Kip Williams

President Obama our only target to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year

Filed By Kip Williams | April 21, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: civil disobedience, DADT repeal, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Get Equal, President Obama, White House

Yesterday I joined six servicemembers in front of the White House to call on President Obama to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), the Clinton-era policy that bans lesbians and gays from military service. These six servicemembers - including one transgender vet, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen - peacefully chained themselves to the White whitehousedadt.jpgHouse and spent last night in jail. Let's especially honor Autumn for her heightened risk as a trans woman being arrested - when repealing DADT won't even end discrimination based on gender identity.

This protest took place just one day after GetEQUAL activists disrupted President Obama at a fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer in LA. They interrupted his speech, demanding the immediate repeal of DADT and full equality for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. They were escorted out of the event without incident.

The crowd gathered in LA was fickle - quick to applaud and echo the urgency expressed by the activists, and just as quick to applaud the President's admonishment that we should focus our efforts instead on legislators who oppose us. But I remember President Obama making a commitment to repeal DADT during his State of the Union Address earlier this year. When he made that commitment, he placed responsibility - and accountability - squarely on his own shoulders.

I have never been prouder to cast my ballot than when I voted for President Obama in 2008 - the same day I voted No on 8 in California, and spent the night grieving our rights being stripped away instead of celebrating the historic election of the first President I've ever believed in. While I still hope we will find justice under his Administration, my optimism diminishes with each passing day that we remain unequal. But I still believe in him, which is precisely why I'm ratcheting up the pressure.

There's a standalone bill out there in the world right now that would repeal DADT. President Obama and other leaders think this proves they are working on the issue. But they know there's neither political will nor incentive to pass that bill. Without a doubt, it will fail.

There is, however, another way. We could repeal DADT the same way that Clinton first allowed it to become the law of the land: attach the repeal language to the Defense Authorization Bill (DAB). There is both will and incentive to pass the DAB, and whip counts show that the DADT repeal will be successful if attached.

President Obama knows that repealing DADT through the DAB is the one and only way to ensure success this year, but he refuses to take that step. So when he tells us to focus on our opposition, he's not being real with us. He made the commitment, he knows the strategy that will work, and he's following a doomed strategy instead. After we lose, he'll probably go on to blame us for our own loss. Doesn't this story sound familiar?

With every bone in my body, I want to see DADT repealed this year. I want justice for our servicemembers who are targeted and harassed. I don't want young, poor queer folks to have to make a choice between economic opportunity and living honestly. I want the repeal of DADT to be a gateway to other steps toward equality - employment protections, fairness in immigration, and marriage equality, to name a few. And I want this to happen before the mid-term elections, when a narrow window will close, and our hope for justice disappears for at least six more years.

If you feel the same way, then listen to my words. We have ONE target, and ONE demand:

President Obama, attach the repeal of DADT to this year's DAB.

This moment is urgent. We will only be heard if we are loud and disruptive and we don't back down. Join us in making the call at

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I vehemently disagree with you. You and Lt. Dan Choi and "equality" cronies are barking up the wrong tree with President Obama.

I’ve had enough of you, and you’re chaining yourself to the fu*king White House fence. Why don’t you go chain yourself to the steps of Congress? Why not go chain yourself in the front yard of John McCain or Jeff Sessions or the Republicans on the Senate Armed Services committee who are VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED to DADT being repealed? THEY are the ones you need to fight. Not the White House or the President.

So get a clue! Because at this point, if DADT does not get repealed, I will not feel the least bit sorry for you. You could have used this energy to fight the real enemy, to put pressure and make life difficult on the REAL opponents of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and instead you attack the White House.

You have an ALLY in President Obama. Why not try to figure out how you can work WITH him to get this done, instead of protesting against him? Make yourselves useful, would you? Channel that anger into the right places.

As Sinead O’Connor once fabulously said on SNL one crazy night as she tore up a photo of the pope:
“FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY”. It’s not Obama; it is the Republican leadership of Congress. Get a clue already!

We have massive majorities in both houses. Republicans aren't the problem, Democrats who consistently leave us behind when the bus takes off are.

We as a community aren't beholden to any party. We are only beholden to ourselves and our future generations. Did we do all we could to advance equality?

