Andrew Tobias | Barack Obama | David Mixner | Democratic Party | News | Washington DC

Democratic Party LGBT Fundraiser Tainted by Obama DOMA Brief

Obama's now resoundingly criticized Department of Justice defense of DOMA brief could not have come at a worse time for a Democratic Party LGBT fundraiser headlined by Vice President Joe Biden scheduled for next week in Washington D.C. As you may have read by now on Politico, Americablog, or Pam's House Blend, I had planned on attending but early yesterday made a decision that I would not. I wrote DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias (who is a friend outside of any professional relationship we have) and told him that I did not feel at all good about the lack of movement within the Obama administration on LGBT issues and given the content of the Department of Justice brief I could not attend in good conscience. My colleague, Towleroad's political director Corey Johnson, is not attending either.

MixnerDavid Mixner has bowed out as well, he wrote yesterday:

"I will not attend a fundraiser for the National Democratic Party in Washington next week when the current administration is responsible for these kind of actions. How will they ever take us seriously if we keep forking out money while they harm us. For now on, my money is going to battles within the community such as the fight in Maine or the March on Washington! I am so tired of being told by Democratic operatives to 'suck it up' because so many other profound issues are at stake. It is as if our fight for our freedom is single handedly responsible for the fate of all other issues. Bullshit. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for others to 'suck it up' for us and finally, without conditions, join our fight for our freedom!"

Alan van Capelle of the Empire State Pride Agenda has told John Aravosis at Americablog that he too has pulled out.

Tobias, who agrees with those critical of the brief, still believes that the President meant what he said in his promises to LGBT people, he told Politico today: "If this debacle of a brief represented the President's views, I'd boycott too. [I] [t]otally understand all the hurt and anger, thought Joe Solmonese['s] letter to the President was spot on. Still personally totally believe in the President. His Pride Proclamation, and his call to repeal DOMA, are genuine."

Pam Spaulding, who published a leaked list of those scheduled to attend, has called upon her readers to ask Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis and other leaders why they are attending.

Writes Ben Smith: "Organizers, I'm told, are scrambling to get visible White House action on gay issues in advance of the June 25 dinner to prevent it from becoming a protest stage."

UPDATE: HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse, former Clinton aide Richard Socarides out...

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  1. The tide is rising at last.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 16, 2009 2:22:41 PM

  2. Thank you! I appreciate the work you do and the stand your making.

    Posted by: texcubsf | Jun 16, 2009 2:22:53 PM

  3. Obama's stance has been very disappointing, but hopefully with the loss of funding and support he'll realize that this is an issue that must be addressed. Visit to see how you can help get marriage at least passed in New York State

    Posted by: MFairness | Jun 16, 2009 2:27:24 PM

  4. Great! Our money and our votes are the only leverage we have. We've listened to their excuses for far too long. It's time for some action.

    Posted by: Matt | Jun 16, 2009 2:36:16 PM

  5. Maybe Obama hasn't responded yet because he needs to "think" about his answer. Remember that one?

    Posted by: Aiden Raccoon | Jun 16, 2009 2:38:13 PM

  6. Dr. King said when people said wait to him concerning his fight for civil rights, as we are being told the same by Democratic apologists, he said it meant NEVER.

    Mixner is so right. Why would supporting us mean that other issues would fail...who cares anyway...we support them and get shit on time after time. I refuse to support them OR Obama any further.

    I've had it.

    Posted by: Dame Celstia Crackhead | Jun 16, 2009 2:40:27 PM

  7. PROTEST !!! loud and clear--we will not be thrown under the bus ever again!!!

    WTF OBama?????????????????????/

    Posted by: steve | Jun 16, 2009 2:43:25 PM

  8. I am not a wealthy man. Frankly, financially I'm a poor man. But I did donate to Obama and support him in his presidential bid. I also gave some money to the Democratic Party. I live in Appalachian Ohio and actively worked for Obama in my community. Although he did not carry my community, I feel sure I did help him get a few votes here in Ohio and from friends in Florida (my former home state). That will not happen again. Obama, Tim Kaine and the Democratic organization will not get one more penny from me, nor will they get any support and perhaps not even my vote. I will look for alternative candidates (although the GOP is out of the question) or will simply stay home. The Obama DOJ brief on DOMA was outrageous and insulting in the extreme and has not been repudiated by "dear leader". If enough gay people and their families, straight friends and supporters keep their wallets and purses closed, perhaps attitudes will change. Right now we're taken for granted because the attitude is "there's no place else to go." Well for me, there is. I can put my vote on my compost pile where it will be much more productive in the long run.

    Posted by: Bob R | Jun 16, 2009 2:51:17 PM

  9. Yesterday I received an elaborate package and certificate from the DNC with a letter from President Obama thanking me for my support of his campaign and welcoming me to some hifalutin' list of "valued" contributors that Tim Kaine would be reaching out to. I put the entire package into a manila envelope with a note to Mr. Kaine saying that, while I admire his work and his career, until there's substantial movement on GLBT issues, I would ask that he remove my name from his mailing list.

    Posted by: Dean Pitchford | Jun 16, 2009 2:52:04 PM

  10. I haven't commented on Obama's presidency and how he's dealt with gay issues until now. Obama is terrible. He just refused to meet with the nation's mayors because the firefighters' union in Providence, RI (where the meeting is taking place) is protesting the meeting. Obama has not once said a thing about Prop 8, broke through the anti-Prop 8 protrests and was very dismissive of gay people's concerns and is now defending DOMA. He doesn't care about gay people.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 16, 2009 2:55:33 PM

  11. About an hour ago, I received in my e-mailbox a letter from an Obama fundraiser! Can you believe they have the BALLS to send out requests for money? Well... I returned the e-mail strongly stating the WHEN the Obama Administration took up the promises that he made to the LGBT community then, and only then, would I even CONSIDER giving them money. NO MORE, NO HOW, NO WAY!!!

