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Take Action on DADT - Join Our Blog Swarm: Call HRC Today

UPDATES: Mixner joins, HRC responds, sort of...

Towleroad joins today with a coalition of gay and straight bloggers in asking our readers to contact the Human Rights Campaign on behalf of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


Publicly demand that President Obama take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.

1) That means the President needs to state publicly that he wants Congress to repeal DADT this year; and

2) The President needs to take the lead in working with Congress to make sure the repeal happens.

HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723

HRC Web site comment page.
General membership email at hrc:

Some may say that there is little the President can do, or that this is up to Congress now. That is simply untrue. The President can send a powerful signal that he wants the repeal done this year. He can include the repeal of DADT in the Defense Budget he sends to Congress in the next few months. If the President is serious about keeping his promises to our community, now is his chance to prove it.

BLOG SWARM SPONSORS Today's blog swarm is sponsored by the following bloggers and sites, all of which will also be writing about this issue today, and urging their readers to contact HRC:

Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis, AMERICAblog
Pam Spaulding, Pam's House Blend
Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius OutQ & the Gist
Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos
Andy Towle, Towleroad
Joe Jervis, Joe My God
Bil Browning, Bilerico
Taylor Marsh,
Dan Savage, Slog


HRC may argue that it's already told the President it would like to see DADT repealed this year. Well, that's not enough. And here's why.

We've had an amazing few weeks of momentum on DADT repeal following the mention of DADT in the State of the Union, the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing during which both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs both stated their support for repeal, and the unexpected support we've received from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and former Defense Secretary and Vice President Dick Cheney.

But that momentum is quickly slipping away. A vacuum of leadership is leading to confusion. The Hill has no idea if the President does or doesn't want them to move ahead with repeal this year. The House has already said that it's waiting for the Senate to do something. The Senate is in turmoil after the Democrats lost a single seat in January. And the DADT proposals being discussed in the Senate are focused on every possible approach except full repeal this year.

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

As we painfully learned last year during health care reform, nothing happens in Congress unless the President leads. And when the President doesn't lead, disaster is guaranteed.

Whatever HRC has been telling the White House about DADT, it clearly isn't working. In spite of the President's positive comments during the State of the Union, no one knows where President Obama stands on repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" this year. All the while, unnamed administration officials are telling the media that it could be years before repeal finally happens. The White House clearly didn't get HRC's message, and as a result, we are losing this historic momentum.

Cover  WHY HRC?

Why are we focusing on HRC? Because HRC is our community's largest, best-funded gay rights organization in Washington, and they carry the most sway with the White House. In fact, HRC often boasts about their close working relationship with the White House. HRC's President, Joe Solmonese, is so close to the White House that he gave the President political cover during the uproar over the administration's brief in support of DOMA. It's time HRC, and our entire community, got something in return for everything we have done for this President, this Congress, and the entire Democratic party.

Unfortunately, we've reached a point with the Obama administration where allies have to publicly demand action, or promises are never kept. Just last week, the AFL-CIO was forced to send an action alert to its members, targeting the White House. If it's good enough for the unions, it's good enough for us.

We truly believe that if HRC were to openly call on the White House to get DADT repealed this year, it would happen. Mostly because Democrats are rightly worried about the gay vote (and the support of our straight allies) months before a critical congressional election.

Fierceadvocate  IF NOT THIS YEAR, WHEN?

It's been a long first year of the Obama presidency. While our community made some gains in the past 13 months, there has been no progress whatsoever on the President's top three commitments to the LGBT community: to repeal DADT and DOMA; and to pass ENDA. In fact, we've seen backward movement, as the President has continued to defend DADT and DOMA in the courts — even though he didn't have to — going so far as to invoke incest and pedophilia. What's more, we've been told to expect no progress on DOMA until the second term of the Obama presidency, if there is one, and if we still control the Congress. And ENDA, which we had been assured would pass last year, is now nowhere to be found. If DADT is not repealed this year, it's not clear if any of the President's top three promises to our community will be kept before he faces what might be a difficult reelection.

