HRC taps Chad Griffin as its next president

Chad Griffin, left, and Joe Solmonese

38-year-old founder of AFER, which brought Prop 8 lawsuit, to lead nation’s largest gay-rights group

LISA KEEN  |  Keen News Service

The next president of the nation’s largest LGBT political group will be Chad Griffin, a California activist who’s made a name for himself by initiating and orchestrating one of the most important legal challenges in LGBT history. Griffin will replace current Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in June.

Griffin, 38, is the founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that enlisted the legal services of some of the nation’s best lawyers to launch a lawsuit against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. The lawsuit, which so far has succeeded in having Proposition 8 declared unconstitutional in both federal district court and by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is considered one of the most important pieces of litigation in LGBT history.

The Human Rights Campaign announced Griffin’s appointment Friday.

“We’re ecstatic to have someone of Chad’s caliber as our next president,” HRC co-chair Tim Downing and HRC Foundation co-chair Sandra Hartness said in a joint statement. “His superior credentials and achievements, both as a visionary and strategist, make him uniquely qualified to lead this organization forward. Chad has a proven track record of consistently delivering results during his career. That’s something that our community rightly expects and deserves.”

Through an HRC press release, Griffin said he was honored by the HRC board’s decision.

“While there’s no doubt that we’ve made tremendous progress on the road to equality, we must not forget that millions of LGBT Americans still lack basic legal protections and suffer the consequences of discrimination every day,” said Griffin. “Today’s generation of young people, and each generation hereafter, must grow up with the full and equal protection of our laws, and finally be free to participate in the American dream. As HRC president, I’ll approach our work with a great sense of urgency because there are real-life consequences to inaction.”

Log Cabin Republicans National President R. Clarke Cooper called Griffin “a leader who knows achieving victory will require advocacy and champions on both sides of the [partisan] aisle.”

Solmonese, whose contract with HRC was scheduled to end this month, will stay on until Griffin takes the helm June 11.

Griffin was a relative unknown to the LGBT community nationally until he organized the lawsuit, Perry v. Brown, against Proposition 8. He enlisted lead attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, two of the best and best-known attorneys in the country, to take the case, drawing a flood of publicity and optimism to the prospects for success in striking down the ban.

The announcement of that lawsuit drew resistance from many established LGBT legal activists at first. Many thought that taking the marriage issue into federal court — a seemingly inevitable issue for the U.S. Supreme Court — was risky and premature, given the growing conservatism of the high court. They wanted a lawsuit to evolve out of a careful campaign of public education. Even renowned constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe believed the timing was risky. Tensions were so high at one point, Griffin’s legal team opposed the appointment of LGBT legal groups as intervenors in the case, leaving the LGBT community essentially out of the loop in a case that would directly impact it.

But as the litigation developed, Griffin and his litigators began to work with LGBT legal group leaders and the tensions turned quickly into teamwork.

Prior to founding the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), Griffin was a founding partner of the political communications and campaign firm of Griffin|Schein in Los Angeles.

A native of Arkansas, Griffin also worked for a time in the White House communications office of President Bill Clinton.

HRC is perhaps the LGBT national community’s most stable organization, having changed leaders on a fairly consistent basis every six years. The organization was established in 1978 by Steve Endean and hired Washington, D.C., activist Vic Basile as executive director in 1983. Basile was followed by Massachusetts activist Tim McFeeley in 1989, California leader Elizabeth Birch in 1995, Washington operative Joe Solmonese in 2005, and now by Griffin.

© 2012 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

—  John Wright

Anable applying for top spot at HRC

Fairness Fort Worth president knows he is new to the activism game, but says there is no denying his passion for the work

Anable-vertical-1-col

Tom Anable

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

FORT WORTH  — As 2010 came to an end a year ago, longtime CPA and newly minted gay rights activist Tom Anable came to a momentous decision: He decided to sell his accounting business and spend the next year focusing on activism full time.

Now that year is over, and Anable has made another decision that could change his life again: He is applying for the top position at the Human Rights Campaign.

When HRC President Joe Solmonese announced that he was resigning, effective March 2012, Anable said, “My first thought was, ‘I pity the fool who has to try and fill those shoes.’ Now, three months later, I have started the process to apply myself.”

Anable said Thursday afternoon, Jan. 5, that he had sent his resume to the executive recruiting firm hired by HRC to help in the hiring process. Within 30 minutes, he said, he had been called for an in-depth phone interview, after which he was told his resume is being forwarded to the HRC search committee for review.

“I passed step one. Next step will be early February,” Anable said.
For most of his adult life, Anable said, he had focused his attention on his work. He knew he was gay, but he avoided the political and activist side of the LGBT community completely. Then came June 29, 2009, the night that agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and officers with Fort Worth Police Department raided the Rainbow Lounge on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

As the accountant for Rainbow Lounge, Anable was in the bar the night of the raid, checking receipts. What he saw that night left him shaken and scared — and angry. Within days, Anable had stepped across the line into activism and was helping create a new organization, Fairness Fort Worth, that has since helped revitalize the LGBT community in Tarrant County. And Anable spent the last year as Fairness Fort Worth president.

“It’s been a wild 2 ½ years,” Anable said this week.

Anable said that he first began considering applying for the position of HRC president in mid-December after discussions with some HRC board members while he was in Washington, D.C. for meetings.

“They told me I should apply. At first, I thought, no way. But when I read the job description, I realized, hey, I actually am qualified for this job. I actually do meet the qualifications in this job description,” he said.

When he came back home to Fort Worth and discussed the possibility with friends here, Anable said, he got nothing but encouragement in return: “Carol West, Jon Nelson, [Fort Worth Police] Chief Halstead — they all said I should apply.”

Still, Anable said, “It took me at least a week to wrap my head around the idea, to decide whether this is something I really want to do,” he said. “I did a lot of soul-searching about this. It was a very sobering moment for me, an unbelievable moment for me personally, to realize that in just 2 ½ years I have gone from being just a CPA to being an activist and president of Fairness Fort Worth, to the point where I actually feel qualified enough to even think about applying to HRC.”

Anable readily acknowledges that he is very new to the world of activism and nonprofit management, and he acknowledges that he “may not be what they are looking for” when it comes to the HRC presidency.

“But I do believe that I can apply and be seriously considered. I may be new to this, but no one can deny my passion, and this is a passion I have never had for anything in my life before,” Anable said. “Accounting is not something you get passionate about. Doing tax returns is not a passionate calling. But this, activism, this is about passion.”

Anable said that he knows the HRC board has recently completed a strategic assessment to
decide “what kind of leader they want” to bring in to replace Solmonese. “I don’t know what they’ve decided, and I know I may not be it. What are my odds of getting the job? Probably not that good because I haven’t been doing this very long. But I am going to try.

“All I know is that I am going to apply. If I make the first cut, I’ll say, ‘Thank God.’ If I make the second cut, I’ll say, ‘Thank God.’ And if I get the job, I’ll say, ‘Oh, God!’” he laughed. “But if I do get it, I know I will love every minute of it.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Solmonese fears 2012 setback

BTD-Solmonese

LAST NIGHT | Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese speaks at a previous Black Tie Dinner in Dallas. Solmonese will be leaving HRC next March, making this weekend’s event the last Black Tie Dinner he will attend as president of the national LGBT advocacy organization.

Outgoing HRC president says community must fight for Obama

JOHN WRIGHT | Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

Joe Solmonese admits he’s “very concerned” about President Barack Obama’s prospects for re-election.

But Solmonese says he’s equally concerned about how the LGBT community — and his successor at the Human Rights Campaign — would respond if Obama loses.

Solmonese will step down as president of HRC after seven years in March. On Saturday, Nov. 12, he’ll make his final appearance as the group’s president at the Black Tie Dinner, of which HRC is the national beneficiary.

In an interview last month with Dallas Voice, Solmonese focused largely on the importance of 2012 elections, saying that depending on their outcome, major advances during his tenure could be all but erased.

“I don’t think that he’s going to lose,” Solmonese said at one point, attempting to clarify his assessment of Obama’s chances. “I think that if everybody does what they need to do, I think there is just as good a chance that Barack Obama will be re-elected, but I’m as concerned that he could lose.”