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 16, 2009 2:56:02 PM

  12. There is only so much disenfranchisement a person should be forced to endure.

    Now matter how much I "HOPE" for "CHANGE", I will not longer defend Mr. Obama. He's on his own on not only "gay" issues but everything else.

    So good lucky buddy try not to fuck it up as much as the last guy.

    Posted by: Mike_in_Lancaster | Jun 16, 2009 3:00:25 PM

  13. Good for you, Andy!
    It seems were we're finally coming to a point where we're looking squarely at our issues and demanding action. Politicians are looking for every reason to pawn off the hard issues, and we in the gay community have always given them the benefit of the doubt. But, THEY'RE POLITICIANS, they're not going to do anything until they're forced to. It's about time we started treating them as politicians, and holding their feet to the fire.

    Posted by: Todd | Jun 16, 2009 3:01:17 PM

  14. Thanks Andy and Corey for taking a stand here.

    The Equality and justice train has left the station and it's surprising to me who is not on board. The time has passed to sit back, wait and trust in the promises of politicians. It's time for action, it's time for legislation to move. It's time for full federal equality. It is time to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include LGBT people.

    "The Power" is collecting signatures on a petition to do just that. The petition will be hand delivered to Nancy Pelosi on June 29th, the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Sign the petition now and then send it to everyone you know:

    No excuses. No Delays.

    Posted by: Jeff Hall | Jun 16, 2009 3:04:17 PM

  15. I'm sorry you're not going. You'll have access to the VP and can ask him why you should be supporting the Admin. No message is no message, if you want to send a message you have to talk to someone.

    Posted by: Marc | Jun 16, 2009 3:04:29 PM

  16. I'm impressed by your principled stand. It's the right thing to do. We're in a new moment and it's past time the DNC and the administration got the memo.

    Posted by: elcamino | Jun 16, 2009 3:06:36 PM

  17. As a Canadian, I watch and read all this with a great deal of interest and more than a little head shaking.

    In the last few days, it's come to light that even though the military is still discharging gays and lesbians, many of whom speak fluent Arabic and you'd think would be valued assets, they turn a blind eye to keeping white supremacists in the ranks. Heck, they even have guidelines on how to deal with them.

    I'm going to be taking a big 'ol sign to our pride parade here next week that says something like "USA -Land of "yes we can", "no you can't"

    Why aren't folks there rioting in the streets?

    Posted by: joren | Jun 16, 2009 3:12:07 PM

  18. NO MORE MONEY TO THE DNC OR DEMOCRATS FROM ME. I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. More than that, I'm just really heartbroken at the lies and outright hostility from the Democrats and Obama.

    Posted by: Leona | Jun 16, 2009 3:17:18 PM

  19. I too had a place at the Dinner next week and I was to sit with Andrew Tobias, i have withdrawn from the event as well!! I have also contacted the white house and made my displeasure known to them as well..... No more money until there is a positive move on GLBT rights!! PERIOD!!

    Posted by: alex in boston | Jun 16, 2009 3:20:18 PM

  20. @ Marc in Fairytale Land:

    There is NO message louder at a fundraiser than empty chairs and empty donation envelopes.

    Andy Tobias, who was one of the first out gays on DNC's staff [I believe he works for free] has quietly shared his personal wealth across a wide spectrum of gay rights causes. He's just doing is job as DNC treasurer to raise money for all Dems even if many of them are not perfect. He couldn't keep doing it unless he kept "believing"....I dont' begrudge him that.

    But BRAVO to Andy and Corey, et al. for choosing to "speak" Truth to Power in their own way. The rising tide of mainstream support for almost every gay "right" has been astonishing...ironically, in part, the unintended result of the betrayal by Obama and Congress. And, if you'll forgive the mix of metaphors, nothing changes politicians' behavior faster than stemming the flow of the mother's milk of politics.

    As Pam Spaulding has said so well, Obama's caught in a trap he built himself and, trust me, when he hears about the no shows at this dinner his pain will only increase.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 16, 2009 3:22:25 PM

  21. I have left the Democratic party. I have adopted The Dallas Principles and we as a community should do so as well. Demand that those in the HRC become more progressive and not push the agenda one at a time. TDP #7: Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.

    Posted by: David | Jun 16, 2009 3:31:46 PM

  22. I'm waiting for a celebrity moment where a famous gay person pulls a Kanye and says "Barack Obama doesn't like gay people."

    Posted by: Bruno | Jun 16, 2009 3:31:50 PM

  23. I feel the same way and fully support your decision Andy. We have to stop making excuses for the democratic party, we are Gay Americans first.

    Posted by: Rafael | Jun 16, 2009 3:42:49 PM


    Posted by: KURT QUINTON | Jun 16, 2009 3:43:18 PM

  25. Thanks Andy. Hopefully no other openly GLBT folks will attend this bullshit Democratic Fundraiser. Does the DNC or the Obama administration really feel like they deserve our support or our hard earned money considering they have done basically NOTHING in the last 6 months for gay American citizens except denigrate our humanity and remain "SILENT" on issues of equality FOR ALL. Obama and his entire administration are turning out to be nothing more than one disappointment(and one apology) after another. Not surprising considering what a two faced liar Obama has turned out to be(through his actions) but still disappointing considering how much hope he PROMISED. If Tobias is correct and Obama is "genuine" then time will tell but how many thousands of gay US citizens will suffer(under DADT,etc) while the Obama administration fucks us over day after day after day?

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jun 16, 2009 3:46:36 PM

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