Why not just pass the repeal next year? Because Democrats are already having enough problems passing legislation, next year we're expected to have even fewer Democrats in the House and Senate, and there's talk in town as to whether the Democrats will even control the congress after the elections this fall. We saw the damage that was caused by the loss of one single Senate seat in Massachusetts. Democrats panicked. They talked about the need to move to the middle, be more bipartisan, give more to the Republicans, and at all costs avoid all those "controversial" issues — all of that is code for distancing themselves from you and me. If DADT isn't repealed this year, it may not be repealed for years to come. And that will mean none of the President's top promises will be kept to our community.


Please contact HRC today, and urge them to publicly demand that the President take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.

We are at a unique moment in history. Pro-gay Democrats control the White House and the Congress. Momentum is building for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And the polls show that the American people, even Republicans, are on our side. We can win this battle. But only if our leaders choose to lead. Gay Americans helped elect this President and this Congress with our votes, our money and our time. And gay Americans have funded HRC for years, in exchange for a promise of results once the Democrats finally came to power.

You've done your job. Now it's time for the President, Congress and HRC to do theirs.

HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723

HRC Web site comment page.
General membership email at hrc:

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  1. Oh great. Gay Blog Inc is going after Gay Groups Inc. We get it, you guys hate HRC.

    As a gay man who served in the first Gulf War, I'm satisfied with the way things are moving on the part of the President and DADT. I won't be joining your cause.

    Posted by: David | Feb 16, 2010 8:19:35 AM

  2. I'll be calling. The lessons we have learned over the past year shows that the only way to get any movement on our issues at all is when pressure is applied. Thanks for doing this.

    Posted by: arthur | Feb 16, 2010 8:26:24 AM

  3. HRC SUCKS. They have sucked for years.

    How many members do they actually have??

    I went to the HRC dinner in DC once 10 years ago. They count me as a member.

    That is utter bullshit.

    The HRC is a self-flatulating venue for ego stroking impotent queens AKA their leadership.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Feb 16, 2010 8:47:31 AM

  4. I don't get it. Half those blogs have no credibility, and they'll be telling readers to pester the HRC which has no credibility?

    Posted by: JT | Feb 16, 2010 9:14:23 AM

  5. You don't see gun lovers knocking the NRA, so why so many gays knocking HRC. Are they perfect, no, but they are FAR AND AWAY the best we got. We have so many enemies out there who genuinely hate us that we do ourselves a TREMENDOUS disservice by taking pot shots at each other. If we don't mature as a movement and stop attacking each other we will fail. The military is as strong an institution to conservative America as the church. Allowing gays to serve will be a profound cultural change that will extend beyond the military. It needs to be done with a process that does not look like it is being forced down their throats. Obama and Gates and seem to have a strategy that will work.

    Posted by: JimSur212Jim | Feb 16, 2010 9:29:09 AM

  6. Expect HRC to be targeting this comment thread. lol.

    Posted by: David | Feb 16, 2010 9:30:33 AM

  7. we should be calling obama, reid, pelosi, and our own senators and congressmembers

    Posted by: rick | Feb 16, 2010 9:35:07 AM

  8. Definitely calling in the next hour or so. I urge the other two people in this comment section that aren't HRC reps to do the same.

    Posted by: Cory | Feb 16, 2010 9:40:26 AM

  9. Just as effective to ask my dogs to do something.

    F*ck HRC. Call the White House, your Rep. and your 2 Senators. If they have offices near where you live or work, stop by and talk to them.

    HRC is nothing but a worthless middleman, and if DADT is ended, and gay marriage goes through, why do we need them any more?

    Posted by: Rebel | Feb 16, 2010 9:46:34 AM

  10. Wise up, people. I agree with the couple commenters that suggested calling your senators and representatives. Fine, call HRC. But the people you elected have phones, emails, and local offices. And they're more beholden to us than HRC. It doesn't make much sense to ask HRC to get your representatives to do something when you could simply ask them yourselves. A rep is more likely to cast a vote or take a stand when constituents are telling him/her to do so as opposed to a political advocacy group.

