way around. While I would not attend this fundraiser for a number of reasons, one of our board members is doing so, as is his right.

    It’s one thing to hold our organization’s feet to the fire, it’s another to public inflammatory, untrue statements. Here you’ve crossed the line.

  • stephan

    @M Shane: i love you.

  • Movement Guy

    @M Shane:

    Putting aside the snark, I do think you have a point vis-a-vis the power of the military in the government.

  • J. Clarence

    The SLDN wants to have it both ways, as it is important if they want to have a access to Democrats in Congress to contribute to the DNC, but also wants to stand on principle and protest to make it’s feelings known.

    It’s a shady political move, which does not make much sense outside of Washington, but I can see where they are coming from.

  • mgh

    um, SLDN is a 501(c)(3) and/or a 501(c)(4). either way, it is barred from contributing any of its own money to a DNC fund-raiser by the terms of its non-profit status — because it can’t engage in partisan politics, period.

    so, I cry BS on this story.

  • John K.

    @Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell: No moron, DADT DOESN’T say we don’t care what you do on your own time in your own quarters. It says we’re going to discharge you if we find out you’re doing something we don’t like on your own time in your own quarters. You either have zero understanding of this law, you are a disingenuous homophobe, or you are self-loathing (I don’t know which it is, but it’s certainly one of the three).

  • schlukitz

    @John K.:

    Why rule out the other two possibilities? ;o)

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    @schlukitz: Which are?

  • schlukitz

    @Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell:

    Umm…how about putting your glasses on and reading the last sentence of John K’s post no. 24.

    John obviously missed two additional possibilities that you appear to suffer from.

    Inability to read and lack of comprehension.

  • Keith

    “[SLDN] is barred from contributing any of its own money to a DNC fund-raiser by the terms of its non-profit status”

    Of course SLDN cannot directly give to the DNC, just as unions or corporations cannot DIRECTLY give. However, two of their board members are attending–either giving money themselves or appearing on a comp tab to woo other money-gays to come join the party (and pay up). The fact of the matter is, the leadership of SLDN is supporting this fundraiser.

    So the board is inside raising money and the executive director is outside protesting them. Sounds like a case of multiple personality disorder to me.

  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    If Board members of SLDN have been invited as and for being Board members of SLDN, and representing the positions and membership of the SLDN; then it’s fair to say the SLDN is “supporting” the event and the DNC, even if for legal-reasons their donations are from “personal” funds. It’s how the gamne is played…and the SLDN is certainly playing.

    Just proves that the Democratic Party’s G/L ATM machine still works from under the Obama bus. Just give it a few swift kicks and out spits the money, no questions…or favors…asked.

  • Jason Knight

    While I have my own gripes about SLDN, it would be unfair of me to portray that on the entire organization; to those working at SLDN that are doing great work. SLDN has done some incredible work, and there are those there, like the very lawyers that assisted my own case, that work their butts off and tirelessly assist countless service members. I was a bit hasty to judge.

  • mgh

    “If Board members of SLDN have been invited as and for being Board members of SLDN, and representing the positions and membership of the SLDN” then they are violating the terms of their non-profit status.

    To the extent that any employee of any LGBT non-profit that is not a PAC attends one of these events, they’re there in their personal capacity.

    I would like the original article to actually cite something.

  • mgh

    oh, and look, the article’s been updated to prove my point. ’nuff said.

  • John K.

    @schlukitz: No, I actually took a page out of our founding father’s book (when they were writing the Constitution) and implicitly included those two possibilities in the first option, that he has zero understanding of DADT :-P

  • John K.

    founding fathers’* (we had more than one, haha).

  • psp

    The fundraiser is a joke at this point. I want to know which idiot thought up that poster thinking it would appeal to those they are trying to win over !. It looks more like an ad for the Military Ball at White Party ! This is just the type of message we should not be sending and plays right into the oppositions hands. That poster shows exactly what the opposition is afraid of by lifting DADT.

  • Bill Perdue

    It’s nice that people are boycotting and using pressure tactics. But it won’t change the Democrats behavior except they’ll lie a bit more often, droppng hints of big policy changes (down the road) and assurances that Dalai Obama loves us.

