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

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…


  1. says

    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

  2. Matt says

    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.

  3. Dame Celstia Crackhead says

    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.

  4. steve says

    PROTEST !!! loud and clear–we will not be thrown under the bus ever again!!!

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

  5. Bob R says

    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.

  6. Dean Pitchford says

    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.

  7. Bill says

    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.

  8. Jim says

    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!!!

  9. Mike_in_Lancaster says

    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.

  10. Todd says

    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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. Marc says

    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.

  13. elcamino says

    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.

  14. joren says

    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?

  15. Leona says

    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.

  16. alex in boston says

    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!!

  17. Michael @ says

    @ 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.

  18. David says

    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.

  19. Bruno says

    I’m waiting for a celebrity moment where a famous gay person pulls a Kanye and says “Barack Obama doesn’t like gay people.”

  20. Rafael says

    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.

  21. KURT QUINTON says


  22. SFshawn says

    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?

  23. Jersey says

    Thank you Andy and Corey for not backing down. It is well past time to stop putting up with how they have treated us all these decades. I’m sending back all email requests for money from dems telling them to remove my name from thier lists due to the inaction on gay issues. I don’t have much money either but I gave heavily (for me) to Obama’s campaigns and to Geoffrey Kors CA anti prop 8 thing in honour of Del Martin this past year. This time I’ll only give to local gay equality/rights specific issues.

  24. Chitown Kev says

    Thanks Andy. I know this has been a rough time for you.

    Shut. The. Motherfucker. Down.

  25. MikeMick says

    “There is NO message louder at a fundraiser than empty chairs and empty donation envelopes.” Perfectly said!!!!

  26. brian says

    the DNC is getting around to reaping what its been sowing – lotsa talk, little action. its time to stop being thankful for “gay-friendly” politicians who attend Pride parades and show up to fundraisers to collect $$$. They’ll continue to tell us that while our shameful lives will require years of legislative dithering for any substantive change – so please keep on contributing.

    I’ve voted Dem largely because of my sexuality for the past two decades. GLBT has for too long been a safe constituency for the DNC. With the likes of progressive state officials moving the ball forward, and vanguard positions being advocated by new activists like Meghan McCain (yes, her!) – the complacency of the DNC and Dems should be rattled, shaken and told to wake up, get it done or get pushed outta the way.

  27. Sean says

    Last week just before the DOJ brief came out I sent the DNC a check. I cannot wait for the call asking why I stopped payment on it.

    I don’t pay the Republicans for the screwin’ they give me regularly, why should I pay the Democrats?


  28. Biograph1985 says

    Well, the DOJ stance is not substantially different from Obama’s stated opinion on the campaign trail. And if the gay community really wants to use their “support” for Obama as reason why the President somehow “owes” them, it might be good to remember that gays and lesbians voted OVERWHELMINGLY for Hilary Clinton in the ’08 primaries. Only in the race against a Republican would they support Obama.

  29. MackMike says

    I am not suggesting that we would ever vote or cast a vote that would assure something as horrifying as a Palin presidency, so we’ve not lost our minds, but my partner and I have re-registered, dropping our names from the Democrat Party. Between Reid, the DOJ and Obama, we no longer feel represented by the Democrat Party. Of course, we can still vote Democrat if we wish, but a drop off in registrants should send a messages, as well as a drop in donations.

  30. RJP3 says

    Donated to Obama and the DNC.

    Never again until he takes some action on DOMA and DADT.

    I will not wait to fund his “Second Term”.

  31. says

    Andy, your early principled stand got the ball rolling, and is resulting in a loud and clear message to the DNC that we will not be their doormats. Before they ask for money, they had best show us some action. I am grateful for your action and all you do for the cause.

  32. FunMe says

    Sometimes in the wake of bad news, with the Obama administration equating gay marriage with INCEST, you get people angry. And this is good because it galvanize people to start getting involved with the organizations that work for equality for all.

    And if it means the Obama and Democrats lose our money, so be out. It is their own doing.

    The Democrats have this idea of “where are they going to go”. How about to a 3rd party. And hey, if the Democrats lose elections, then it is THEIR FAULT, not ours.

    Is the Obama that homophobic and stupid to disregard the GLBT community? We have more time than others and $$$ money. He will lose our support fast should he not do anything now.