We've spent generations playing the game politely, my friend. The lawmakers always conveniently forget about us when it counts. Making noise is a great way to make sure we're not forgotten.

That said, there isn't ONLY one strategy toward equality. All strategies need to be employed. But exclusively using the lobbying/fundraising model to try to cajole our lawmakers into action has thusfar been unsuccessful. GetEqual is looking to other successful movements to show how we can employ more diverse strategies of keeping our slate on the frontburner.

Our lawmakers aren't stupid--just busy--they know that GetEqual does not represent the whole gay community. They aren't going to mistake Kip Williams for Joe Solmonese. This is not going to lock anyone at HRC, NCTE or NGLTF out of the capital. If anything, this might stimulate more fruitful discussions between our newly curious lawmakers and our lobbyists, leaders and strategists.

Staying in their consciousness is a good idea, not a bad. Lawmakers aren't JUST watching the gay community. They quickly forget about us when we're polite and quiet. GetEqual and other direct action activists are helping lawmakers remember to keep their promises and stay on the right side.

Kip, Robin, Mark, Jim, Dan and everyone at GetEqual--keep on keepin on, brothers and sisters. You are making a real difference.

We don't need attention, we need support.

This publicity stunt (and the others) don't create any support for our equality. They only damage our collective efforts.

GetEqual believes irritation gets rewarded, it does not.

Apparently the lessons of history are unknown to Andrew. Irritation gets rewarded when it becomes intolerable to those being irritated.

History doesn't lie. You'd do well to spend some time acquainting yourself with it.

Oh, so "history" suggests that if we all act like children and irritate everyone (including our friends and supporters), then we'll simply be rewarded with equality. I think you are talking about toddlers, not activists.

Actually, it has worked this way past civil rights movements. President Kennedy was a supporter of the Black civil rights movement, but he was often at odds with the tactics used by SNiCC and SCLC to show the injustice that was faced by black citizens in the South.

Nonviolent protest and confrontation works when it is used in tandem with other tactics.

It's not 1964. We're not Black. We're not being lynched. We're not former slaves.

It is a different time and it is a very different issue.

Instead of trying to use history to rationalize these publicity stunts, just explain how they create SUPPORT for our community. Attention is NOT support.

We have been trying to tell Andrew for a very long time about what has happened in history and that it counters his "hide-under-the-covers-and-hope-they-don't-see-us" fear. It is not how things have happened long before his life started. He is great at telling us what not to do, but has never provided us with proven alternatives. It's probably best to just ignore him. He hasn't contributed in making a difference, so why listen to him?

Out of 28 comments, he has made 12 of them, all negative.

There is no need to lie Monica. Nobody has suggested "hiding under the covers."

Criticize this:

1. Accept accountability for all tactics, strategies and organizations. They must be proven to be effective and ADD to our support. We no longer do things because 'that's what we've always done." They have to make sense and lead to support.

2. Re-direct our efforts to our neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers. Enroll them in our full equality. Demonstrate it with polling.

3. Target efforts to replace Anti-LGBT US Senators in winnable States (there are 5). Go after their constituents, not them.

4. Seed the cultural conversation with LGBT-positive stories. Create media campaigns where we define ourselves, instead of continuing to allow our enemies to do so.

5. Present a winning strategy and timeline to our community. We will ALL participate if we can see the "finish line." "Try everything" is over.

There are numerous ideas and strategies that are being developed. They are all focused on results, not simply getting attention. They will emerge when we are honest enough to realize we don't currently have a strategy and we certainly don't have sufficient participation.

In the meantime, you can encourage these so-called "activists" to continue to piss on our friends.

If you feel the same way, then listen to my words. We have ONE target, and ONE demand: President Obama, attach the repeal of DADT to this year's DAB.

The Hill - November 20, 2009

“Military issues are always done as part of the overall authorization bill,” Frank previously noted. “'Don’t ask, don’t tell' was always going to be part of the military authorization.”

- Barney Frank

It has ALWAYS been the "plan" Kip. No need for these publicity stunts.

Your stunts have people either laughing, rolling their eyes or scratching their heads in disbelief. Please stop.

