Barack Obama | Barney Frank | Michelangelo Signorile | National Equality March | News

Barney Frank on the National Equality March: Everybody Stay Home, Obama Doesn't Need the Pressure

Barney Frank was a guest on Michelangelo Signorile's radio show yesterday and spoke about the hate crimes bill (which is still attached to a DoD appropriations bill despite a challenge this week) which should get a vote next week and be along to Obama's desk for signature, ENDA, the DOMA repeal, and the National Equality March.

Barney Of the March, Frank said: "I literally don't understand how this will do anything. People are kidding themselves. I don't want people patting themselves on the back for doing something that is useless. Barack Obama does not need pressure."

According to Signorile, "He says we should model ourselves as lobbyists on 'the National Rifle Association.' He says people should not come to Washington and should stay home and lobby their members of Congress. 'Nobody in Congress even knows they're there, he says, and he is not attending the March: He is going to California to raise money for himself and other Democrats.'"

We won't be taking his advice, and we'll see some of you in D.C.

On that note, Emma Ruby-Sachs in the Huffington Post has written a speech for Obama to give at the HRC dinner, and Jose Antonio Vargas has a wish list in the Huff Post as well.

Also, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson offers his $.02.

Listen to Signorile's interview with Barney Frank here.

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  1. I'm sorry Barney, you are wrong on this one. Obama has made it quite clear that to get our issues to the forefront, we need to work to get them there. Lobbying is part of the picture, but so is making equality a bigger national issue that can't be ignored.

    It was part of the strategy in 1963 and it should be now too. Obama knows that and so do we. [Oh wait, Frank didn't think of it himself.]

    Posted by: David R. | Oct 8, 2009 11:40:07 AM

  2. I'm getting so tired of his crap. It isn't about "pressure" - the equality march is about coming together and letting the country know our numbers and our values.

    Posted by: J.P. | Oct 8, 2009 11:43:01 AM

  3. Perhaps Barney should go back to living in a whorehouse...

    Posted by: Jack | Oct 8, 2009 11:45:45 AM

  4. He only wants to advance gay issues on his terms. In Massachusetts he didn't want us to pass marriage equality until he thought it was the right time. When will he wake up to the fact that we are sick of waiting. I'm sorry if Obama doesn't need the pressure, but it comes with the job.

    Posted by: antny | Oct 8, 2009 11:52:25 AM

  5. Truly sad, Barney, but i (along with my partner and a dear friend) will be there.

    Posted by: dan | Oct 8, 2009 11:53:28 AM

  6. Why can't it be about organizing AND lobbying? Barney, you don't sound very versatile!

    Besides I highly doubt I'll ever be a part of something that 'models' itself after the National Rifle Association.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Oct 8, 2009 11:54:03 AM

  7. I'm just worried that low turn out numbers will be used by the media and others to show that we aren't a force to deal with. The march will definately get attention, but only after the media and the spin masters process it will we know if it's a win or a fail.

    Posted by: Beefandfur | Oct 8, 2009 11:59:30 AM

  8. I agree that we need to organize at the local level, but calling the march useless is a total dick move.

    "Barack Obama does not need pressure." Right, he just needs to be paid off. Just ask Goldman Sachs.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 8, 2009 12:02:09 PM

  9. What is with all these ingrained establishment leaders telling the LGBT community when and how to fight for their rights, saying what we can and can't do?

    I'd also like to hear from Representative Frank how he plans on keeping our youth inspired and our pool of LGBT activist leaders sustainable, which is exactly what an inspiring National Equality March will do. Should we stay home and just have conference calls?

    Posted by: Jeffrey Taylor | Oct 8, 2009 12:02:33 PM

  10. "It would be more effective to act like lobbyists for “the National Rifle Association” and stay home to lobby their representatives"

    So basically he wants us to send them all our money and buy them stuff to get our Equal Rights.

    Blanche has been losing it for awhile.

    Posted by: Wolfie | Oct 8, 2009 12:06:43 PM

  11. Uncle Barney has a point, but I don't agree that marching is "useless" -- if nothing else, it helps with community cohesion and gives people motivation and a message to take back to their local representatives. Large events with big crowds also tend to get people involved who normally would be timid about being in the public eye. Yes there's power in numbers.

    And, honestly, I don't think there's anything wrong with applying a little extra pressure to Obama, and to let him know that ACTION will be the only way he'll get our support for reelection. Some of the things he could do for LGBT issues -- right now -- wouldn't actually take much of his time. So I believe the "his plate is full" argument is moot.

    Posted by: sparks | Oct 8, 2009 12:09:31 PM

  12. What is sad is that with each pronouncement like this, Frank gets more irrelevant.

    Posted by: Trasker | Oct 8, 2009 12:14:04 PM

  13. If the numbers are low, this will be counter-productive. I work and live in The Castro and I have not even heard one word from anyone about this outside of the blogs. I don't know anyone going. This thing is all-advised, poorly organized, and counter-productive.

    Posted by: Kugel | Oct 8, 2009 12:20:17 PM

  14. oh suck it Barney, you toothless old hag. You're too busy giving BJ's in the capitol hill washrooms to notice that the House Faggot routine has been dumped some time ago.