    People who imagine that unions, environmentalists, feminists, GLBT folks and other minority groups have any level of influence in the Democratic (sic) or Republican parties are clearly delusional. Those parties are controlled, owned is probably the better word, by the looter rich and their craven lap dogs like Pelosi, McConnell, Kennedy, Frank, Boehner, McCain, Obama, Reid and Palin. The truth is that if you don’t have billions in your pocket, including part of the bailout ‘welfare for the rich’ funds, you’re a nobody in those parties, someone who’ll they’ll forget about the day after the vote is in.

    Homobigotry, racism and misogyny are all divide and rule tactics used by the looter class to enforce low wages. Nowhere was this more clear than in the 2007 gutting of ENDA by Democrats. The Democrats are the party of NAFTA, an anti-union bill that causes environmental disasters. The Democrats are the party of war in Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine and Afghanistan. They endanger us all. The Democrats are the party primarily responsible for deregulation and for the bailouts. The Democrats are the party cutting social services and social safety nets right and left and demanding draconian austerity measures by Unions.

    The Republicans happily go along with this while doing the quick step to oblivion. But the main impetus is from the right centrist Democratic (sic) Party. Loyalty to the Democrats is loyalty to their rightist program. The Democrats control the center right. Both are our open enemies.

    We need a Labor Party, an independent LGBT Party, independent Black and Latino Parties, an Environmentalists Party and a Choice Party. We need to do whatever it takes to shatter the hegemony of the Democrats and Republicans and consign them to the same fate as the Whigs.

  • Bill Perdue

    In addition to all their other problems, like their delusion that they can rely on the Democrats, SLDN has to make a clear statement of opposition to the genocide in South Asia and against enlistment in the military who carry out a foreign policy dictated by Big Oil and war contractors.

    We don’t want any more soldiers, gay or straight dying for Chevron or to see any more civilians murdered by the invasions and occupations.

    Support for enlistment is a betrayal of the LGBT and antiwar struggles.


    As a longtime supporter and board member of SLDN, I feel I have to respond to this blog posting. Each day service members are discharged from the military simply for being who they are, but yet on this blog it would appear all people can do is complain about a damned dinner.

    Let’s set the record straight. SLDN is a 501(c)3 organization that is prevented by law from giving political contributions to either a party or a candidate. At no time has the organization “donated cash” or paid for a ticket for anyone to attend the DNC fundraiser. In the case of board members attending, there is a wonderful little thing called the First Amendment that gives board members the right as individuals to attend political events.

    The angry voices on this blog are attacking our board members, one who happens to be a decorated Marine veteran of the Iraq war, for attending the dinner to make the point directly to the Vice President of the United States that the Administration has an obligation to live up to promises made during the campaign. Whether in the halls of Congress, the conference rooms of the White House, or outside the gates of a fancy dinner, SLDN will take every opportunity it can to make sure the voices of our men and women in uniform are heard by those in power.

    The talented team of professionals at SLDN strive each day through their legal work and advocacy to defend those who have the courage to defend us but are unable to speak for themselves. They do not deserve this kind of malicious back stabbing from within our own community at a time when the promised land of Equal Service is coming into sight.

    Sadly, the only ones who benefit from this kind of thing are the bigots who would see the closet door shut and locked forever.

  • Bill Perdue

    @MiCHAEL D MAGEE: I can sympathize with SLDNs concerns for it’s 501(c)3 status.

    But that whole question could have easily been avoided if SLDN had a reality based attitude towards the Democrats. SLDN should have reprimanded Brian Fricke for attending a fundraiser for the party that wrote and championed DADT and that refuses to repeal it to this day.

    Clintons DADT and his DOMA are among the worst examples of christer bigotry codified as law. Both are still on the books. SLDN is not doing us any favors by promoting misleaders who confuse our enemies with our friends like Fricke did when he said “the DNC’s LGBT Leadership Council is an excellent platform for our community.” He should be condemned for sitting down to dinner with the enemy and for praising them.

    Secondly when will SLDN take a stand against enlistment in the US armed forces at a time when those forces are killing civilians in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan in record numbers and themselves taking heavy causalities in a fight that will only benefit Big Oil and war profiteers like Haliburton and mercenaries like the former Blackwater.

    Trying to be neutral about the war or ignoring it is a betrayal of the LGBT and antiwar movements. When will SLDN join antiwar vets like those pictured below in demanding the immediate and permanent withdrawal of all US military, spy, and mercenary units from South Asia. Bring the troops home now.

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