Saturday, October 9, 2010

Take the Pledge: "We'll Give When We GETEqual" (video)

I recently responded to an email fund raising solicitation from Sen. Mark Warner's (D-VA) office by telling them that I would start giving when they start making good on their promises to the LGBT community. I specifically mentioned the long, slow delay tactic on DADT study and the lack of movement on ENDA and DOMA repeal.

I got a response from Sen. Warner's office thanking me for making my views known. He proceeded to quote me the history of DADT and it's origins in 1993, when Bill Clinton didn't have the balls to repeal the outright ban on open service. Then he wrote the following:
"I support repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in an orderly way, working with members of the uniformed services and our military leadership. Given the complexity and sensitivity of the matter, I believe we must place great weight on the opinions of our military leadership and ensure that we are treating all service members with dignity and respect."
My response to the senator is this: 

Do not lecture a 50-year-old gay man, who's been out for over 30 years, on LGBT history. I lived it. 

As for, "ensure that we are treating all service members with dignity and respect."   

Be the leader that you were elected to be and start treating all service members with dignity and respect right now! How can you advocate foot-dragging, when 80% of Americans from both parties support DADT repeal?

Over the summer, I attended a meeting at Sen. Warner's office arranged by Frank House of Roanoke Equality. Several other leaders of the LGBT community were in attendance. Also in attendance were Louise (Lou) Kadiri from the senator's Roanoke office and Legislative Counsel, Beatriz Ibarra, who meets with Senator Warner on a daily basis.

Frank House pointed out that Warner's history on LGBT issues has been mixed, but that Warner has never sponsored or cosponsored any legislation that supports equality. Ms. Ibarra didn't have much to say except the party line about waiting for the Pentagon Working Group study is complete.

As I've written before, when I asked Ms. Ibarra about some of the big developments that happened over the summer, like the overturning of Prop 8, the GetEqual protests at the DC and in-district offices of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and the Don't Ask, Don't Give campaign, launched last year to tell the DNC that the GayTM is closed. She was not aware of any of Lt. Dan Choi's dismissal from the armed forces under DADT or any other important developments that took place this year.

I don't think it's a stretch to assume that if Senator Warner's legislative assistant, who meets with him several times a day at staff meetings and one-on-one knows nothing of LGBT issues, that we are not even on the senator's radar. It's time to get his and the rest of the DNC's attention.

GETEqual has taken it up a notch with their kick off of their We'll Give When We GETEqual campaign.  The site includes the following video message and a pledge you can sign that reads:
For too long, LGBT Americans and straight allies have donated to and volunteered for political parties that have promised the world and delivered nothing. For too long, we have have been counted on to fund candidates who, time and time again, vote against our equality. We’re tired of being taken advantage of and we’re tired of broken promises. We’ll give and we’ll volunteer when we GetEQUAL.

I pledge that I will not support a political party or political committee that is funding anti-equality candidates, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Organizing for America (OFA), Republican National Committee (RNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Democratic Governors Association (DGA), and Republican Governors Association (RGA)
I agree with this message and agree that we have to suck it up and stop supporting parties and candidates that fail to support us through their actions. I've taken the pledge and I hope you will too.

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