Bil Browning

Our 1st Gay Super Lobbyist

Filed By Bil Browning | June 17, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Aubrey Sarvis, gay lobby, gay rights, Joe Solmonese, LGBT community, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, SLDN, Tony Perkins

Congratulations to SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis for being listed as one of Washington DC's top lobbyists of 2010. The leader has been key to getting any action on the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell this year.

While other openly gay lobbyists are listed in the report (Anthony Romero: ACLU and Robert Raben: Raben Group spring to mind automatically), no other LGBT organizations are listed. No queer groups are listed as former winners either. The Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Transgender Equality among others have federal lobbyists working on behalf of the community.

Stand out winning clients and organizations include:Ass_Kissing.jpg

  • Family Research Council
  • Portland Cement Association
  • Kraft Foods
  • Caterpillar
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • Bank of America
  • Home Depot
  • American Gas Association
  • American Bankers Association

So what does it say about the state of LGBT influence when businesses like Kraft Foods and Home Depot rank higher than our organizations' professional lobbyists? What can we learn when representatives from far-right religious groups and oil and banking lobbyists are more successful than we are?

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There was no criteria used in this ranking. It was a subjective analysis by the staff.

I find it hard to believe we'd make any list of "effective lobbyists," we haven't accomplished anything with lobbying. HRC has spent +$550 million on lobbying Congress and they can't provide a single success. Not a single Member of Congress has changed their mind during their term regarding LGBT issues because of lobbying. Not one. Believe me, if there were, we would have heard about it - along with another request for money.

Aubrey works very hard on the repeal of DADT, but there is no evidence that he (or his organization) has changed any minds or votes. The supposed "compromise" isn't a compromise and it isn't repeal. It's a charade intended to create the appearance of progress. We'll know the outcome soon and people will be saying "we were soooooo close." We never were.

Minds might not change, but laws do, as happened with the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act.

Alright I have heard so many things come out of your mouth (fingers if you want to be a bit literal lol) that are all basically saying the same thing:

Gay Rights organizations in the US do not work.

I can see why anyone would feel that way. The reason I am even posting is that I want to know why you are so bitter and nasty frankly. As well you have mentioned a few times now that you have done "focus group" research. How did you go about that? I think it's time for us to actually know some of the basis for your out and out annoying hatred of anyone who tries to further equality in this country.

And please don't start your rather pathetic and droning rhetoric and bitch talk. Just answer the questions: Who are you? Why do you have such a hate on for these groups? (again not saying there aren't reasons for such hatred I just want to know yours specifically) And lastly, if you really do hate/despise these groups why are you following their every move and writing about it?

I don't "hate" any organizations, but I really dislike the waste of resources - time, money and effort.

I have questioned tactics, methods and strategies. That's called accountability and anyone in our community is welcome to do the same. Plus, I have invested my money in finding solutions. You are welcome to do the same.

I do not believe HRC's lobbying has accomplished much and it has done nothing to change minds in the US Congress. A recent analysis of SSM polling indicates that money spent on advertising doesn't change minds or votes either. There is no evidence that so-called "direct actions" that are really just publicity stunts don't change votes or minds, either. That's a problem. The organizations that engages in those tactics has an obligation to prove they are helpful.

The first step to our achieving our equality is to embrace accountability and make an honest assessment of what works and what doesn't. Only then can we create a strategy that not only leads to winning, but re-ignites a real sustainable movement.

I used to support HRC and GLAAD. I no longer believe they have a useful purpose. The LGBT Media has replaced GLAAD's "media policing" role. HRC is simply playing politics with Democrats and NOT our equality. Politics is a losing proposition and we are learning that lesson again.

The most troubling aspect of our dysfunctional movement is the fact that only 10% of our community participates. That must change and it won't with "more of the same" or the uninspiring goal of "one of these days."

I wanted to know why 90% have no interest in our movement. It is because they DO NOT believe we can win and that most efforts are NOT effective. That's the primary reason why we need to figure out what works and how we can win. When GetEQUAL fails to get participation in their stunts, it is an opportunity to ask why not? Like other organizations, they need to provide some rationale for their actions. HRC cannot substantiate their value or provide any evidence that their "lobbying" is effective. That should be unacceptable to all of us.

Our movement is changing rapidly and that's because many people are asking questions. That is very helpful. Answers would be helpful, too.

Perhaps the most telling thing in this was another name listed in the group of effective lobbyists. That being the Family Research Counsel who is an extremely anti-LGBTQ group. So we need lobbyists that equal or exceed theirs in order to move anything forward that might include rights of LGBTQ persons as I see it.

Neither side changes any minds because "gay" is a "moral issue." In the US Congress during the last 16 years less than 1% of Members changed their minds about LGBT issues and it wasn't because of lobbying.

Whether or not a politician supports us is established during their election and it doesn't change unless the beliefs of their constituents change. Moral beliefs are not negotiable and not influenced by lobbying - for either side.

Obviously, Aubrey's work was only possible due to the radical leftists outside the White House pulling crazy shenanigans, so really he should thank them for getting this mention.

Obviously, Aubrey's work was only possible due to the radical leftists outside the White House pulling crazy shenanigans, so really he should thank them for getting this mention.