Everything is a stunt to some people who only offer negative feedback. But Kip I feel you are 100% right! Do not be disturbed by these type of comments. We must continue to fight and demand action. I think GetEqual is doing the best work I have seen in a long time. Some complain when we are asked to call our leaders but this is actual in the streets type action and it will help in the future. Keep it up and yes it must be done this year or it may not happen for a long time.
I have joined this group and sent my letter and support you all the way!

You endorse "fighting." I suppose, like Kip and his GetEqual attention-seekers, you include "fighting our friends?" Fight everybody, huh?


It is not fighting you friends or anyone. It is fighting for your rights instead of sitting at a computer and trying to build support by being negative to every idea suggested.

I love "plans" as much as the next guy, but in case you didnt notice, Andrew, the repeal *wasnt* part of the last authorization bill. Maybe the next one? Or perhaps the one after that?

Y'know, thing is, they're not gonna do a damn thing until after the mid-terms. And even then, there's this *really* narrow window (assuming there's still a Demo majority in congress) in which they can do it and hope it doesnt become an *issue* in the next presidential election.

We govern in stop-gap waves these days.

I mostly agree, but how do these childish stunts change that political reality?

We have 44 Anti-LGBT US Senators. How does irritating the President, the Speaker or a Committee Chairman change that?

We need people to join us, not avoid us. We need to build support, not alienate our friends.

GetEqual is trying to get attention for the purpose of raising money for their organization. They have never provided any rationale for these stunts. Today they brought a Committee Chairman "a marker because he couldn't afford one." ENDA was already scheduled for "mark-up." They have markers. What they need are VOTES.

If GetEqual wants to gain the support of the LGBT Community they must make sense of these irritating publicity stunts. If they can prove they are effective than we should support them. So far, they have not.

Well, seems to me that, if we're to get anything done in DC, we have two options.

(1) We can go the GetEqual route and keep the issue in their face until they get so tired of seeing us they put the damn thing to a vote and get it out of the way. Or

(2) We can throw yet another tasteful cocktail party.

Neither option is especially appealing. And, as I said, Andrew, no one's gonna touch this political hot potato until after the mid term elections. Sadly, in a lot of districts, while it might be the *right* thing to do, politicians will forego "right" when it means they lose their job.

So when's the next appropriations bill coming through? December? The timing would certainly be... uhm... ironic.

I don't think you have to always reduce it to

(A) Childish publicity stunts (GetEqual)


(B) Cocktail parties (HRC)

I don't believe either one generates any support for our community. Both waste time, energy and financial resources.

We are NOT doing anything about building support among our fellow citizens or replacing some of those Anti-LGBT Senators. Sooner or later we need support from our fellow citizens and enough votes to pass Congress. To that end, childish stunts and/or adult beverages are not helpful.

Frankly, I agree with Guest 2 below. A stop-loss order would require nothing from Congress, and it hasnt happened. It wasnt in the 2009 defence bill, nor the 2010 one, and honestly I doubt it will be in 2011, because of its proximity to the presidential elections.

Barney sits up there and says "Be patient! Be patient!" -- to which I would ask, "Why? What on earth is so difficult about this? The polls are in our favour, so why not just freaking do it and get it over with?"

To be ruthlessly honest, with the canyon-wide and -deep political chasm we have in this country, I'm amazed anything gets done. I'm not holding my breath on this one. Blue aint my colour.

Perhaps Barney Frank and others are encouraging "patience" because we don't have the votes in the Senate. Without those votes this is all a waste of time.

Effectiveness is your test?

What is the President not going to do now?

Issue a stop-loss order? Already not done.

Fail to include DADT repeal in 2009 Defense Authorization? Already not done.

Fail to include DADT repeal in 2010 Defense Authorization? Already not done.

And how many times had ENDA been "just coming up for a vote in a few weeks"

Congress and the President couldn't move slower on LGBT issues if they tried.

What's the loss here?

Squeaky wheel gets the oil. We gave them a more than enough chances to play nicely. It's time to take it up a notch.

Squeaky wheels also get REPLACED.

44 is not a majority, Andrew, no matter how much the party on no says otherwise.

"GetEqual is trying to get attention for the purpose of raising money for their organization."

REALLY!?!?!? REALLY!?!?!? Go to right now and find the "Donation" link... in fact, I've offered money for a long time and I was explicitly told they don't want it.

You lost me at that contention because it's not grounded on any fact, it's merely libelous accusations that you hope will make your point stronger. You had a strong point, now you've weakened it - sound familiar?

I didn't say they had a "donation" button on their website. They have been soliciting donations (successfully) for a few months. On their website they want you to purchase a mug or stuffed animal that unfortunately has the "GetEqual" logo on it.

they also have a very rich donor here in California who has already donated $700,000 to the cause. Yes they are raising funds.

Camilo- I absolutely disagree with you and do not appreciate your almost rude way of attacking those who are trying to get something accomplished. Feel free to disagree but you do not need to be so disagreeable. We are on the same side aren't we? I guess you think other civil rights pioneers who did things that some did not like and/or got arrested are also not worthy of your support or sympathy. Pres. Obama is the real problem as he is not leading this fight and he is possibly actively working to stop any movement in Congress. Are you so blind to that? I think protesting those others like McCain is als a good idea but you seem so angry. Why?

It has been difficult to find effective strategies for LGBT grassroots activism for the past 18 months. Given that grassroots organizers have had little to no resources (except very recently), we have had to rely upon a grab bag of tactics, most of which have been ineffective, but a few have been, including chaining to the White House fence and confronting President Obama directly.

We should mesaure the effectiveness of these actions by the media exposure (one of the only ways to reach tens of thousands of people) and positive changes in public opinion and in legislative changes. There was negative fallout from the Obama action; it certainly alienated African Americans and allowed ourselves to be compared with the tactics of the Tea Party activists. But it was speaking truth to power and was perhaps the only way to a message to President Obama and the White House.

Attacking our enemies - the Catholic and Mormon Churches - is all well good, but people have been doing it for hundreds of years, with limited success. And going after Republican Congresspeople and representatives may make us feel better, but they are never going to vote for LGBT interests anyway. You have to pressure our putative allies - Pres. Obama and Democrats - because they are the ones whose minds and hearts we have to convince and who will potentially vote for our rights.

Given that millions of dollars of our community's resources are siphoned off to groups like Equality California and HRC, leaves very little resources for effective grassroots organizing. And the overall LGBT community is very apathetic and pratically impossible to motivate.

Which leaves a handful of activists to pursue actions which are designed to garner the most media attention and have the most impact given the dearth of resources available. We do not need friends who we will reward with a statuette at an over-priced gala dinner in NY or LA. We need allies who will stand and fight with us.

When we elected "Hope" that was what we got. I know of no examples of threatening "Hope" in order to guarantee progress.

Politics is what it is. In order to succeed we need to garner support from friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers. We need to take our case for full equality to the PEOPLE.

Our Movement has defaulted into lobbying or complaining - neither of those activities encourage or inspire support.

If we are to rely on politics we need to enroll constituents. We need to put our time, money and energy into convincing people that equality is a basic human principle. Research indicates that if we frame the conversation in that manner - without bitching or demanding, but instead asking for help, two-thirds of our fellow citizens will support us.

We're not doing that. Until we do, we'll keep repeating history. We'll keep being disappointed with politicians. We'll keep making demands that are increasingly unpopular. We'll keep losing.

Our movement needs to be based on winning instead of fighting.

When you and your "activist" friends are looking through your historical "grab-bag" of tactics, how about figuring out which ones will create support and lead to victory. We have plenty of attention. People know we exist and they know our struggle. Instead of angrily reminding them and telling them we're pissed, how about asking for their support?

Thank-you Jillian for having the unpopular courage to express mixed feelings about this stunt. We can no longer suggest "try everything," we need to focus on accountability for all tactics, strategies and organizations.

HRC needs to prove their effectiveness. GetEqual must do the same. Before we have more of these embarrassing stunts they need to provide some rationale. They need to show us how these activities create support or change minds/votes.

You could also provide suggestions that will prove effective. It is too bad you are ashamed of people who do such things but you should show how your negative repsonses to everything that is tried create support or change minds/votes.

