Guest Blogger

Is the platform perfect? No. Is it a good foundation? Unequivocally, yes.

Filed By Guest Blogger | August 12, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Democratic Party National Platform, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay politics, NGLTF, Rea Carey

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Rea Carey is the Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund. Ms. Carey spoke yesterday at an audio press conference about the Democratic National Platform, which was hosted by the rea_carey_08_187x210.jpgNational Stonewall Democrats and featured U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), a member of the Platform Committee. Carey talked about the historic significance of the proposed Democratic National Platform as it relates to issues impacting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The vision put forth in the 2008 Democratic National Platform is historic in its embrace of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Never before in our country's history has there been a national party platform that is so inclusive of our entire community.

It is a forward-looking platform in so many areas, including those relating to LGBT people.

The Task Force Action Fund is certainly pleased to see that in the opening paragraph of the section titled 'A More Perfect Union,' for the first time the platform explicitly calls for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This demonstrates the success and unprecedented partnership between LGBT advocates and courageous public leaders, including Representative Baldwin, in educating the public and policymakers on the need for fully inclusive anti-discrimination protections.

The plank that includes a comprehensive Employment Non-Discrimination Act recognizes the LGBT community's call for fully inclusive legislation, a critical element if we are to have legislation that protects all of us, equally.

Is the platform perfect? No. There is much more work to be done, especially to improve issues of family recognition. However, is it a good foundation? Unequivocally yes.

For more from Rea Carey go to

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As one of seven trans delegates in 2004, you don't know how fantastic this news is. Last time, the trans delegates put in an amendment to add "gender identity" into the platform, but because we were pressured by the party to remove it, we did.

The pressure was that we would get a chance to speak with Kerry's people at the convention and if we didn't remove it, we would be treated like periahs. We did speak with the Kerry people, at the last day, but we were treated like red-headed stepchildren. The only thing that they were remotely interested in was the transgender veterans issues.

My concerned is that transgender people will now be left out of any discussion about DADT. We have proof they are being affected, so I am making sure that when they talk about ti, they add the "T."

I'm proud of what all of you accomplished this year. In 2012, it will be even better.

I expect to hear enthusiasm from community organizations about upcoming elections that will have an impact on the LGBT population, but I don't believe that cheer leading ("Never before in our country's history has there been a national party platform that is so inclusive of our entire community") is helpful or honest.

The platform is so inclusive that it is positively post-gay - the Democratic Party is so evolved that they don't even have to mention us by name. Wow! The Party is more evolved than the rest of the country is - or at least the dozens of states that have amended their constitutions against us.

But maybe we should forget about all that negativity, eh? Is that just rehashing the failures of the party from the last election - the one that had a platform that did mention us by name - where we were held responsible for causing John Kerry's defeat even though he and his party never said or did anything in response to the attacks on our community (when he wasn't supporting the rights of states to discriminate against us).

According to a post at Pam's House Blend on this topic, one of the members of the platform committee, Rep. Patricia Todd (Alabama) said, "we can nitpick this thing to death," but in the end "we have too much on the line with this election, and cannot afford to hand the country over to John McCain."

Would it be nitpicking to complain about the illogic that the Party's platform (opposed to a Federal Marriage Amendment) has no mention of the harm caused to LGBT citizens by the actions taken by states? Who needs a FMA when over 50% of the country has already doubly enforced legislative and constitutional discrimination against us? And those attempts continue - 3 more on the ballot this fall - and once again this Party is silent.

I never expected perfection from a party that is so afraid of losing that it will avoid taking a principled stand on bigotry.

As far as this platform being evidence of "a good foundation" to build upon, I would say that by 2008 with a federal DOMA and over 40 states with their own DOMA and potentially 30 states amended against us, I would say that we are beyond the time where foundations should be built.

This foundation should have already been in place.

Once again the party is using us in a shell game to take our money, exploit our position, and use us as a soap box to declare their inclusiveness while their ACTIONS to include us will pale in comparison to their timid words.

If we want to use history as our guide, look back to 1996 - we ought to expect nothing from the Democrats and assume we will get less.

The NGLTF needs to be less accommodating considering what we already know about this party and their promises.

Patrick, you expect anything in the Repugnican party platform besides 'Hate The Gays'?

