Socarides on how gay marriage has become a pro-gay litmus test, and on why Obama has to endorse marriage equality now

From Richard Socarides, a former top aide to President Clinton, who has guest blogged on AMERICAblog Gay before.

[W]here you stand on the issue of marriage has become a kind of political litmus test for gay voters on whether you support full or partial equality. It is now seen as a proxy for whether you believe gays and lesbians are entitled to full dignity, respect and inclusion in every aspect of American society. And whether, in essence, our struggle for equality is worthy as a civil rights movement. Just saying you are for equal rights will no longer cut it.

Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case in California, said immediately after the ruling: “Today we begin the process of saying to the millions of people who are made to feel ostracized, besieged, bullied and ashamed of how God made them — be who you are, love who you love and marry who you wish to marry.”

That is not someone talking about just a marriage license…




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Citibank says Web site not so 'Fabulis'

The Advocate.com is reporting that Citibank may be in some hot water after someone at the bank shut down, without notice, the business checking account of a new online gay social networking and travel site, Fabulis.com, before the site even went online. Bank employees reportedly told Fabulis founder Jason Goldberg that the account had been frozen due to the “objectionable content” on the site’s blog, which was operating prior to the site’s launch.

What was the objectionable content? Mainly photos of men in hoodies printed with the word “Fabulis.” As Advocate.com reports: Two other bank representatives said Fabulis’s content was not in line with Citibank’s standards and the banking relationship would be terminated — even though the pre-launch blog features no sex, nudity, or violence.”

Of course, once somebody started complaining, someone else from Citibank called Goldberg — who by the way is also the founder of Jobster.com — to apologize most profusely and to assure him that whoever told him there was a problem with the site’s content was just wrong. The bank even issued a statement today saying it had to do with a tecnical error and some incomplete paperwork and everything is fine now and Goldberg is a valuable customer, etc.

Richard Socarides, former LGBT advisor to President Clinton who is also a Fabulis board member, surmised that perhaps some people at the bank couldn’t handle the videos by young LGBT people talking about coming out and living as out LGBT people.  (He said the videos had been sent in as part of a contest asking people to talk about their lives, and maybe it was all just too “jarring” for some at Citibank.)

Socarides also noted that Citibank has a good record on LGBT issues nad has consistently received a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. But, he added, “if the frontline customer service people at the bank are not educated on these [gay-inclusive] policies, it doesn’t do anyone good.”

It all sounds, as Socarides said, rather “fishy.”

—  admin

Would he or wouldn't he? He did – and he didn't

Would President Barack Obama address the issue of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when he delivered his first state of the union address tonight? And if he did, how far would he go?

Those were the questions national LGBT activists were asking in the days leading up to the president’s speech tonight. The answers? Yes — and no.

The man who during his campaign described himself as a “fierce advocate” of the LGBT community tonight once again called on Congress to repeal DADT. But he didn’t say anything about suspending discharges under the policy until it can be repealed. And he didn’t set any deadline for addressing the issue.

“This year I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do,” the president said.

His statement drew a standing ovation from Congress and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But many LGBT activists were not impressed.

Richard Socarides, an advisor to former President Bill Clinton – the man who signed DADT into law – told The Washington Post that just talking about ending the ban “without a moratorium on the witch hunts and expulsions and without even a plan for future action just won’t cut it. Look, we are not second-class citizens and our rights are not second-term problems.”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said: “The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight.”

So, tell us what you think. Was it enough? Or should he have gone further? Is this the issue to push the president on now? What do you think?

—  admin