Current Affairs

Gay Families Stymied at White House Easter Egg Roll


Gay families who lined up over the weekend (some for 24 hours) hoping to create a visual impact at the opening of the White House's annual Easter Egg roll this morning were disappointed to be given tickets that afford them a much later entrance time. In prior years, entrance to the Easter Egg roll has been first come, first served. Now, instead of having the opportunity to greet the President and First Lady Laura Bush, the gay families will find the Cookie Monster and Clifford the Dog on hand to greet them.

Gay_easter_1Inquiries by PageOneQ as to the reasons for the ticketing change were met with this response: "This year, the President and Mrs. Bush invited a special group of children who volunteer from organizations like 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Campfire USA, Citizen Corps, Learn & Serve, Little Hands Big Hearts, YMCA and Youth Service America. These youth volunteer were invited to attend during the morning hours of the event."

Seems like a Roveian move to me. It's hard to argue against youth volunteers. But was it naive of gay parents to believe that the statement their presence might have made at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll would not somehow be blunted by the Bush strategists?

Perhaps. But at least one gay parent who plans to be there says it doesn't matter: "The fact that the White House couldn’t cancel the event or keep our families out, without getting egg on its face, suggests that things are shifting in America, because it’s assumed there would be some negative reaction from a portion of the American public, a significant portion perhaps. And, if there has been a subtle shift it’s because we’ve been visible as families in our communities, all over the country."

White House Changes Easter Egg Roll Admit Process [page one q]
Easter Egg Roll Delay for Gay Families [the republic of t]
Gay Parents' Protest Comes up Against the Cookie Monster [telegraph]

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  1. "Now, instead of having the opportunity to greet the President and First Lady Laura Bush, the gay families will find the Cookie Monster and Clifford the Dog on hand to greet them."

    The difference being...?

    Posted by: jayKayEss | Apr 17, 2006 11:44:25 AM

  2. Cookie Monster is more well-read than the president and Clifford has a more coherent and fair domestic policy plan.

    Posted by: TheBrad | Apr 17, 2006 11:46:38 AM

  3. I can't help but believe that the GLBT community, of which I am an out part, is attempting to make more of this than exits. I am going to assume that there were GLBT families represented in the volunteer groups. Now if they were excluded, THAT would be a story. If there were no such families in the volunteer groups, I guess that would be a story too.

    Posted by: Kevin | Apr 17, 2006 11:49:58 AM

  4. Kevin, pull your head out of the sand.

    Posted by: Toby | Apr 17, 2006 12:05:19 PM

  5. While it is disgusting that the President let this happen, what normal homosexual parent would want their children anywhere near the idiot in Chief and his manslaughtering wife?

    Posted by: therapist | Apr 17, 2006 12:25:04 PM

  6. Why does everyone say it's a protest? If a group of people attending wore the pink breast cancer pin (or American flag pins, for that matter), would they call that a protest?

    Now whose politicizing it?

    Posted by: Jason | Apr 17, 2006 12:37:00 PM

  7. Politicians have pulled fast ones on us for years, and I'm always circumspect. I don't know quite what to make of this one. My gut says it wasn't a ploy to keep gay people away from the President.

    But, I gotta say, it kinda sucks that these gay families tried to turn a holiday family event into a political spectacle. I'm all about being heard and stating our case. But, an Easter egg roll? Just let the kids have their day.

    Posted by: Cyd | Apr 17, 2006 12:37:06 PM

  8. If only the White House had sweetened the implied negativity in the delayed admitting. Like having Cher on hand to welcome the gay families. And don't tell me she hasn't got a Bob Mackie bunny suit somewhere.

    Posted by: Jacko | Apr 17, 2006 1:12:21 PM

  9. Of the character trio in the Easter picture, the one in the middle looks the brightest, and, by far, the most compassionate, and even a little fem.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 17, 2006 1:24:33 PM

  10. What a coward! I'd rather meet Cookie Monster and Clifford the big red dog anyway.

    Posted by: David | Apr 17, 2006 1:29:58 PM

  11. The right's greatest fear is for us to be seen as no different than other families, since that makes it a lot harder for them to attack us. I saw the same criticizm from them about Rosie's family cruies that it made gay families look too normal.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 17, 2006 1:30:47 PM

  12. Was that Ken Mehlman & Lyndsey Graham in Cliffy n Cookie drag?

    Posted by: hadassah weinreb | Apr 17, 2006 1:55:32 PM

  13. Once again, coward Bush can't stand to face the people he demonizes through all of his surrogates. Ignores them just the way he rolled his little-dick motorcade past the crosses and bereaved parents outside his fake-ass Texas "ranch" photo-op set.

    Posted by: Brian nyc | Apr 17, 2006 2:20:49 PM

  14. Kevin and Cyd, you are such apologists for Bush, it's amazing.

    Posted by: mike | Apr 17, 2006 3:08:36 PM

  15. My first time responding to a discussion on a blog and I have my "head in the sand" and am a "Bush apologist." Gee this is fun! I should have logged on long ago. However, it should be noted that I'm WAY too much of a Towleroad fan to be a very effective Bush apologist. (Thanks for the site, Andy! It truly is one of the best.)

