AP: ‘The rejection was a defeat for Obama… in recent weeks the White House has done little to push’ repeal

Associated Press:

The rejection was a defeat for Obama, who campaigned promising to overturn the law and later called it one of his top legislative priorities for the year. But in recent weeks the White House has done little to push the legislation, focusing its influence instead on tax cuts and a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

Can’t say we didn’t warn them.

Obviously, this is resonating at the White House. Jake Tapper just did a two-part tweet that reads:

WH spox: POTUS “committed to working with Congress to achieve a repeal of #DADT this year


and is “willing to explore all legislative options to reach this goal during the lame duck session.” 2/2 #DADT

We need to see the President sending this message — not a spokesperson. And, we need to see hear and see the President make the statement, not get it by email.

President Obama should know by now that the disillusionment is justified.


—  admin

Sec. of Education issues statement on recent gay suicides

It’s a good strong statement. At first I was impressed. Then I read Geoff Kors’ response, and Geoff is right. You can’t be against intolerance “in all its forms” when your own administration supports intolerance.

And it’s not just marriage.  The Obama administration is opposing our civil rights in court case after court case.  And before anyone says “they have no choice,” remember last year when the Obama administration refused to even sit down with our community’s lawyers to talk through DOMA?


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released the following statement:

“This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.

“This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

And here is Geoff Kors’ statement:

Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors writes to this list:

“If the Administration truly wants harassment and bullying to stop our self proclaimed ‘fierce advocate’ needs to stop saying he opposes true equality as his opposition to marriage equality sends a message that our relationships and LGBT people are not deserving of the same protections as he and the majority enjoy. What kind of message does that send to LGBT youth or to those who might harass them?”

I’ve said it before. Had the Obama administration been our fierce advocate on our top issues, had they repealed DADT, signed ENDA into law, and repealed DOMA – hell, had they done even one of those things – I think people might look at this statement from the Secretary of Education as historic.

But it’s not historic, because it’s all we’re going to get as our young people keep killing themselves: Words.

Want to show you care? Do something.


—  John Wright

Rewriting recent history, NY Times now reports Mehlman ‘tended to avoid social issues’

This deification of Ken Mehlman over his recently discovered homosexuality is already getting absurd.

Tonight, Michael Luo from the New York Times absolved Ken Mehlman from any involvement in George Bush’s fiercely homophobic campaign back in 2004:

Mr. Mehlman was in Mr. Bush’s inner circle in both presidential campaigns, and ran his campaign in 2004. But Mr. Mehlman, in his work as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as head of Mr. Bush’s campaign, tended to avoid social issues, arguing that they would undercut the Republican Party’s efforts to expand its appeal.

I’m not sure how Mr. Luo determined the Mehlman “tended to avoid social issues.” Maybe Luo took Mr. Mehlman at his word (just like reporters took Mehlman at his word when he said he wasn’t gay.)

But, perhaps Luo should have at least checked the archives of his own newspaper. For example, there’s this story from James Dao from November 4, 2004:

Proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in many of the 11 states where the measures appeared on the ballot on Tuesday, political analysts say, providing crucial assistance to Republican candidates including President Bush in Ohio and Senator Jim Bunning in Kentucky….the ballot measures also appear to have acted like magnets for thousands of socially conservative voters in rural and suburban communities who might not otherwise have voted, even in this heated campaign, political analysts said. And in tight races, those voters – who historically have leaned heavily Republican – may have tipped the balance.

Hmmm. Who came up with that strategy. Well, maybe if Luo googled something like “mehlman” “gay marriage” 2004, he would have found this:

According to religious leaders, the conference calls with White House officials started early in the Bush administration and became a weekly ritual as the campaign heated up. Usually, the participants were Rove or Tim Goeglein, head of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Later, Bush campaign chairman Ken Mehlman and Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and the campaign’s southeast regional coordinator, were often on the line.

Yes, Mehlman was in the thick of it. I don’t think that strategy decided the election, but Mehlman and his colleagues used it.

Luo might have found this, too, from 2006:

“I think the issue was injected when a liberal court in Massachusetts said they were going to redefine a 200 year old institution in this country by judicial fiat,” said Mehlman, who also endorses a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — political catnip for the Christian Right.

See, we gays tend to see using those strategies and that kind of language as engaging in social issues, specifically anti-gay engagement.

So, let’s not rewrite history. Many of us remember vividly how the Bush campaign, managed by Ken Mehlman, used gay baiting and gay bashing as a core part of its strategy. It was ugly. And, it happened.

I get that Mehlman is now trying to make amends. After what he did to the gay community in 2004, he has a long way to go.


—  John Wright

Covington, KY is taking a stand against recent anti-gay hate crimes

There have been a series of anti-gay attacks in Covington, Kentucky over the past few weeks:

Recent crimes targeting gay people in Covington spurred the Covington City Commission and more than 80 people to gather Tuesday at city hall to decry hate crimes and reaffirm support for the human rights ordinance the city passed in 2003.

Police said they have increased patrols in MainStrasse and will start tracking incidents of ethnic and anti-gay slurs and hate speech.

A group of residents has also formed “Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes in Covington” and will host an event at six bars in MainStrasse on Saturday to raise money for an anti-hate campaign.

“We have had three incidents in the last several months and it has got to stop now, said Mayor Denny Bowman.

When a local tv reporter was doing a story on this issue — at mid-day in the downtown area — occupants of two cars yelled anti-gay slurs as they drove by. Video here.

But, as the mayor said, it has to stop. One recent attack seems to have galvanized the community and residents are organizing against the hate. Check out the facebook page for Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes in Covington. It’s already got over 1200 fans. And, I got a press release and flier from the organizers of “Covington’s Night Out: A Night of United Community”::

Although there have been multiple instances in the area of violence aimed at gays, the recent attack by two men against two local women has shocked the entire Covington community into taking action. What began as a concern for gays & lesbians in the area has gained support from all members of the Covington community.

Around 1:00 am on Sunday August 15, a group of people were assaulted at the corner of Pike St. and Main St. near Yadda Club, a well known gay bar. The perpetrators, one tattooed with swasticas and a white supremacy mark, yelled hate slurs aimed at gays and lesbians. One of the women was beaten, and several bystanders who came to the rescue were knifed.

The attack drew sympathy and support from all members of the community, who began organizing to make a change. The facebook page “Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes in Covington” clearly shows the attitude of the community, having reached over 1,100 supporters in the 10 days since it was created.

Now the group of concerned residents, patrons, and business owners are taking that energy and outrage forward in a positive way by creating an ongoing campaign to empower the community as a whole to embrace diversity, promote tolerance, and end violence and hate of any kind through education and communication.

Saturday August 28th ,“Covington’s Night Out: A Night of United Community” will be the first event associated with this movement. Six of the predominantly gay or gay-friendly bars in the Pike St. and Mainstrasse area will team up with the Covington Police Department to reclaim the streets as LGBT friendly, and raise funds for an ongo- ing campaign.

Turns out, the sister of one of my friends was a victim of that August 15th attack. She’s okay and has been instrumental in organizing the response.

The hate crimes really, really suck. The community response is really, really encouraging. Go Covington.


—  John Wright