Greg Sargent: DADT language could pass ‘if the Dem leadership tries to make it happen’

Via Greg Sargent, news that passing the DADT language is possible, but it will take some commitment from the Majority Leader:

It’s widely assumed that the White House and Dems will punt on holding a vote on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during the lame duck session because there aren’t 60 votes for it in the Senate to get it past a GOP filibuster. Senator Carl Levin, who heads the relevant committee, is talking about separating out DADT repeal from the Defense Authorization Bill for precisely this reason.

But very plugged in staffers who are actively involved in counting votes for Senators who favor repeal tell me it’s premature to conclude this — and that it could still get 60 votes in the Senate. These staffers tell me they’ve received private indications from a handful of moderate GOP Senators that they could vote for cloture on a Defense Authorization Bill with DADT repeal in it — if Dem leaders agree to hold a sustained debate on DADT on the Senate floor.

Here’s why this is important: It throws the ball back into the court of Senator Harry Reid and the White House. It means the onus is on them, mainly on Reid, to agree to a two-week Senate debate on the bill, including allowing amendments. Reid had previously tried to limite amendments, leading GOP moderates to balk. And Dem leaders may not want to allow this two week debate now, because time is short and it could prolong the session. But they should do it, because it’s the only real chance to get repeal done. And it could get done.

The GOP Senators who are in play, according to these staffers, are Richard Lugar, George Voinovich, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. A spokesman for Lugar, Mark Helmke, tells me that Lugar would vote for cloture if Reid staged “ordered debate on a number of issues in the bill.”

Our allies, from the White House to Capitol Hill, keep saying they want to pass the Defense bill with the DADT language intact. Okay, do it.

This means that Congress can’t go home on December 10th. Senators will may have to work right up til Christmas, you know, like most Americans do (and, unlike most Americans, those Senators can’t change their plane reservations without penalties and most don’t have to worry about finding a parking space at the airport.)

There are two other developments worth noting. Greg Sargent also reports:

Sources also tell me that senators Joe Lieberman, Mark Udall and Kirsten Gillibrand will hold a press conference tomorrow urging the Dem leadership to allow the final two-week debate, arguing that this still can happen. This is no small thing: They are urging their own party leadership to do this.

And, via Kerry Eleveld, according to the White House, the President and his staffers are making calls to Senators:

“Today, President Obama called Chairman [Carl] Levin to reiterate his commitment on keeping the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the National Defense Authorization Act, and the need for the Senate to pass this legislation during the lame duck. The President’s call follows the outreach over the past week by the White House to dozens of Senators from both sides of the aisle on this issue.”


—  admin

Query • 11.05.10

How will Tuesday’s elections affect the LGBT community?


Karen McCrocklin — “Now, more then ever, we need to make progress personal. Changing hearts and minds is the most effective on a one-to-one basis. Whatever the political climate, we can continue to create change by living openly, authentically and unapologetically.”

Jade Esteban Estrada — “Many LGBT community members will step up and see how easy it is to lose our recent gains and will become more passionate in their leadership, visibility and activism. I believe it will stir the pot and get them more involved.”

Wendy North — “It will make people either move to Canada or get working to effect change. Write opinions to the paper, social media or tell everyone you know how you feel. Change happens slowly. Start now!”

Terry Loftis — “Nationally things will move forward albeit probably at a slower pace than before. I don’t think the American public see our efforts as the big threat.”


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Gay Dad Denied Scout Leadership Post

CubScoutsx180 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comA Dallas father was denied a leadership post with his son’s Cub Scouts pack because he is gay. Daily News

—  John Wright

4th consecutive poll shows majority of Texans support either civil unions or gay marriage

The 2010 Texas Lyceum poll was released Tuesday, and for the second straight year, more than half of respondents said they support some form of legal relationship status for same-sex couples — whether it be civil unions or marriage.

According to the poll of 725 adult Texans from Sept. 22-30, 24 percent support civil unions, 28 percent support same-sex marriage, and 40 percent oppose both civil unions and gay marriage. That means a total of 52 percent support some form of relationship recognition, with 8 percent apparently not responding to the question.

This support for relationship recognition is actually down from the 2009 Lyceum poll, when 57 percent said they supported either marriage or civil unions, and only 36 percent opposed both.

But it marks the fourth consecutive statewide poll to show that a majority of Texans support either civil unions or marriage.

As Texas Politics Project Director Jim Henson put it in February: “This seems to be rapidly becoming not a question of what’s in public opinion. What’s in public opinion is becoming kind of a settled issue. Now the question is one of leadership and politics.”