Solmonese said Republicans already have a majority in the House, Democrats have only a slim majority in the Senate, and “everything about these [2012] elections points to us having real challenges.”

“I think that if everybody who has gained from the Obama administration does everything they need to do over the course of the next year, he’ll get re-elected,” Solmonese said. “But I would be lying if I said I’m not very concerned about the prospects of him getting re-elected.”

Solmonese said the message he wants to send to the LGBT community is that Obama has done more for us than any other president, and that the movement has seen more gains under the current administration than at any other time in its history.

“If we care about continuing with the forward motion that we’ve experienced, then we as a community need to do everything possible to re-elect Barack Obama,” Solmonese said. “And we can talk about and debate and press the administration on his ability to do more, and him coming out for marriage, or anything else that we want to talk about, but now is the time to sort of decouple that from all of the work we need to put into getting him re-elected. Because at the end of the day, it comes down to a choice, and the choice isn’t even hard for me: It’s Barack Obama or any of these other people who are running against him.”

Despite his concerns about Obama’s chances, Solmonese said he has no misgivings about leaving HRC seven months prior to Election Day. He said he made a commitment to give the organization six months notice, and his contract expires in March.

He said announcing his resignation at the end of August allowed HRC to begin the transition process, which will be completed when his successor takes over, midway through the Republican primary. Solmonese also said he’ll continue to be involved with the organization through next year, assisting with its efforts around the November election.

“I’m a lot more concerned about what happens the morning after the elections,” Solmonese said. “I’m a lot more concerned about this organization and its leader being in the best possible position to navigate those waters, and either we are contemplating a second term with Obama and a continuation of our agenda and perhaps a decidedly different Congress, or we’re contemplating President Mitt Romney and all of the implications that means for our community, and I want whoever is in this seat leading this organization contemplating where we go from there, to have had some time under their belt to figure that out.”

Asked whether that means he believes Romney will be the Republican nominee, Solmonese clarified that anyone claims to know definitively “doesn’t’ know what they’re talking about” — but he added that he thinks the former Massachusetts governor is the “odds-on favorite.”

And while Romney may appear less anti-gay than some other GOP presidential hopefuls, Solmonese called him “someone you have to be careful of” because “he’s essentially beholden to no issue.”

“He adopts a position that works best for the political predicament he finds himself in,” said Solmonese, a Massachusetts native who’s watched Romney’s political career closely. “So, while he was seemingly pro-gay as he attempted to unseat Ted Kennedy, and his rhetoric isn’t harsh and he doesn’t have the same sort of narrative that a Rick Santorum has, he’s effectively said that he doesn’t believe in the repeal of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and that he would support the federal marriage amendment. But what we don’t know, just like we didn’t really anticipate with [President] George [W.] Bush, is how beholden he is going to feel to the hard right once he becomes president.”

It was Bush, of course, whose administration was pushing a federal marriage amendment when Solmonese joined HRC in 2005. The marriage amendment, Solmonese said, represents the worst possible thing that could happen to the LGBT community, because it would enshrine discrimination into the Constitution. And although the threat of the amendment may seem like a distant memory to some, Solmonese warned that it could easily resurface. Which is why, he said, the 2012 elections are the biggest challenge HRC faces going forward.

“I think the elections loom largest because what the elections really represent to me is the potential for us to really stop, potentially derail and ultimately set back a lot of the progress that we’ve made,” Solmonese said. “What also concerns me then is that the community be braced for that, and we understand that we’ve been in these places before, and the measure of who we are and how we’ll be defined, is how we react in those moments, the degree to which we stay in the fight and make sure we continue to press forward regardless of the outcome of the election.”

Solmonese said he fears the progress of the last several years may lead to complacency. And he said based on his experience, when the LGBT community suffers setbacks, instead of regrouping and uniting, people have a tendency to lose their way and point fingers.

