The DNC is reaching out to LGBT voters, but that job got a lot tougher this week

Posted on 05 Aug 2010 at 7:44pm

The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson wrote an article about the DNC’s outreach to the LGBT community, noting the speech from the DNC’s Executive Director Jennifer O’Malley Dillon to Stonewall Democrats last weekend.

But, there’s a big hurdle: Barack Obama. With the exception of the usual apologists, lobbyists and job-seekers, the statements from the White House in the wake of the Prop. 8 decision won’t make the DNC’s job any easier. Obama’s opposition to marriage equality is going to be a HUGE obstacle in the LGBT community. The reelection campaign (which may be run by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina) probably does not care about that right now, but they will. It’s going to be tough to sell “separate, but equal” to people who are demanding nothing less than full equality.

Anyway, Chris interviewed John before the White House’s post-Prop. 8 decision debacle:

But discontent among many LGBT voters persists. And a continuing effort LGBT bloggers launched last year, called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Give,” urges LGBT people to withhold donations from the Democratic Party until more pro-LGBT bills are passed.

Leading the DNC boycott is John Aravosis, editor of Americablog.com, who’s asking readers to sign a pledge saying they will only contribute money to the Democratic Party after President Obama signs ENDA into law, and signs repeals of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Aravosis said at the start of this year that he didn’t feel inclined to whip the effort because signs had emerged that Congress would pass “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and ENDA. The situation changed, though, as the year progressed.

“ENDA is now nowhere to be seen and no one thinks it’s passing both houses by the election — even though we were promised,” he said. “On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the legislation being discussed isn’t full repeal. It isn’t the repeal at all, even though it’s being sold that way. It’s not even clear if the legislation is going to pass anyway at this point.”

Aravosis dismissed the notion that outreach from the Democratic National Committee could be any substitute for the advancement of these issues.

“It’s a very 1990s strategy from the DNC,” he said. “They think showing face to the gay community — simply showing up at our events is going to buy our voters and buy our money because we should be so honored that they would deign to visit us.”

The whole approach of Team Obama to LGBT equality seems very 1990s. And, again, this interview happened before the Prop. 8 decision.

Besides, Don’t Ask, Don’t Give, we also started a campaign to get Obama on board with marriage equality. You can sign our open letter to President Obama asking him to come out in support of full marriage equality. It’s time for Obama to get on the right side of history. And, we have to let him know that’s where he needs to be. Obama’s political team has to understand that we’re not going to be taken for granted in 2012. The response has already been quite astounding. In just 24 hours, we’ve had thousands of people sign it.

But, it’s 2010, not 2012. There are elections this year and a lot of our allies need help. John and Bilerico’s Jerame Davis agree on the strategy for the midterm elections. Help our real friends:

Aravosis said the best donation tactic that LGBT people can use as the November election approaches is to support candidates “who are proven to be pro-gay and proven to have come through for us.”

“That means support Democrats who actually have fought for us, or, [get behind] those Republicans who have fought for us, although I’m not convinced there’s too many,” he said.

Davis said this approach is the best way to ensure that a majority in Congress supportive of LGBT rights is in place.

“So, the way I see it is this: find a good friend that you think is going to advocate for our issues well, and that’s where you should put your money,” Davis said.




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