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

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We truly believe that if HRC were to openly call on the White House to get DADT repealed this year, it would happen.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: membership@hrc.org


  1. David says

    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.

  2. arthur says

    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.

  3. dc-20008 says

    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.

  4. JimSur212Jim says

    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.

  5. says

    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?

  6. anthony says

    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.

  7. daftpunkydavid says

    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.

  8. Chris says

    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.

  9. FomerHRCBoardofGovernor says

    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.

  10. AndrewW says

    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.

  11. Brian NYC says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. GMT says

    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.

  14. RichardR says

    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.

  15. dc-20008 says

    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.

  16. says


    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.

  17. says

    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.

  18. says

    “‘[DADT repeal] requires presidential leadership. This cannot be addressed successfully without that kind of leadership’, [Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl] Levin told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.” – “The Hill,” June 2009.

  19. says

    amended to say: send cash to your local representatives, NOT to HRC. HRC is a joke, and I’m a little saddened anyone out of college would still buy their bloated crap. But everyone here advising to contact and write letters their local elected officials is dead on.

    Just…. remember to include a check when you do so. Even a dollar will do. Send that dollar. Is it a bribe? Yes. Does it work? More than HRC and chains. Money talks. Write those letters, make it personal, send a dollar. Let them know that regular people want the repeal.

  20. ben in oakland says

    sent to SF Chronicle;

    The military wants more studies on repealing Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell, and that repeal is years away. They’ve had seventeen years to study it. They have the experience of our allies that openly gay and lesbian soldiers serve well alongside heterosexual soldiers, posing no threat to morale or discipline. What else needs to be studied?

    And then we find they want to avoid a theoretical backlash, including violence, though they believe that this could be contained with standard discipline.

    So who exactly is the threat to unit cohesion and good order? The soldiers that want to serve their country honorably, without the constant threat of being thrown out, or the soldiers who are so homophobic that they would ignore discipline, trash unit cohesion, and commit violence against their fellow soldiers. They get to stay, and the gay soldiers go?

    This whole “rationale” underlines that this has never been about the ability of gay people to serve well and honorably, but about the prejudice of some heterosexuals, given a thin veneer of respectability by concerns about “unit cohesion”.

    Gay soldiers are already serving alongside their compatriots. Let them do so openly, and now. I’m sure the best military in the world can handle it.

  21. says

    GMT, hi. you write, “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.”

    Do you have citations for that? It seems counter-intuitive to suggest that in-fighting leads to strength instead of a result like the 1992 and 2000 elections (enough of a split that the otherside was able to overpower). If the in-fighting leads to tolerance and acceptance of what’s being fought over, that’s one thing. But the Democrats have proven that in-fighting leads to not getting the job done. Still, science doesn’t lie. What am I missing?

    Also, regarding “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.” I agree with you while not agreeing with your point. Yes, HRC represents affluent white gays. That’s where the money is. The money of rich white male gays fought Prop 8… and the mainstream gay community was FINE with that, giving little to no outreach to other segments of the population, gay or otherwise.

    Reality is that the vast majority of mainstream gay activism is by AND FOR that same group. Even the non-normative (and what exactly is classified as non-normative? all the things Mike Wallace was condemned for saying in that recently unearthed interview from the 60s on gay men?) the non-normative are overwhelmingly represented by affluent whites when they do speak.

    I disagree with you about the need for assimilation. I don’t like that word, but maybe there is something to it in spite of my dislike for the connotations surrounding it. You believe it is not necessary. I believe that the only way gays can be accepted is if gayness is seen as normal, no big deal, private. Not in the sexless saint ‘will and grace’ way, but definitely not in the flaming vapid homo ‘will and grace’ way, either.

    I don’t know how more gay viewpoints can be included that are not affluent white romantic versus affluent white hedonist. But it would be nice if those affluent white groups would spread their umbrella to their non affluent white and non white brothers and sisters. HRC is not that organization. It exists for itself, for its name. Remember how Jesse Jackson’s group was condemned for accepting the racial equivalent of carbon credits from organizations like NASCAR? and how that money went to the group and not really to help people? I see HRC as exactly the same. That may not be fair, and I have no proof that HRC pulls the same stunts, but that’s how I see them. I don’t see how contacting them or donating to them will lead to real world change.

    Real world change will come from normals not seeing gays as a threat in every day life. Out gay monogamous couples will help that. Out (and closeted) gay bathhouse denizens don’t.

  22. says

    @ Ben in Oakland, you wrote, “This whole “rationale” underlines that this has never been about the ability of gay people to serve well and honorably, but about the prejudice of some heterosexuals, given a thin veneer of respectability by concerns about “unit cohesion”.

    Well said. I would venture to say most of those are of the Nancy Elliott variety. Obama is not the president to pull a Truman on this, though. Hillary Clinton (for different reasons) wouldn’t have been, either, though. McCain sure as hell wouldn’t.

    I still fault our elected officials, who want a buck to stop with someone who is not themselves.

  23. BobN says

    All these posts about how the president needs to lead, etc., etc., seem to ignore the fact that he is leading. He has set out his plan and, if we had any brains, we’d be doing our damnedest to make sure those plans led to the eventual repeal of DADT and, in the meantime, the very best deal we can get during the review period, e.g. suspension of investigations.

    INSTEAD, we’re off on a pointless and debilitating campaign to weaken our position, delegitimize our spokesmen, and demoralize ourselves by pursuing a goal that just isn’t in the cards. The GOP couldn’t ask for a more cooperative opponent.

  24. says

    WHAT “plan,” BobN????

    Another recipe for pie in the sky? There’s no guarantee that this YEAR-LONG study that will come back AFTER the Dems will, minimally, have lost votes in Congress, and possibly the all powerful chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee to John “I LUV DADT” McShame will advance repeal.

    It’s first commandment is to poll troop opinion. Well, what if that poll alleges that the troops say, “DON’T repeal”? What then?

    How many people, gay and nongay, orgs and media, saying that Obama has dropped the DADT repeal ball to screw into your head that it’s a fact. That there’s only cynicism and danger to be found in the fact that the same person he appointed to shepherd health care reform has been appointed to this?

    You’re living in a logical and factual vacuum, created and distributed by our NON-Commander-in-Chief.

  25. GMT says

    ZETA: My point about fractures in movements, or various organizations with various tactics and stances within a broad social movement, is twofold. First, most large-scale social movements are made up of multiple social movement organizations – from institutional and highly formal to less formal and less intuitional. While these organizations may have a shared/general goal, they often differ on many other things, including who is seen as the “us” and “them” and the tactics used to accomplish the goal(s). Second, these fractures or different approaches, which often create “in-fighting” between various movement organizations and actors, often (not always) strengthen the movement because some are using/working within institutionalized channels and tactics and interacting with elites and others are using/working within non-institutional channels and tactics. As a result, various aspects of the larger socio-political environment are impacted (to various degrees). For example, more legitimate and professional organization can “benefit” from or capitalize on the actions of “radical” groups who upset/piss off the mainstream public/political elites; arguing that politicians should come to the table with them, the more reasonable group, to work something out. Similarly, radical groups or less formalized groups, who tend to use less institutionalized/more radical tactics, can “benefit” from the actions or inaction of more formalized organization by gaining supporters who are upset with the formal organization(s) that tend to play the political game and are often perceived as doing less or moving too slowly. These extremes, and all the organizations in between, tend to balance a movement and, ultimately, strengthen it.

    Obviously, as you point out, these fractions and the resulting in-fighting can be, at times, detrimental to the movement, which is why most movement organization have to “frame” and deal with both opponents and other “pro” organizations within the movement. While I agree with you about the Democratic Party and the 1992 and 2000 elections generally, it’s important to remember that the Democratic Party is not a social movement organization and, therefore, it doesn’t work as an example of the problems of in-fighting within social movements. I’ve listed a few references that speak to these general ideas.
    McCarthy, John D. and Mayer N. Zald. 1977. “Resource Mobilization and Social Movements” American Journal of Sociology 82(6): 1212-1241.
    Cress, Daniel M. and David A. Snow. 1996. “Mobilization at the Margins: Resources, Benefactors, and the Viability of Homeless Social Movement Organizations,” American Sociological Review 61: 1089-1109.
    Staggenborg, Suzanne. 1988. “Consequences of Professionalization and Formalization in the Pro-Choice Movement,” American Sociological Review 53: 585-606.
    Voss, Kim and Rachel Sherman. 2000. “Breaking the Iron Law of Oligarchy: Union Revitalization in the American Labor Movement,” American Journal of Sociology 106: 303-349.
    Van Dyke, Nella, Marc Dixon and Helen Carlon. 2007. “Manufacturing Dissent: Labor Revitalization, Union Summer and Student Protest” Social Forces 86.
    McAdam, Doug. 1986. “Recruitment to High-Risk Activism: The Case of Freedom Summer,” American Journal of Sociology 92: 64-90. – or a chapter from Freedom Summer
    Haines, Herbert H. 1984. “Black Radicalization and the Funding of Civil Rights: 1951-1970,” Social Problems 32: 31-43.
    Morris, Aldon. 1993. “Birmingham Confrontation Reconsidered: An Analysis of the Dynamics and Tactics of Mobilization,” American Sociological Review 58:621-636.
    McAdam, Doug. 1999 [1982]. Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  26. GMT says

    ZETA: As far as assimilation, I agree with you that assimilation is necessary IF the goal is to gain access to the broader society for SOME but not ALL LGBTIQ people – assimilation is not open or available or possible for everyone, considering it requires a certain level of “blending” and a lot of cultural loss. If the goal, however, is to change the structure of society so that it is actually a society that is diverse and treats ALL equally, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender presentation, sexuality, etc. (and the intersections of these multiple identities), assimilation does not work. I say doesn’t work because there is a loss of culture and of uniqueness in favor of dominant groups. We like to think that assimilation involves a neat and happy picture: all the different people coming together in a “melting pot” where they all get mixed up and stirred together to create an all-encompassing, diverse, happy group, but that is generally not the reality of assimilation. Those on the outside – those LGBTIQ folks not of the dominant race or religion or belief system or gender identity or class – tend to be stripped of their culture and uniqueness and come out looking and acting a lot like the dominant group. That’s NOT diversity or equality for everyone.

    You say that the only way gays can be accepted is if gayness is seen as normal, no big deal, private, but whose idea or presentation or experience of “gay” or “gayness” gets to be seen as normal, no big deal and private? I agree with you that this is most likely a reality but it is a sad state of “community” (especially for a community that can be so vibrant and diverse and amazing) and, as I said earlier, it perpetuates inequality. There is no getting around it; To say don’t deny me access because I am not exactly like you, but then turn around and deny someone else access because they are not exactly like you is a perpetuation of inequality, and it makes you the same as the oppressors you fought against to gain access! (Just to be clear, I’m not referencing you, ZETA, in this general use of “you”) To this point, I’m reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem:

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  27. BobN says

    Out of curiosity, I went to see what, if anything, the SLDN had to say about “swarming the HRC”.

    Nada. Oddly enough, they suggest that, if you want to DO SOMETHING about DADT, you should phone YOUR senators. Seems so much more sensible…

  28. FunMe says

    I think this is GREAT!

    It’s about time that HRC start doing something for the GLBT community instead of slowing down progress.

    When the Obama administration’s DOJ defended DOMA in court last year equating gays to incest, there was a lot of criticism. As the pressure increased, they decided to have HRC be a cover for the Obama’s complete lack of support. That’s when I realized HRC is a waste of my money.

    All Obama has to do is give them a “champagne and caviar” party at the White House, and the HRC run with camera’s and all and stop the pressure on the US President.

    It is time for the HRC to start pressuring the President now that they have a foot in the door. It’s time for them to start showing RESULTS instead of just playing nice with the President and elected officials.

    Who cares about the naysayers or HRC paid trolls who come here.

    Keep up the pressure!

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