“If we lose, if the outcome is negative, if we go from the march toward marriage equality and the repeal of DOMA and the positive direction that we’ve been in, to a president and a Congress who decide they’re so troubled by all the success we’re having with marriage they want to take up the fight again to pass the federal marriage amendment — well, boy, we’ve come full circle from where we were back in 2005, the last time that happened,” he said. “And you can react to that in one of two ways. You can say this is the inevitable ebb and flow of social change, so pull up your boot straps and let’s get going and turn that around again — and understand that that sort of energy that the other side has around something like that is a reaction to their own fear of the progress we’ve made — or you can become very dispirited and depressed and disenfranchised and decide that it’s our own doing, it’s our own lack of progress, it’s our own failing. And that would be the worst possible thing that we could do.”

—  John Wright

Two LGBT workplace conferences coming to Dallas this month

In two weeks, the Out & Equal Workplace Equality Summit will be held at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas. This is expected to be the largest LGBT convention the city ever hosted.

But this weekend another large LGBT conference will take place at the Fairmont Hotel in Downtown Dallas and until today, we knew nothing about it.

Reaching Out is a student-run conference for LGBT MBA candidates and professionals that runs Oct. 13-16.

Theresa Bates-McLemore, president of LEAGUE@AT&T, said her company will be at the conference recruiting new employees. So will more than 50 other major corporations.

About 500 students and 500 professionals are expected at the Fairmont for the convention this weekend. Among the speakers are HRC President Joe Solmonese, CA Technologies executive and LGBT activist Meghan Stabler and Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns.

Organizer Anthony Esposito called the conference, “A forum to empower LGBT MBAs to go out into the workforce and change the workplace.”

A committee of four made up the sponsorship team that put together 77 corporate sponsors including top-level underwriter Target. That company, which got into trouble with the LGBT community last summer for a political donation to an LGBT equality adversary, will sponsor a charity event for the Point Foundation, Esposito said. That organization provides scholarships to LGBT students.

For more about the Out & Equal Workplace Summit at the Anatole Oct. 25-28, watch the Oct. 21 issue of Dallas Voice.

—  David Taffet

Obama vows to ‘keep up the fight’ at HRC dinner in D.C.

LISA KEEN  |  Keen News Service

Before going out to dinner with the First Lady to celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary, President Barack Obama dropped by the Human Rights Campaign’s annual national dinner to vow that he will “keep up the fight” to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and to stop bullying against LGBT youth.

Obama’s 17-minute speech on Saturday evening in Washington was greeted by the standing-room-only crowd of about 3,000 with frequent applause and standing ovations — none bigger than when he reminded the audience that his administration helped repeal the federal law banning openly gay people from the military. Another 1,500 appeared to be viewing HRC’s live webstream of the speech.

He identified six things in all that his administration has accomplished for the LGBT community — repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” passing expanded hate crimes legislation, instituting a policy requiring hospitals receiving federal support allow visitation by same-sex partners, lifting the ban on travel by people with HIV to this country, adopting the “first comprehensive national strategy to fight HIV,” and “no longer defending DOMA in the courts.”

“I believe the law runs counter to the Constitution, and it’s time for it to end once and for all,” said the president. “It should join ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in the history books.”

He promised to do several more things, with the community’s help, including to support a bill in Congress to repeal DOMA, as well as “an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill,” to help young people who are being bullied, and to ensure that Congress does not “turn the clock back” on DADT repeal.

Without being specific, the president gave high praise for the Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese, who will leave his position in March.

“What he has accomplished at the helm of this organization has been remarkable,” said President Obama.

Solmonese delivered what will almost certainly be his last speech before a national LGBT audience Saturday night. And both he and President Obama termed the movement’s responsibility now as “standing by” the administration in its fight to repair the economy by helping pass his American Jobs Act, and only a subtle hint at the help with re-election.

President Obama said he would “continue to fight alongside you — and I don’t just mean in your role, by the way, as advocates for equality.”

“You’re also moms and dads who care about the schools your children go to. You’re also students figuring out how to pay for college. You’re also folks who are worried about the economy and whether or not your partner or husband or wife will be able to find a job. And you’re Americans who want this country to succeed and prosper, and who are tired of the gridlock and the vicious partisanship, and are sick of the Washington games. Those are your fights, too, HRC.”

