Pam Spaulding has more.
The role of HRC in pressing the WH
The largest LBGT organization in the country, the Human Rights Campaign -- with nearly a million members, according to president and executive director Joe Solmonese -- is seen by the White House, Congress, and the mainstream media as the community's official representative inside the Beltway. HRC had the ear of the White House -- attending strategy meetings on LGBT policy, and appeared numerous times at public social and political events, such as the signing of the hate crimes bill.
While many in the LGBT community have criticized HRC on many occasions (including yours truly), the motivation, at least on my part, I cannot speak for others, is that its position and responsibility is so critical now that we have an administration that has made promises --and dodged action.
If DADT is not repealed in 2010, you're not going to see it happen in this administration's first term. Between retirements, deaths, and poor leadership, Democratic control of Congress is in jeopardy this year. When Scott Brown won the "Ted Kennedy" seat in Massachusetts, you saw a distinct panic and desire to move to the middle, a signal that hot button issues (read: civil rights for LGBTs) were going to be submerged, deemed too controversial. The administration cannot guarantee there will be a second term either.
Repealing DADT is not controversial with the public -- polls have been strongly in favor of repeal for some time now with Colin Powell and Dick Cheney of all people calling for repeal. There is no reason for timidity in calling for accountability now that Secretary of Defense Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullen have called for this policy to end.
Tax-paying LGBTs have pulled out their wallets for the Human Rights Campaign for years, waiting for the day their investment would result in action once a gay-friendly administration and Congress were finally in place. Now is the time time to act. We need the full force of HRC flexing its political muscle to call for the President to publicly press for repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
If we have "White House officials" floating that it could take years before repeal, then we know there is not leadership going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But we do know that repeal of DADT could be included in the Defense Budget he sends to Congress soon if pressed to do so.
What can you do?
This is a call for you to tell HRC that it's time to use its role and reach in an assertive, public manner as other organizations -- such as the AFL-CIO -- have had to do to move its issues onto the priority list of this White House.
HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723