    Obama refuses to say anything about Prop 8, makes fun of us protestors (I was one of them) out at the Beverly Hills hotel, brings in HOMOPHOBIC preachers, etc.

    Obama panders to the 20% republicon who will not do anything for him – or vote for him. Meanwhile he loses 10% support (and more if you count progressives and families of the GLBT community.)

    Meanwhile, HRC has pulled out of the DNC fundraiser.

  33. Dennis says

    I admire your choice not to go – and I appreciate it. I hope many many other people make the same choice. That will speak very loudly!!!

  34. says

    The only person in the Obama Administration who has done anything for the LGBT community has been Obama’s once rival Hilary Clinton. I’m glad I voted for her in the primary and donated to her campaign.

    I guess we’re still out in the cold with Obama. No worries, we’ll take this state by state just like we have for the past 8 years.

  35. Mitch says

    Andy, I applaud your stance and your efforts to give this more visibility. I am sick and tired of being used as a cash machine.

    Unfortunately, many gays are not so principled. You know the whole social climbing fire island crew will happily do anything for a pix with Pelosi. They wrote checks to Regan for Christ sake and saw no conflict.

    Oh wait, double (high) income household with no kids. I pay more taxes than most people earn. I don’t need your stinking healthcare reform, or your social security. I don’t have kids that need a decent education, or not be drafted for some war.

    Maybe those rich gay bastards have a point.

    With friends like these…

  36. Joshua says

    I’ve been out for less than 7 months, but for the last couple years I’ve been a political junkie. In fact, it was due to the movement of the community for Obama and subsequently against Prop 8 that led me to come out and join the movement. And immediately thereafter a friend told me about this site. Not only has it been crucial for me to learn about LGBT political activity, it has turned me on to other great blogs (namely Joe’s and Pam’s) and filled me in with other great, fun information.

    I’ve been full of pride from Pittsburgh’s Pride this past weekend, but that pride was amplified when I read on Pam’s blog that you pulled out of the fundraiser. Thank you for not only giving me the tools to stand up for the LGBT community, but doing so yourself.

  37. Godfrey says

    It will not matter what he does to remedy this situation, if he does anything! The mere fact that the silence from the (p)resident on this issue is so deafening and insulting is why I will never cast my vote for him EVER again.

    As far as I can see, he is no friend of our community.



  38. Trasker says

    Thank you Andy. I would like to get more updates on others dropping out. Can we now put pressures on our straight friends to drop out as well? Hollywood types?

  39. FunMe says

    Excellent idea Trasker!

    I think phase 2 of our “enough is enough” movement after being insulted by the Obama administration is get our straight allies to start speaking up. I am sure there are many.

  40. Michael @ says

    @ Joshua. Congratulations on coming out. Gayland is far from perfect but it’s better to live your life outloud in an imperfect world than die in the closet.

    As for straight allies to start pressuring, the first ones to start with are Steven Spielberg, a HUGE Obama supporter and one of his hosts at the now infamous “I don’t know what promises they mean” LA fundraiser, who gave $100,000 to fight Prop H8TE, O’s other big supporter-host that night, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave $25,000,and Steven Bing who gave a whopping $500,000…five times what mega rich Ellen did and 500,000 times what mega rich Rosie did.

    It will be a tough sell, because they are more evenly concerned about other issues they believe Dems are better on, but it’s worth a try.

    HOWEVER, the rich really to start with are gay David Geffen, Tim Gill, et al.

  41. RB says

    I have NO party to belong! I left the repubs over LGBT issues and have tried to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but he is unfortunately turning into the president that I always thought he would be. He is NOT on our side!

    He clearly stated that marriage was between one man and one woman and we did not hear him. I did! Now I find it humorous that so many of the gay community are seeing the real Obama that I was screaming about during the campaign. Would McCain have been better on LGBT issues? Probably not, but he did not “promise” us that he would be! And we may not have had spent more money than we will EVER be able to repay had McCain won.

    However, we have Obama, the chosen one, and we are stuck with him. I have been told time and time again that the dems are better for us and I am waiting, and waiting and waiting. I will refrain from saying I told you so, but Obama is living up to my concerns to say the least!

  42. JQ Public says

    Obama has lied about his support of gay causes.

    This puts all his promises about any subject in doubt.