Without naming them as his potential Republican rivals in the 2012 presidential race, Obama chastised “a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the President of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed.”

That was a reference to an incident during the nationally televised debate on Fox News September 22, when several audience members loudly booed after an active duty soldier in Iraq identified himself as gay and — via YouTube — asked whether the candidates would defend the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“We don’t believe in that,” said Obama. “We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. We don’t believe in them being silent since. You want to be Commander-in-Chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.”

© 2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  John Wright

President Obama set to deliver keynote at HRC dinner; Kerry introduces anti-discrimination bill

President Barack Obama, left, and Sen. John Kerry

Officials with the Human Rights Campaign announced this week that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at HRC’s 15th annual National Dinner on Saturday night, Oct. 1 in Washington, D.C.

This will be the president’s second time to speak at the HRC National Dinner; the first time was in 2009, less than a year after he was elected president.

HRC President Joe Solmonese praised the president’s “tremendous record of accomplishment for LGBT people,” and said that even as we celebrate the final repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the LGBT community must “redouble our efforts for the fights that remain ahead.”

In other news out of D.C., Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts today introduced legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBT people in the housing and credit markets. The Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act would amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or source of income.  It would also amend the Equal Opportunity Credit Act to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in credit decisions.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler is set to introduce the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

In a press release sent out by his office, Kerry said: “It’s hard to believe that in 2011, any law-abiding, tax-paying American who can pay the rent can’t live somewhere just because of who they are. Housing discrimination against LGBT Americans is wrong, but today in most states there isn’t a thing you can do about it. This legislation would end discrimination that continues to hurt people.”

—  admin

HRC statement on Solmonese resignation

Joe Solmonese

On Friday night we told you about a report from Pam Spaulding saying Joe Solmonese planned to resign as president of the Human Rights Campaign. Since then, we’ve learned that the report was mostly accurate. Solmonese does plan to step down, but not until March 31 of next year. And his replacement has not yet been selected. In the wake of Spaulding’s report, HRC released a statement announcing Solmonese’s resignation this afternoon. Below is the full text:

—  John Wright

UPDATED: Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese to step down next March

Joe Solmonese

Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend is reporting that Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese will announce Tuesday that he plans to step down from the organization in December.

Spaulding says she obtained the information “from a trusted source in a position to know the details.”

She reports that Solmonese’s replacement has been identified. It’s someone not currently on HRC’s staff but who’s worked with the organization as a consultant for some time. She also says Solmonese’s departure will signal a larger staff shakeup at HRC.

Solmonese was named HRC president in March 2005 after serving as CEO of EMILY’s List.

UPDATE: The Washington Blade is reporting that Solmonese will step down when his current contract ends on March 31, 2012. HRC is expected to release a statement this afternoon announcing Solmonese’s decision, according to The Blade.

Both the Blade and MetroWeekly are reporting that Solmonese’s replacement has not yet been selected.

—  John Wright

House committee adopts anti-gay amendments

Aubrey Sarvis

Amendments not likely to pass in the Senate, but could resurface in conference committee

LISA KEEN | Keen News Service
lisakeen@me.com

The full U.S. House Armed Services Committee approved three amendments late Wednesday night, May 11, that seek to delay implementation of repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and to reiterate Congress’s support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

The votes were largely along partisan lines and are unlikely to be sustained in the Democratic-controlled Senate, even if they are approved by the Republican-dominated House.

But the question is whether they might survive a Senate-House conference committee, when compromises have to be hammered out between two increasingly contentious parties.

None of the proposed amendments sought to undo what Congress did last December when it passed legislation to repeal the military’s ban on openly gay people, but each provided yet another forum for debate over repeal.

The committee debated for more than 40 minutes on an amendment over whether to require that each of the chiefs of the four combat branches of the military provide written certification to Congress before repeal can be implemented. The amendment passed 33-27.

Committee members then debated for less than 20 minutes on an amendment to reiterate that the Defense of Marriage Act applies to the military. The amendment passed 39-22.