    Posted by: anthony | Feb 16, 2010 10:20:52 AM

  11. call your representative and your two senators. far more effective. calling out the white house or pressuring them w/o doing the same in congress makes us look whiny in the eyes of the general public, for whom obama has been vocal about our issues. you act like hrc is some voting member of congress on the fence. they're not the enemy, folks. however much we love to hate them, they're on our side.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Feb 16, 2010 10:22:51 AM

  12. my letter to the HRC


    Get your act together and work to repeal DADT NOW!!!!

    I have been a supporter of HRC and other GLBT organizations in the past. However, HRC's complacency with the status quo is sickening. I was very hopeful that once President Obama was elected things would begin to be much better than for GLBT Americans than they were under president bush. So far I have seen very little come out of the "close relationship" the HRC has with the White House.

    Why is the HRC not leading the crusade for the repel of DADT? Is it because it isn't a convenient time? To quote a good friend of mine "the right time to do the right thing is right now" Must I remind the HRC that when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, that it wasn't a convenient time?

    If nothing else Fight for Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach and other service members who are being told that they aren't good enough to serve this nation, that their blood is not good enough to be shed in the battle to keep our nation safe.

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 16, 2010 10:28:14 AM

  13. Sorry - I disagree with calling your elected officials at this point. We've been doing that for months on DADT and ENDA. It is not getting through. HRC has sat by, loosely thrown effort toward both DADT and ENDA. Joe Solmonese was at our local HRC dinner in Oct and claimed we would see ENDA by the end of 2009. WTF? What was he reading that I wasn't? - it was all a part of their fundraising pitch.

    They use congressional efforts as a carrot while doing little to nothing about it. Their fundraising staff is 3 times the size of their field staff. And all their field staff does is take credit for work other groups actually do on the ground. For example last year in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Freedom to Marry did all the work and HRC took a TON of credit after giving them a financial gift of $50k.

    So no, HRC needs to be pushed. This is a sink or swim situation. If we don't see real results from the millions invested in HRC during a Democratic majority, there needs to be a serious leadership change.

    Posted by: FomerHRCBoardofGovernor | Feb 16, 2010 10:32:23 AM

  14. This is can we get a swarm for the UAFA?

    Posted by: Rich | Feb 16, 2010 10:36:36 AM

  15. Nobody is saying not to call Congress as well. Of course you should do that - with every issue you want to see passed.

    Posted by: Andy Towle | Feb 16, 2010 11:09:27 AM

  16. More of this silly idea that phone calls and emails make a difference - they don't.

    I'm curious, what "pressure" can HRC apply on politicians? What will they do tell the President they're upset or unhappy? As if the President doesn't already know this?

    For politicians, LGBT-issues are not negotiable. They are based on the beliefs of their constituents. The 111th Congress never had enough pro-LGBT members to pass anything. Phone calls, emails, marches and now HRC wagging their well-funded finger at them will accomplish NOTHING.

    The lesson from this "Blog Swarm" will be the realization that HRC has NO influence on LGBT-related legislation and neither do we.

    There is no political solution to LGBT issues. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we focus on the real work of creating equality.

    Obama knows the repeal of DADT is not possible with the Congress and all he promised was to "work with the Congress." Dick Cheney didn't say he supported the repeal of DADT, either. He said he was listening to the military and that the policy should be "reviewed." Welcome to many years of review, not repeal.

    The votes are not there for the repeal of DADT or DOMA or ENDA. They never were there. You can lobby, shame and harass all you want - it doesn't work.

    Posted by: AndrewW | Feb 16, 2010 11:20:17 AM

  17. Andy Towle:

    If calling a politician mattered, why would we just hire a bunch of Kelly Temps and give them phones? It is ridiculous and naive to suggest that calls, emails and letters matter. YOU know they DON'T.

    Posted by: Brian NYC | Feb 16, 2010 11:23:09 AM

  18. My phone message to the nice woman at HRC, beyond responding to DADT, also addressed the HRCs disconnect with the LGBT community, being more content to have big parties with celebrities and lacking the outreach into the community that the HRC serves.