—  John Wright

Daily Kos diary: ‘Who Are The LGBT Community?’ I ask: how do we address leadership?

There is a must-read diary over at DKos by GLBT and Friends that covers some ground that we discuss here in the coffeehouse fairly often – can we define a single view of what the LGBT community is? And even if we can’t all agree on what “the community” is, who is currently effectively representing it? The logical and thorny extension of the latter is who is now qualified to represent the LGBT community.

The African American civil rights movement has a similar history in its organizational development. The early organizations of the Urban League and the NAACP were born in the progressive era and originally partook of the rather paternalistic philosophy of the times. The membership was composed of middle class African Americans and their middle class white allies. The ferment of the 60s had a similar impact on that movement as well. New organizations such as CORE and SNCC came along to challenge the leadership and philosophy of the older groups.

Up until recently The Human Rights Campaign has attempted to present itself as the voice of the LGBT community. Its primary focus has been on fund raising for political campaign contributions. It has always had a preference for glitzy fund raising events attended by designer clothed celebrities. They were pursuing the beltway inside track. Since they were providing politicians with money and very modest requests for social change they made non-threatening mascots for the Democratic Party. The Republicans had the Log Cabin Republicans who followed a similar approach. More recently there has been a growing impatience with such a gradualist approach and organizations with a more aggressive approach have emerged. Two groups that have been very publicly visible are The Service Members Legal Defense Network and Get Equal.

There are literally hundreds of LGBT organizations in the US. Many of them are focused on particular types of associations such as professional, occupational or religious interest. Others are limited to particular geographic locations such as cities or states. There are several that have focused on providing specialized legal support such as Lambda Legal and The National Center For Lesbian Rights. Also the ACLU has a special section dealing with LGBT rights issues.

There really aren’t any organizations that can plausibly claim to speak for all LGBT people.

And the plethora of LGBT advocacy groups shows you that it is not possible; however the reality is we all know that if there is breaking news about the LGBT community, the tattered rolodexes of lazy producers usually means a call to HRC’s Joe Solmonese. Notable recent exceptions were the Prop 8 verdict, where more air time was given to Freedom To Marry’s Evan Wolfson, and attorneys Olsen and Boies, as well as legal analysts; and for DADT, usually the MSM turned to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network or organizations directly tied to repeal.

What the diary also touched upon, but did not delve deeply into was the red alert item of class and its impact on both public perception of the community and who represents the face of LGBT America.  The luxury of time and money means many who are working in the movement are likely 1) single, 2) have no children, 3) are independently wealthy or committed to the cause and willing to work for less than they could in the private sector (see “Between Floating and Leeching: The Financial Struggle of the LGBT Activist“).

More below the fold — addressing failed leadership.
If you’re in a leadership position, money obviously isn’t the problem as EDs are compensated at a higher rate than the average working stiff, but being tied into the “A-list” political network is critical, and it’s often less how much you know, but who you know. That’s no different than the rarified air in corporate America, it’s just less frequently acknowledged as creating the gulf between leadership and those they purport to represent.

That’s not, however, a call for pay cuts or heads to roll for poor, middling, or great performance, it’s to point out the class glass ceiling for many potential leaders at the grassroots who are closed off from these networks. That’s how the cycle of stale, clueless thinking occurs. It results in poor judgment at the top about “the community’s” reaction to a recommendation by an organization. There’s no one in that stale-air network that is capable of doing a “smell test” regarding an initiative.

It happens to almost every “change agent” organization at some point; good leadership seeks challenges to convention to keep adept and nimble in its mission. Poor leaders attempt to stifle or ignore change because of fear of loss of power or access. The strange thing about the latter is that in this mode, the weakness in leadership is quite obvious to the very people an organization is attempting to influence, or change policy or raise money from. That leads to isolation, a defensive posture, and ultimately one is discredited or a leader is toppled.

Of course that doesn’t solve the problem of an organization in distress — that leader is usually replaced by someone breathing the same stale air and nothing fundamentally changes.

That’s what spurs renegade organizations to form because they see the system is broken and too incestuous to change.

And that’s why there are simply too many organizations; we are a diverse, fairly non-cohesive population trying to stay banded together politically when class, race and cultural diversity can and does sometimes work against that by default.

It doesn’t mean it’s an insurmountable matter, it only underscores that those who lead need a level of self-awareness and self-disclosure that is uncommon – too many of us don’t like to examine our privilege (or lack thereof) in the context of how we lead and what barriers may need to be broken down to do an effective job.

And I doubt that is a question asked in any interview.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright