Pam Spaulding

The latest on the flailing gay DNC fundraiser as more attendees drop out

Filed By Pam Spaulding | June 19, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: DOMA, gay rights, LGBT community, Obama Administration, President Obama, same-sex marriage, Stampp Corbin

I've been out of the loop for the last 24+ hours, so a lot has happened regarding 1) the blowback on the DOMA brief, and 2) the meltdown of the gay DNC fundraiser next week, as the list of those bailing on the gala hosted by Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis featuring VP Joe Biden.

Here are a few links for you (and me, since I have to catch up):

And about that DNC fundraiser...

Let's take a look at who is and is not attending using the "10,400 sq. foot spa" e-blast from Andy Tobias:

If you can't make the date, take a rain check and help anyway? SUZE ORMAN just signed on that way. ELIZABETH BIRCH signed on that way. Lots of others.

If you CAN make the date, you'll be joining the Vice President of the United States . . .

. . . along with Virginia Governor / DNC Chair Tim Kaine . . . immediate past DNC Chair Howard Dean . . . Chairman Barney Frank . . . Representatives Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis . . . Vermont Senate President Pete Shumlin . . . District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty . . . David Mixner . . . Richard Socarides . . . The Task Force's Rea Carey . . . HRC's Marty Rouse . . . ESPA's Alan Van Capelle . . . GLAD's Mary Bonauto . . . NBJC's Alexander Robinson . . . GMHC's Marjorie Hill . . . The Victory Fund's Chuck Wolfe . . . Towle Road's Andy Towle . . . Iraq Marine vet Brian Fricke (whom you may have seen on 60 Minutes) . . . Billy Bean . . . Joan Garry . . . Keith Boykin . . . Ray Buckley . . . Brian Johnson . . . Corey Johnson . . . Dixon Osburn . . . Paul Smith . . . Bruce Bastian . . . Mitchell Gold . . . Krystal Ball . . . and so many others, like YOU, who have been pushing the ball down the field for so long. (Well, Krystal is fairly new to this, but what a kick to have a pro-marriage CPA triathlete young mom running to unseat a conservative Republican in Virginia.)

It would mean a great deal to have you with us:

Did I mention that the Mandarin Oriental has a 10,400-square-foot spa?

The National Stonewall Dems pulled support from the event; it won't encourage its members to attend.

I can report the latest addition to the strikeout list is GLAD's Mary Bonauto; look for her upcoming guest post to the Blend explaining why she will not be attending the DNC dinner.

And this one has to hurt -- also bailing is former Co-Chair of the Obama LGBT Leadership Council during the 2008 campaign, Stampp Corbin. The San Diego City Commissioner has written an op-ed that passionately and rationally explains why the DOMA brief crossed a line with the community. He gave me permission to share it with you.

The DOMA brief ruined everything
by Stampp Corbin

When it comes to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equal rights, it has been a schizophrenic week for the Obama administration. Last Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed LGBT Department of Justice employees at a Pride celebration held in the building. Holder said "...neither the frustrations of the past, nor the challenges of the future should deter us from our goal - our responsibility - to continue our efforts to ensure the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans."

Last Thursday, the Attorney General filed a legal brief in a California federal case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that made arguments that compared same sex marriage to incest. Thursday, President Obama announced the extension of some benefits to LGBT federal employees; just not the most coveted ones, like health care and pension benefits. Oh that's right, Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents that and you just wrote a legal brief defending it. When I wake up each morning, I feel a bit schizophrenic myself, "I love Obama, I hate Obama, I am ambivalent about Obama." It's maddening.

Someone get me a Prozac.

I ask, "Mr. President how can you argue for the legality of DOMA, when you are for its repeal?"

You really are talking out of both sides of your mouth and my community knows it.

The Administration's specious argument was extolled in a press release "As it generally does with existing statutes, the Justice Department is defending the law on the books in court. The president has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. However, until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system."

Oh really, so can I expect the same response when your brief is filed in a Massachusetts federal case on June 29th? I certainly hope not. Mr. President make a different choice. Choose to lead.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton filed legal briefs arguing against existing law. The president says he is a "fierce advocate" for LGBT rights. Really? I don't think comparing a marriage to my partner, to marrying my niece or sister, is being my fierce advocate. I expect the president will try to distance himself from the brief and even the press statement, but it is too late. If how I feel, as one of the president's most ardent supporters, is any indication, Obama is in for a world of trouble over the next year with the LGBT community.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights organization, rightfully condemned Obama for the filing of the government's DOMA brief. I could not agree more with the leadership of HRC. President Obama, your legal brief was clearly a mistake, a big mistake. After Prop 8, my partner and I feel we are playing a tragic game of Wipeout. Traveling through an obstacle course that we must master to get our rights; making it to the end in California, only to be told by voters that heat didn't count. I expected obstacles to be placed in our path by our enemies; I just didn't expect it from the President. I thought he was on our side; I still want to believe that.

Unfortunately, I will see everything that the Obama administration does for LGBT Americans through the lens of the DOMA brief. Meaning, I will be waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop, while praying President Obama delivers on his promises.

Next week, I am boycotting the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council Democratic National Committee event honoring Vice President Biden to drive home my discontent. Many other prominent LGBT donors have also joined in the boycott. Is the announcement of benefits for LGBT federal employees to squash the boycott and the general uproar? Hmm...In politics, money talks. It is unlikely that Obama just put together this announcement in the last week to throw a bone to my community; it has been in the works for many weeks. I would have celebrated loudly had this been announced before the DOMA debacle, but now I will only give polite, muted applause. That pesky DOMA brief has ruined everything.

Mr. President, your DOMA mistake awakened a sleeping giant. He is mad as hell and is not going to take it anymore. You better get LGBT affirming legislation moving quickly or the coffers of the LGBT community will be slammed shut on the fingers of your administration and the DNC. You and the DNC may find themselves asking about our donations "if not now, when" as we have been asking about our rights for the last few months.

That's simply the way I see it.

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I'm glad to see you here. I'd noticed after I became addicted to The Bilerico Report that you're a contributor. It felt like I'd come home. :)

Thanks for your well-reasoned comments.

I'll be posting about this soon, but hopefully President Obama has begun to "see the light".

That is the biggest weapon that politicians have and respond to. Cut the funding.