    I'm not sure what HRC can do about DADT, but today was a chance to let HRC know they are not serving their members and the LGBT community as well as it could.

    Posted by: Skiff | Feb 16, 2010 11:32:46 AM

  19. I'm in!!

    It';s long past time that we make HRC work to justify their salaries and 8 million dollkar headquarters!

    Posted by: Wolfie | Feb 16, 2010 11:35:07 AM

  20. There are so many gays knocking HRC because HRC does not often represent the interests of many LGBTIQ folks. HRC is an assimilationist organization that tends to best represent middle-class/wealthy white gender-normative gay men (and some women) who don't question/challenge heteronormativity (too much) and want to blend into mainstream society. That might work for you, which is fine, but it is not for everyone.

    Like so many groups before us, those on the margins of the margins get overlooked, left out and demonized for not fitting in or refusing to become someone else (assimilating) so that they can be treated with respect and have equality. You can see it in so many discussions about LGBTIQ issues, including on this blog. "We" condemn traditionalists/moralists/conservatives who say marriage IS like "this" and only “this” or when they argue that the way to live your life should look like “this” and not “that” but then we turn around and do the same thing to those on the margins of the LGBTIQ community. Gender presentation should look like “this,” not like “that” – how many times have we heard the argument about those damn trannies, drag queens, leather-daddies and faeries who "hurt" the movement because they won’t just act normal? We could so easily replace the comments that many gay men and lesbians make about other queers - if only they would act and dress like real men or if they would stop acting like a freak - with the words of moralists and conservatives - if only they would find god or if only they would be NORMAL, like us.

    This is how inequality is perpetuated and maintained!

    We each should follow our own bliss, as normative or non-normative as that may be, as long as you don’t harm others, BUT it is important to ask ourselves (often) a few questions: 1) do my positions and actions perpetuate and maintain the marginalization and inequality of others? and 2) why is it OK for me to define how others should live and present and love if I don’t want conservatives/moralists/etc defining these things for me? 3) Whose definition of normal is the “right” definition of normal?

    As far as the movement failing because of criticism of HRC and LGBTIQ group “in-fighting,” historical and social science research on social movements would suggest otherwise. All large-scale social movements have/had fractions and “in-fighting” about how to advance or “win” the cause, and this diversity of positions and stances within a movement tends to strengthen a movement rather than hurt it. Questioning and challenging an organization like HRC is beneficial because it keeps them on their organizational toes and sparks debate and (hopefully) keeps them accountable to the people/groups they (supposedly) represent.

    Posted by: GMT | Feb 16, 2010 11:48:43 AM

  21. The point of the "swarm" seems to be to urge HRC to urge the President to take leadership on 2010 repeal of DADT.

    I'm in.

    And then we need to "swarm" the President to take leadership on everything. Anything! You know, like health care/insurance reform and climate change and jobs.

    Posted by: RichardR | Feb 16, 2010 12:29:47 PM

  22. HRC is a waste of oxygen.

    No, the gay and lesbian community does NOT need the HRC.


    You might as well set fire to your money in the street--you will get the same result.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Feb 16, 2010 12:58:39 PM

  23. I hate the hrc, but its time they put up or shut up. Make them work their asses off.

    Posted by: Name: | Feb 16, 2010 1:23:07 PM

  24. WTF?

    People, get involved in your local politics! I am in contact with my reps daily. I just confirmed that the Dem candidate for Governor is coming to our Stonewall Townhall and I guarantee that will be more effective than some bizarre initiative to get Gay Inc to do what they should have been doing all along.

    Give me a break.

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Feb 16, 2010 2:00:04 PM

  25. i call b.s. they're all cowards! leadership vacuum my left heinie pad. what do all the pro-gay polls in the world mean, if the leaders of each local community are petrified to act on such polls? time for the gay community to play harder ball and start giving up the cash since that's the only thing that talks. cash will win this, and they'll find their balls.

    Posted by: zeta | Feb 16, 2010 2:04:25 PM

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