And they debated for 13 minutes on an amendment to reiterate that decisions concerning use of military facilities and personnel for conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies are governed by DOMA. That amendment passed 38-23.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, called the amendments “an assault on our nation’s senior military leaders and rank-and-file service members, who are marching toward open military service successfully.

“These adopted amendments to delay and derail repeal are a partisan political attempt to interject the same-sex marriage debate and other unrelated social issues into the [budget authorization legislation] where they have no place,” said Sarvis.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the amendments were intended “to slow down open service and perpetuate scare tactics about the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

Three different Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee proposed the amendments during the full House Armed Services Committee consideration of the annual bill authorizing how the Department of Defense can spend its funding. The overall bill is known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (or bill Number H.R. 1540). Fiscal Year 2012 begins Oct. 1.

San Diego Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter first introduced his measure, called the “Restore Military Readiness Act,” as a stand-alone bill, in January. It has 25 co-sponsors.

It seeks to require that certification of military readiness to implement repeal of the ban on gays in the military be done by the chiefs of the four branches of the military, in addition to the certifications already required from the president, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hunter, in debate, claimed that “60 to 70 percent” of Navy Seals oppose repeal of DADT. The Seals have been the subject of enormous public attention and praise recently, after successfully capturing and killing terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.

San Diego Democrat Rep. Susan Davis, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee which received Hunter’s original measure, reminded the full committee that the four service branch chiefs testified at Congressional hearings that they believe their views are heard and respected by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia, lamented that the House continues to debate DADT repeal.

“Having openly gay people serve in our military is not apocalypse,” said Johnson, “it’s a sign of progress.”

He also reminded committee members that when President Truman moved to integrate the military, there were some who opposed it.

“I think it’s a similar situation here with ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” said Johnson.

Ohio Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan read a letter from a gay veteran from World War II, supporting repeal of DADT.

Currently, President Obama, Gates and Mullen are expected to certify the military as ready to implement repeal of DADT this summer. The repeal would then take effect 60 days later.

Given how difficult it has been for the Senate and House to agree on budget matters in recent months, it seems possible that the 60-day waiting period will expire and DADT will be repealed long before a Senate-House conference committee will have a chance to tackle the issues.

The second amendment came from Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler. It seeks to emphasize that DOMA still applies to DOD regulations and policies.

Hartzler said the amendment would address situations such as the recent conflict over whether Navy chaplains could preside over same-sex marriages and allow such ceremonies to take place on military bases.

Rep. Randy Forbes, a Republican from Virginia, and others claimed the amendment was necessary because the Obama administration was “not enforcing” DOMA, so it is necessary to reiterate Congress’s support for the law. No one spoke to correct that claim.

The Obama administration made clear it would continue enforcing DOMA until such time as the courts may find it unconstitutional. But it did say it would no longer defend DOMA as passing all constitutional levels of scrutiny in all federal courts.

The third amendment, from Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin, would prevent the use of military facilities or personnel for marriage ceremonies between same-sex couples.

Akin’s amendment, like that of Hartzler, was in reaction to an April 13 memo from the Navy’s Chief of Chaplains recommending military facilities be available for use at same-sex marriage ceremonies in states where marriage licenses are available to same-sex couples. The chief also recommended military chaplains be allowed to participate in such ceremonies, if their religious beliefs allow them to.

But on Tuesday, May 10, Navy Chaplain Chief Mark Tidd “suspended” his earlier recommendations, saying they needed to undergo “additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination.”

ABC News reported that a group of 63 Republicans had sent a letter to the Secretary of Navy, expressing objections to Tidd’s initial recommendations.

“Make no mistake,” said SLDN’s Sarvis, “these votes should be a wake-up call to supporters of open service that our work is not done. Our commitment to timely certification and repeal must be redoubled as we move to the House floor to defend the progress we have made to ensure that LGB patriots can defend and serve the country they love with honesty and integrity.”

Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Mississippi Republican, was reportedly ready to introduce an amendment to delay implementation of DADT repeal in order to develop and issue new regulations concerning how to handle service members who have religious or moral objections to openly gay people in the military. He did not do so.

© 2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  John Wright