Michael @ | April 21, 2010 3:37 PM

Thank you Kip, for this post, and for the great work you and Robin McGehee, et al., are doing with GetEqual. While much of the LGBT community had fallen asleep like Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion in the poppy field, GetEqual came along and is quickly waking many of them up.

Evidence of your success is, sadly, also evidence of the reality re DADT repeal of the man behind the curtain as revealed Monday night in the RAGE that flickered in his eyes when challenged during the L.A. fundraiser and in the overreaction of White House Winkies yesterday who felt the need to push even credentialed mainstream media and confused tourists A BLOCK AWAY from Dan, Jim, and their four courageous compatriots handcuffed to its fence. Gay black civil rights legend Bayard Rustin would have embraced our people as the kind of “angelic troublemakers" who recognize, as Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will," and "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground."

Both the rage and the overreaction are familiar from the Bush Reich; but neither should be seen in our self-anointed “fierce advocate.” The “audacity of hope” has become the arrogance of power.

Alas, many are yet again kneejerking to Obama's defense because they naively still see him as a saintlike agent of change who must never be questioned rather than a beneficiary of change who has chosen to become a part of the problem rather than the solution to ending DADT. They remind one of those defending the Pope.

Ironically, another great black civil rights icon, Dorothy Height, died yesterday. She was criticized by whites and blacks decades ago for her lack of civility while walking through Times Square shouting, "Stop the lynchings!" She liked to quote Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, president of Morehouse College:

"If the time is not ripe, then it is your job to ripen the time."

As someone who first began involved with efforts to lift the ban 35 years ago [some inexplicably believe gays could serve openly before DADT], and has closely followed each twist and turn of the accelerating debate since the 2007 primaries, I could easily document for the skeptical not only that you are correct in declaring that the President is our most important target but also that the roots of the President's inertia are deep.

Yes, members of Congress are the only ones who have the literal power to repeal DADT, but the reasons they haven’t yet goes directly to the actions and inactions of the President and those who speak and act in his name. After declaring in February of 2008 that,

"Equality is a moral imperative. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership,"

he began to backtrack within weeks on that and his earlier detailed and eloquent promises to begin to PERSONALLY fight for repeal the moment he took office, speaking of approaching repeal only in a timeline and a way that was "good for the military."

Last June, DADT repeal advocate and Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin said that repeal would be impossible without hands-on Presidential leadership. The same month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked for repeal help from the President, AND urged him to freeze discharges with an Executive Order pending repeal, and Cong. Alcee Hastings and 75 House colleagues sent a letter to the President urging the same. To the best of my knowledge, none of them ever received the courtesy of a reply.

Now, Cong. Barney Frank, always reluctant to criticize this President, has gone from saying he is "ducking" the issue to asserting that he is AGAINST repeal this year, and that that is giving members of Congress an excuse not to vote for it. Cautious SLDN has revealed that multiple sources are saying that they are being told by the Pentagon...who report to the Commander-in-Chief...not to vote for repeal. Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has point blank said it will NOT be inserted in the defense authorization bill which, as you note, is the ONLY viable vehicle for its success this year. The final version of that bill will be voted on and signed no later than October, weeks before this year's midterms.

If repeal does not happen this year, because of universally expected losses of Democratic seats in those midterms, even discussion of repeal will be shelved until at least January of 2013...and that assumes a BEST case scenario of Dems regaining their lost majority in Congress in November of 2012.

Our window of opportunity for repeal is rapidly closing and we must not let the President get away with slamming it shut because he has been malevolently led by homophobes in the Pentagon and White House to wrongly believe that repeal would be a political liability.

In November 2007, Candidate Obama declared that, "America is ready to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. All that is required is leadership."

That is no less true but unequivocally more urgent today.

I sure wish we had an advocate like AndrewW in charge of the movement. Imagine what that would look like...oh wait, I don't have to imagine it, the suffragists already experienced his kind of apologist whining 100 years ago.

Oh i know his answer already - we aren't women, this isn't about the right to vote this is the 21st century!! You can't pick on my wonderful President because he is above reproach. He is a democrat and that means we are to cater to his agenda, his timetable and his priorities. We abdicate our responsibility to him and his party to provide us with what we deserve and we will wait for them to bring it to us when they are ready.

