HRC Suggests President Should Address Bullying, NOT ENDA or Marriage Equality in ‘State of the Union’ Speech

From a NYT piece in which The Caucus asks leaders of various interest groups around the nation what Obama should say in his State of the Union speech:

Fred Sainz, spokesman for Human Rights Campaign: Hrc

“This past year Americans were confronted with the epidemic of bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people that goes on in our schools. The State of the Union address would be an appropriate time for the President to assert leadership on this moral issue and call on all schools to address the problem head on.”

While bullying is certainly a worthy issue to take on, shouldn't HRC, our nation's largest advocacy group for LGBTs,be challenging the President to take on ENDA, or DOMA and marriage equality – something substantial and civil rights-oriented in the legal sphere?

Or is this what's setting the pace for HRC in 2011?

EqualitymattersRichard Socarides, president of Equality Matters, is more on track imho:

“In order to be the kind of transformational leader he can be, he should show the country the way forth on dismantling the so-called Defense of Marriage Act so that the law no longer robs the states of their right to decide the question of marriage, nor deprives lawfully married gay Americans of their federal benefits. That’s the advice I’m giving to all the people I know who might actually influence the speech. If you want to be a leader, this is the speech in which to do it.”


  1. Tigerama says

    We have the WORST leadership – can you imagine where black civil rights would be today if they had taken this same Droopy Dog approach to CIVIL RIGHTS?! Ugh.

  2. Rob says

    HRC’s “leadership” on GLBT civil rights’ issues continues to boggle the mind. I fully support an anti-bullying statement in the President’s upcoming SOTU speech BUT nothing recommended on ENDA and DOMA? After all, it was under the last Democratic administration both DOMA and DADT became laws. Hopefully, we’re about to see the final end of DADT thanks to a lot of voices speaking up about it (not just HRC). So, why the timidity to suggest including ENDA and DOMA? I just don’t get our inside-the-Beltway lobbyists.

  3. Chitown Kev says



    And if you knew anything about black civil rights history (which didn’t begin in the 1950’s) then you wouldn’t post such ignorance.

  4. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    Securing equality would do more to end bullying than “y’all play nice now” hectoring which only causes more bullying. HRC obviously doesn’t understand the mind of the bully, so their approach would only cause more of it.

    I’d like Obama to publicly remind the nation that G&Ls have an equal right to “exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and… just sayin’…. (wink)”. Now that would end bullying. I’m not saying nobody would get hurt but WE’RE getting hurt and killed now so what’s the problem?

  5. brenda says

    Let’s not forget that Richard Socarides was the gay Clinton official in the white house in the 1990s that presided over the passing of the Defense of Marriage Act and DADT. Richard Socarides is a turn coat who has NEVER been honest about his role in actually PUTTING THESE LAWS IN PLACE. And in his statement about what the president should say in his state of the union address, Richard Socarides did not say anything about ENDA.

    I’m sorry but Richard Socarides is just as dangerous and turncoat and ineffectual as the HRC. The problem is that all of these folks are political hacks and masters of triangulation. They say what makes them look good to the people who they are trying to impress. In his case, Richard Socarides is trying to be the voice of today’s change while also being the only gay man with real power in the Clinton white house who failed every test of integrity when these anti-gay laws were passed rather than RESIGNING and speaking out brutally against them.

    Stop drinking the Koolaid, people, and realize that the HRC is, in fact, no better or worse than Equality Matters if Richard Socarides is the head of this new group.

    Finally, things would be better if Richard Socarides would be honest and deeply apologize for his central role in DOMA and DADT and simply step aside.

    This is the kind of context that needs to be mentioned when we talk about Richard Socarides.

  6. Paul says

    When HRC uses words like “epidemic”, it only exposes the problem of teen bullying to scrutiny and criticism. There was no sudden ‘epidemic’ of teen bullying last year. There were however a few high-profile instances which rightly received national attention. Teen bullying is an ongoing and serious problem. Hysterical words encourage hysterical reactions. I long ago took the HRC’s equal symbol off my car. They remain clueless.