    The gAyTM is CLOSED till Obama and the quisling Dems DO SOMETHING CONCRETE. Get that through your head.

    Posted by: Grimmlok | Oct 8, 2009 12:20:27 PM

  15. I don't always agree with Barney, but he's right about this one. Obama is not the problem, Congress is. A march isn't going to produce anything. The only thing that matters is changing the minds of people in Congress who are on the fence, or booting them from office if they won't. The money that's going to be spent on the march could be put to much better use defending marriage in Maine or lobbying Congress for ENDA.

    Posted by: Z | Oct 8, 2009 12:20:37 PM

  16. While I don't agree in entirety with his comments, I think Barney makes a valid point, and while I'm encouraging as many people as possible to attend the march this weekend, I hope this march energizes people to continue working and lobbying in their home states. It is important to bring national attention to these important national issues such as Hate Crimes legislation, DADT, ENDA, but why don't we put Obama to the real test and pressure our local politicians to get this legislation to his desk.

    I just fear some repeat of what I saw during the Prop 8 battle, where people in the Castro District of San Francisco were being asked to vote against Prop 8. Who went to Fresno? Tell me where that huge initiative was?

    Again, I'm all for the march, and I hope it is hugely successful, but I think we need to remember this is only one piece and while I certianly agree there are specific things Obama could be doing (DADT specifically) we also need to work hard locally to move this legislation.

    I'm just tired of listening to people who are pissed at Obama and then can't tell me who their House Representative is.

    And don't forget about Washington and Maine!! Nov. 3rd is a big day for our movement!! Get your activism on.

    Posted by: Komiza | Oct 8, 2009 12:22:03 PM

  17. The numbers will mean nothing. Its all aboout showing that we are PISSED OFF, And if the numbers are lkow there will be enough blame to throw at the HRC and other Orhanizatiosn that hemmed and hawed until ver late in the game and did nothing to help.

    Posted by: Wolfie | Oct 8, 2009 12:23:00 PM

  18. Speaking of the March.... is there a Towleroad meetup?

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Oct 8, 2009 12:25:33 PM

  19. OK, I'm a total cynic of this due to what I see as a lot of poor organization. BUT... Obama does need to feel pressure from our community. Protests need to happen. We can't just sit home and send money to leaders (like Frank), who seem to be labouring under the continued delusion that simply sending $$$ to them works. It doesn't.

    Frank is turning into a bigger and bigger tool as this administration goes on.

    Posted by: DR | Oct 8, 2009 12:34:31 PM

  20. Screw Barney Frank. He just wants to be sure he keeps getting his coctail party invites.

    Posted by: JT | Oct 8, 2009 12:42:12 PM

  21. As much as I admire, respect, and agree with Barney Frank-- he should have kept his mouth shut on this one. If he can't support the march then don't say anything. The President, the Congress, the country need to see that Gay Americans are frustrated. The President also needs to see that Gay Democrats are frustrated with the President's slow pace on civil rights for gay people.

    Congressman Franks' comment is like Congressman Adam Clayton Powell saying to Dr King and the civil rights folks in 1963, " this march is useless; President Kennedy doesn't need this pressure."

    I support my President and I don't like vicious attacks on his character, but the march is a good thing--no gay person should be against it.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 8, 2009 12:42:58 PM

  22. Grimmlok: Well said. I certainly hope you'll be a speaker this weekend. You're a poet.

    Kugel: I'm also in SF. I've know about the march for several months. It's been well publicized. I think a big problem is many people on the west coast simply can't afford to make the trip. Most of my east coast friends are going. But for them it's a three or four hour train ride. It can be a day trip.

    Posted by: JimmyD | Oct 8, 2009 12:46:49 PM

  23. is CONGRESS, CONGRESS CONGRESS who needs no one listening? It doesn't totally devalue the march, but please understand it as a springboard to pressure and lobby CONGRESS so it won't be a mentioned earlier, keep Pres. Obama's feet to the fire, but CONGRESS needs to feel WHITE HOT HEAT...

    "I'm just tired of listening to people who are pissed at Obama and then can't tell me who their House Representative is."

    This statement posted by someone above is what stands out above most all else...C'MON GUYS! (and that includes girls too...GLB&T, everyone...) Go march...but then come home and get vocal local...we need more of that...

    Posted by: yeahisaidit | Oct 8, 2009 12:56:22 PM

  24. I think BARNEY needs some calls. perhaps HE needs some pressure


    2252 Rayburn Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    tel: (202) 225-5931
    fax: (202) 225-0182

    Posted by: Wolfie | Oct 8, 2009 1:00:39 PM

  25. If there's poor turnout—and there will be—it's all Cleve's fault. Everyone told him 1) more time was needed to organize a national march and 2) that it had to be truly organized at a grassroots level. Cleve ignored the former and only paid lip service to the latter.

    NEM FAIL = Cleve Jones FAIL

    But, unfortunately, it's the entire community that will have to pay the price for Cleve's arrogance and laziness.

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 8, 2009 1:05:20 PM

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