Social justice has never worked that way and it never will. AndrewW might not like "stunts" but that is how American Fraternity Democracy works. Never has an executive or legislative branch voluntarily extended rights to any minority group without feeling pressure - both through lobbying and through boisterous public demonstrations.

You might feel all restrained and pinched over seeing your leader being held accountable for delivering on his promises, AndrewW but you are increasingly going to be alone with your feelings. My family doesn't deserve to be marginalized by DOMA. My friends don't deserve to be restricted from getting married - or being allowed to live in US because their parner isn't American. My neighbors don't deserve to be fired from jobs because of their gender. The people that put their lives on the line in the military don't deserve to be threatened with discharge because they are gay.

Democrats made DOMA and DADT possible and for the most part they don't do enough about changing the status quo and they don't hear enough from us about it.

You are either historically uninformed or you are complicit with our oppression. Snap out of it or step aside. We have work to do. Electing politicians is only a fraction of the work. Participating in political activism is the majority of the work.

Quit yer' cryin' AndrewW.

Perhaps, Patrick, you can explain how pissing on our friends is helpful?

Even GetEqual's treatment of Chairman Miller and Rep. Jared Polis (both are good friends) was pathetic. Tell us how it was also helpful.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 21, 2010 5:45 PM

Thank you AndrewW. You finally fessed up and admitted that you think liberals are our 'friends'. You explained the origin of your 'politics'.

AndrewW relies on the good graces of liberals.

The same liberals who refuse to repeal DOMA and DADT, who support the war and the killing of GIs and of civilians from Palestine to Pakistan, who bust unions and impose harsh cuts in social services while giving trillions to the looter class. The very same liberals, like Kucinich, Boxer and Polis who voted for Obama's betrayal health care reform.

In that light AndrewW's hard-sell anti-activist hype is reduced to carping aimed at limiting or sabotaging actions to force our equality agenda to the forefront. He's opposed everything from the massive, militant march on Washington to these two zaps.

He calls them stunts. Last week Obama opened the new campaign season by signing a non-binding, temporary memo to see if visitation rights can be extended. Now that's a stunt.

AndrewWs partisanship follows the backward path of many GLBT Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans who put reliance on party and ideology ahead of the needs of the movement.

It must be exciting for GetEqual to receive the full endorsement of Bill Perdue.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 21, 2010 8:42 PM

I endorse activism and militancy in the fight for equality. I think mass action is much, much more effective than zaps.

This is good but this is better

AW, I'm happy that don't dispute my analysis of your role. Sometimes you're for hugging the cults, and sometimes for kowtowing to right centrist politicians. But whatever you're for, you're against the forward impetus of the fight for GLBT equality.

Why does it terrify you so?

I ignore your analysis of my role and I don't think anyone engages in conversation with you.

GetEqual is hurting the LGBT movement. They, like you, want to yell at everyone, even those that support us. So, go yell.

Nothing you have contributed has helped provide any value for GetEqual's childish publicity stunts.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 21, 2010 10:05 PM

If I were you I'd be afraid too.

Now you're threatening me? That's so GetEqual of you.

Hi Bill!

How are you! I always appreciate your remarks and insight - even if I don't reply every time I see you make an excellent point.

There! I'm engaging in conversation with you!

Its too bad AndrewW hijacked this thread instead of offering his piece and leaving space for others to contribute.

Kip and GetEqual must have really hit a nerve with him. I wonder if anyone else knows that Rahm Emanuel comments at blogs using the name AndrewW. That's really stealth!

Anyway - nice to see you again at Bilerico.

Keep fighting the good fight...

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 22, 2010 6:32 AM

If I were you I'd be afraid to have my liberal politics examined too.


Really Andrew? Threaten you? Get a grip.

Repeal of DADT should be a priority, because it is the worst of the remaining laws which stigmatize and demonize us because it requires punishment simply for being gay. Being forced to remain in the closet is punishment for who we are. Then being fired when found out, is further punishment. But DADT harms not just those in the military, but all of us, because it establishes the societal norm that says gay people deserve to be punished simply for being gay. It also tells not just U.S. citizens we should be punished, it sends that message to the world. It stigmatizes and demonizes us all. It perpetuates the very prejudice it was intended to indulge.