I couldn't care less about the Republican party platform. They aren't soliciting our support.

I do expect our community organizations to maintain a distinct boundary between our interests and those of political parties that are extremely self serving and untrustworthy.

Otherwise the NGLTF is nothing more than a second HRC and we don't need any more of that kind of representation.

CBrachyrhynchos | August 12, 2008 11:26 AM

Just as a point in fact, both of the national Green Party platforms have had much more explicit gay rights planks. This is the first inclusive platform by a major national party.

Great point! What would the NGLTF lose by making that point in their response to the Dem platform?

They wouldn't have to support Greens but the Task Force could show more allegiance to us than to the Party by recognizing the difference.

There would be plenty of Dem whiners if the Task Force were to buck the Party...that's for sure.

The Green Party has Cynthia McKenney as their Presidential Candidate. She has always been pro-LGBT issues. Polar, Monica Roberts and I joined a half dozen others to speak with her for 90 min on helping her understand trans issues. She got it in a big way.

Yes, but the Green Party is totally irrelevant, and I believe that McKinney betrayed the entire gist of our meeting to HRC, anyway.

It's nice that the Democratic Platform is as inclusive as it is, but party platforms are completely meaningless documents, not binding on anyone. Obama will run on whatever issue stances he wishes to run on, as will every other Democrat. It's not all that courageous to be 180 degrees different from the GOP, after all, that's what the Democratic Party should be.

Too bad the CBC presentation that resulted from that meeting got torpedoed

Thanks for guest posting, Rea. I think you are correct (with a nod to CB): This is the most complete inclusive platform from either of the major parties.

I must admit to being slightly bothered by the lack of "gay," "lesbian," "bi," or "transgender" in the document, but I can live with it as long as this doesn't end up another Howard Dean shenanigan...

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 12, 2008 6:03 PM

Putting it mildly, there’s been a less than ecstatic reaction to Obama’s platform. After gutting and ditching our entire legislative agenda - ENDA, hate crimes, repeal of DOMA, DADT- Obama now orders us purged. As if by order of the NKVD, all references to Gays, Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender/transsexual people have been ‘disappeared’ from Obama’s platform. (Uncle Joe must be smirking in his grave.)

In exchange for our disappearance Obama will generously allow us to get mauled and killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain says no to cannon fodder, Obama says yes. With Democrats like these who needs Republicans.

Some continue to be gulled by the Democrats, or blindsided by the silly idea that the twin parties are different. They tremble in fear at what a McCain administration would be like, refusing to acknowledge that it’d be very much like an Obama Administration. Both will continue the war, cut our standard of living and pander to bigots. The difference is the Democrats will lie about and the Republicans don’t bother. Posing our choices as partisan choices is the alpha and omega of political error.

The question is not about the Democrats and their chances for election. That’s simply partisan conceit! It’s about the needs of the GLBT communities, ending the war and securing an adequate and fair standard of living for working people.

It’s about building mass sentiment and movements for change. That often compels the courts and politicians to give in. It was the US Supremes, with a 7-2 Republican majority who struck down sodomy laws and the Republican dominated Massachusetts and California Supremes who upheld the right to same sex marriage.

Far more crucial, though, is that he lessons we learn by building and leading our own movements (free of partisan domination) prepares us for the day when we and our allies will make fundamental changes and implement the kind of program I outlined above.

Most voters know that the parties are virtually identical and are really only in it for the money and power. They understand what most partisan Democrats and Republicans do not, that those parties are not opponents; they’re accomplices, accessories to war, attacks on our standard of living and pandering to bigots. That's why most voters in most elections just sit it out, ignoring the hoopla and partisan frenzy.

It' scares me to think that to be an L-G-B or T with basic American birthrights one must resort to kissing a donkey's or Elephant's behind.Reducing our needs for basic human rights to pandering to one party or another reduces our chances of getting them instead of insuring we do.I am neither a republican nor a democrat and my vote goes to who I believe will serve America best not just the lgbt.If the same amount of money and time had been spent lobbying the two parties from the beginning I don't believe the religious right would have been able to entrench themselves so well into Republican politics.I think the States marriage amendments would have been greatly reduced or curtailed all together.Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.