    Regarding my head in the sand, I can only say that in middle-age I weary of vitriol that attempts to demonize political opponents. It only serves to cause us to become a mirror image of the straw person stereotype enemy we attempt to create for our own political purposes and feeds media outlets that love a good bloodletting. This rallies the choir but, in my view, does little to change hearts and minds of people. This is not a criticism of the GLBT families that attended the Easter Egg Roll. If I had children (Not going to happen.) and lived near Washington DC (Please God, let it not happen!), I too would have been in line with my husband getting tickets, not because we're gay, but because apparently that's what families do for fun in Washington DC. However, why eggs "roll" there, I must confess, I have no idea.

    Posted by: Kevin | Apr 17, 2006 5:32:49 PM

  16. Shorter Kevin: Blah blah media talking points blah blah it's all about the children blah blah.

    Seriously, the media made it more of a protest than it was. All the families wanted to do was show up and participate and be seen like all the other hetero families. You seem to have bought into the bogus description that these families were there "protesting". Sorry, wrong.

    Posted by: Tread | Apr 17, 2006 6:16:59 PM

  17. George really should not have let himself be photographed next to that rabbit - mind you, as an former alcoholic maybe he thinks it`s always there.

    Posted by: Peter Rivendell | Apr 17, 2006 7:41:16 PM

  18. Hey! Until today, I was a virgin blogger. I didn't know that shorter was better. (blushes) Tough crowd!

    My verbosity and attempt at levity clouded my point. I'm WITH the GLBT families and their participation. The direct quotes I have read seemed to be reasoned and gracious. I did not frame it as a protest.

    I'm NOT with the media representation (I used the word "bloodletting.") and demonization of political foes found in this and other discussions (man-slaughtering wife?). That rallies troops and is fun, but changes no minds.

    Posted by: Kevin | Apr 17, 2006 9:06:57 PM

  19. Bush and his supporters and apologists have been using gay people, gay parents and their families, fear of terrorism, "our nations worst tragedy" and plenty else to politicize everything in sight purely for personal gain but some gay parents wearing rainbow coloured leis are doing something unacceptable in our culture? How typically and hypocritically - and I'm sure accidentally - rightwing of gay Bush apologists.

    These families - who are well within reason to make a polite statement about their families given the social and legal hassles they endure back home thanks not in the least to this administration - put the Bush administration in a position to make a difficult choice at a dire time in his failing presidency. And the WH rode the delicate balance well I'd say if you think in cynical Roveian terms of strategery. They could have shored up their base by denying the "gay families" entrance or they could have cancelled the whole thing. The compromise was that they cleverly modified the logistics of a decades old tradition for the sole reason of allowing Bush to avoid being seen as openly welcoming them by allowing them to get in his shot.

    Yes, it's shameful that Bush is so fearful and disdainful of gay people with children that he would view their very presence as an unwelcome spectacle to be managed. At the same time, it's a victory for those families that they baited him in to having to make the decision at all. Gays love history and they learn well how to adapt to their surroundings. If we’ve learned anything over the last few years about Bush - whether we learned it from Osama, Saddam, Chalibi, low-level Al-Qeida, etc - it’s that for all his handlers’ political acumen: George Bush is easily baitable.

    When the president openly declares a segment of citizens to be treated and legislated as second class citizens you have to have a great deal of political power to make those people afraid of speaking out in objection. If gay people are annoyed by other gay people who use the system to speak out against their treatment by the system they should support their attempt to change of the system that would eliminate the need for gay people to complain about the system. (Did I say that right?)

    These families handled themselves with dignity so they come out the winners.

    Average american with an interest in “gay families” being treated with dignity, respect and equality: Score another quiet victory.

    Gay conservative with a misguided interest in denigrating any attempt by gay people to strive for equal treatment: Pathetic as usual.

    Credibility and political stewardship of the Bush White House: Rest In Peace

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Apr 17, 2006 9:42:37 PM

  20. I still don't get Gay men raising kids. What kind of Gay man wants kids? Not any I've ever met.

    Posted by: Jay Croce | Apr 17, 2006 10:34:22 PM

  21. Zing #487

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Apr 17, 2006 10:53:10 PM

  22. Bush should have invited Victor Ashe. ;)

    Posted by: Pitbull | Apr 17, 2006 11:27:48 PM

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  24. there has been staggered times for years. Usually a special group(as the White House said) and/or the White House staff kids go through early. Then the rest are staggered through. 12,000 tickets approximitly were given out. Have any of you ever seen 12,000 kids plus parents on the White House lawn ever before? Of course not....guess why?.....staggering. Stop making yourselves look foolish. The first family rearely stays for more than a couple hours.

    Posted by: Joshua Haught | Apr 18, 2006 3:56:30 AM

  25. Once again, the wingnuts come to accuse demonized gays of demonizing poor oppressed Republicans who are only trying to put all the sodomy laws back on the books.

    Hey, why make a big deal about being shoved aside at the White House, Was it so bad for blacks to ride in the back of the bus? No! That was just Eisenhower hate on the part of blacks, pure and simple. Blinded by hate of Eisenhower, they lashed out irrationally and demanded to vote, buy property wherever they liked, and OMG, eat at the SAME restaurants and study at the SAME schools!!!

    Just because they hated Eisenhower.

    Posted by: Brian nyc | Apr 18, 2006 7:43:04 AM

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