  43. says

    Bravo Andy! I donated heavily to Obama’s campaign, and have felt incredibly frustrated about his lack of action and seeming dismissiveness about LGBT issues. I don’t want to support the Republican party, but I certainly don’t want to support the democrats while Obama “Clintonizes” his promises to the LGBT community.

    Well the DOMA brief was the straw that broke the camels back for me. Ever cent I would’ve donated to the DNC and Obama will now go to gay rights causes. ACLU, Point Foundation, Courage Campaign and the March on Washington.

    It has been days since the uproar over the DOMA brief and total silence from Obama (except to tell us to forget about the DOMA brief and look forward to his administration’s upcoming LGBT friendly legislation).

    ENOUGH! Until EVERY SINGLE gay and lesbian person withdraws their financial support for the dems and states CLEARLY why they are doing so, we will continue to be seen as an easy financial target. I’m sure Andy, that you will be covering, in great detail, every single high profile gay and lesbian individual who chooses to attend the fundraiser. I hope to see an empty ballroom. Only when our money is missed and our voices clearly heard, will Obama’s administration even consider moving on furthering any of our rights.

  44. Tony says

    I signed a petition earlier, and I added that maybe President Obama assumes we wouldn’t vote for the other side next time around. He might think he has us no matter what, but I’m thinking maybe folks won’t vote at all next time. It’s time for Mr. Obama to get some backbone, and start pushing for the LGBT community like we pushed to get him in office. There was some talk this last weekend at the Des Moines Pride that many are feeling that we’re getting slid to the back burner again. Turn up the heat folks. It’s a great stand your taking too Andy.

  45. Cyd says

    I’m VERY proud of Andy, Corey and other Democrat friends for pulling out. You are taking a stand that will speak loudly to your party. Don’t abandon them, just keep speaking loudly like this. Both parties are listening (albeit at different levels). Thank you for taking a stand!!

  46. Ray says

    Andy -The regrettable brief aside, you really have turned this non-issue into a franchise. The emotion pouring out five months into a new administration is revealing.

    Honestly, just think about it. We’ve all endured eight years of George Bush and Dick Cheney. That was a disaster for us and the entire planet. Before that we had the hopeful WJ Clinton fumbling the ball (on a raft of important issues – yeah it was him who passed DOMA, DADT). The latter being the best he could muster when our community DEMANDED action for a small group who joined the military a few weeks into his administration. (This was oddly more important to activists than hate crime legislation, equal housing, health, or work place protection). Funny how that was considered sort of a win at the time.

    Now we have a new administration that has committed itself to adjusting to the new realities of our time – which amounts to getting the Federal Government out of our way (repeal of DADT and DOMA).

    But its not the positions that bother you. Its the TIMELINE… And I DON’T GET IT. I’m a grown up. I understand that sometimes timing matters. Its also true that lasting change doesn’t come when the moment is wrong.

    And YES, It matters a lot to me that we have a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress after the mid-terms. It should matter to every gay man and woman. In fact, its likely the most important thing we could worry about.

    I believe these men and women know what they are doing. The Democrats have my strongest endorsement. This is the party I wanted to believe we had all along.

    You guys can go ahead tearing it apart because you want to be one of the first issues they tackle. I don’t care. I don’t stand with you. I just find it all rather incredible and immature and VERY FOOLISH.

  47. Ray says

    And PS – I’m going to find out how I can send a check to the DNC to show my support. I’m not giving up! (You all can thank me later).

  48. CJ says

    THANK YOU. Please continue to spread your message. I have informed the DNC that they won’t be getting another dime from me, and unless we see sweeping reform while we actually have a majority, I will be supporting moderate Republicans. Ideologically it would be the exact same climate we are currently living under.

  49. caphillprof says


    5pm, Thursday, June 25, 2009
    Mandarin Continental Hotel
    1330 Maryland Ave SW, in Washington DC

    closest METRO stop is Smithsonian Metro Station on blue/orange lines, Exit to USDA/Independence Ave (not to Mall), cross Independence and proceed south 2.5 blocks on 12th St SW to Maryland

  50. Queen Zafrona says

    Can anyone spell third party? How about the freedom party? Or how about the Wig party for the drama queens and drag queens?

  51. jack says

    Obama is the best thing progressives have in a presidential candidate. He is possibly electable.If gay and progressive Americans don’t get out and vote to reelect Obama, they deserve the taliban lite republicans that will take his place.