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On Monday GetEqual slaps the President. In Kip's William's words:

They interrupted his speech, demanding the immediate repeal of DADT and full equality for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. They were escorted out of the event without incident."

On Wednesday the White House announces (for the first time) they will wait for the Pentagon Study to be completed before taking any action on DADT Repeal. DADT Repeal will wait until after the Mid-terms.

Congratulations, Kip and Robin.

After watching this 2 min video featuring Dan Choi explaining himself following this weeks arrest, i'm much more willing to support Choi and GetEqual than any alternative proposal offered in the comments of this post:

Also, see this at Pam's today:

I guess there was never a real commitment to repeal on the table in the first place...but that didn't stop Obama from seeking applause in his SOTU address or from Solmonese from seeking contributions to the HRC based on the President's faux promise (that HRC knew was faux).

GetEqual is actually sounding too passive considering what we now know. If you aren't enraged, then you have something to gain from maintaining the status quo that benefits few while robbing from the many.

Point at HRC and screaming "Benedict Arnold" is just as counter productive as when those near HRC point at GetEqual and say "You're ruining everything!" HRC's organizers want full equality just as bad as the rest of us, but they see the path differently. Its fine to argue strategy, but we should all take offense when one of us starts questioning the other's dedication to the cause.

I sincerely doubt that anyone at HRC would have thought that the President was anything from sincere. The HRC-heads don't suffer from the rampant cynicism that sometimes can choke our movement. No, to the other extreme, the HRC folk tend to suffer from massive amounts of misguided optimism and misplaced trust. Its blind faith, not true faith.

HRC's strategists could benefit from a healthy dose of skepticism just as much as the rest of us could ease up on the distrust a little. We do benefit from both points of view, but we--as the majority of the people operating in the movement--need to stop subscribing to one or the other, and try to think critically and walk the middle path.

One thing I am SURE we do is waste copious amount of time we could be working hard to move the American People toward being allies on arguing the pro-HRC, anti-HRC side. HRC is just one org, stop putting them on such a pedestal. I'm on neither side. HRC isn't the end-all, be-all of my involvement. There are HUNDREDS of other great organizations that we ignore constantly because we're all jockeying to have the last word on HRC. Its COUNTERPRODUCTIVE!

Stop the infighting, and start putting the focus outside of the community: work on discrediting our enemies and pressuring our allies to follow through. We'd solve a hell of a LOT of our problems if we stopped spending 33% of all of our time and energy wagging our tongues about ONE ORGANIZATION.


Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 22, 2010 2:54 PM

Phil, not every group is 'great'.

Some are moribund and a drag on the movement. Some are sponges using our money, time and energy fraudulently.

"Infighting" is how we separate the wheat from the chaff. It's a good thing.

HRC is a fundraising group, not an LGBT civil rights group. It's lied, promising results that never happen, to get money to pay huge salaries since its inception. Basically HRC is a scam.

Politically, HRC is a tool, a front group for the White House and the DNC run by former Virginia governor Tim Kaine and ordained pentecostal bigot Leah Daughtry, both bitterly anti-GLBT and anti-choice.

HRC seems to be dying on the vine as key staffers move on or are pushed out, as revenues decline and as attitudes towards them shift from befuddlement about their effectiveness to widespread contempt at their incompetence.

Any state or federal group that becomes a front group for the Democrats and the bigots in the DNC and White House will sooner or later suffer the same fate.

Talk about an ungrateful attitude for people fighting for our rights! This was the Obama strategy all along so don't blame Kip and Robin and their group.

To be clear this comment was meant for one a few up that did blame Kip and Robin as if their action this week was the reason for the delay. It is not directed at Bill or Phil's comments.

The majority of the comments are about organizations and individual personalities. It's not about HRC, it's about their tactics and strategies. The same applies to GetEqual, it is about their tactics and strategies.

Suggesting that GetEqual is necessary because HRC has failed doesn't provide any rationale. If HRC has failed, why? If GetEqual actually has a more effective strategy, how does that work?

Tactics, strategies, methods, plans and organizations all need to be held accountable.