  7. gaylib says

    Why am I not surprised that HRC is providing a distraction on equality for the President using the dead bodies of LGBT youth as props? What scum.

  8. says

    It’s cute that people here are still referring to HRC as our leadership. I’d rather let AAA represent me.

    Can we start Gay-ARP or something?

  9. says

    Those expecting Obama to take the lead in dismantling DOMA have not been paying attention to the last two years.

    Obama is not going to dismantle a law the effects of which (denying gays the right to marry) he actively supports.

  10. Acronym Jim says

    Why is this being posed as an “either, or” situation. If the president chooses to address issues important to the gay community, there’s no reason he shouldn’t make mention of ENDA, DOMA and the bullying problem.

  11. Scott says

    With a heavily Republican house, we are in a holding pattern for 2 years. ENDA and DOMA are non-issues legislatively — and Obama only does things legislatively. So I don’t know what you expect. In the next two years, we should focus on:

    1. State and federal court challenges
    2. State legislation
    3. Marketing equality on a national and grassroots level (via coming out, outreach to rural and minority communities, etc.)

    These two years are like a college football team’s rebuilding years after a star senior quarterback graduates. Plant the seeds, and then work our asses off to turn the House around in 2012.

    That is a reasonable, adult strategy that maximizes the chances for RESULTS. Instead of petulent whining and foot-stomping.

  12. MarcusJC says

    A few months ago it made headlines that a mother loved her son enough let him be himself on Halloween and dress as a girl. It made headlines that a mother loved and accepted her son that much because it’s an anomaly. The president should tell the stories of these bullied kids and admonish this country for not loving its children more. I don’t think anything could do more to turn this debate in favor of full equality.

  13. says

    With Barack Obama in the White House, we were going to be in a holding pattern for marriage equality anyway.

    Get used to it, folks. DADT is the end of the road for gay rights victories under this president. He’d rather we were dead than married to each other.

  14. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    Roscoe: DADT repeal won’t be implemented during the Obama administration. There are years of foot-dragging and lack of leadership ahead.

  15. Dan says

    Why can’t he address all of these issues. HRC seems to be so removed from reality these days. They need to peel away from their 5k a plate benefits where they rub elbows with celebrities and find out what life for average GLBT people is about.

  16. Joseph says

    HRC — please just STFU and go away already! Any gay who donates to this ridiculous organization is an idiot.

  17. r says

    if we don’t address bullying, how can we expect to end legal discrimination in employment or in marriage. too bad we can’t address all three

  18. says

    @ Brenda: in addition to the fact that Socarides played no role in the creation of DADT [he’s not even mentioned in any of the multiple books about it you might try reading] YOU, too, can pull your head out of Obama’s ass.

    Socarides isn’t President.
    Clinton isn’t President.
    McShame isn’t President.
    Palin isn’t President.
    Fred Phelps isn’t President.

    Now, just grab your neck and PULL hard. Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!

  19. Lonnie says

    Does the continued second class status of LGBT contribute to an environment in which bullies are empowered and encouraged to attack LGBT people? How can you criticize bullies when the federal government, from the President on down, declares LGBT people to be less than equal? You can’t point the finger at individuals when bigotry is enshrined and enforced in federal law. The first step to addressing individualized bigotry is to end legalized bigotry.

    HRC = FAILS YET AGAIN. They provide cover for the Democrats’ homophobia.

  20. BobN says

    Wow. That’s got to be one of the most skillfully distorted headlines I’ve seen in a long, long time.

  21. Greg says

    How about we begin to address the core of the issue, which EVERYONE looks past: Homophobia. Period. Keep focused on that. Stop putting the cart before the horse, which we have been doing for our entire civil rights fight. Educate people. Be steadfast in reminding everyone that this is not a chosen life. Hold people accountable for the legalized oppression that has been occurring over the years. We need to stop dancing around the basics. Continue to push for legislation, but education and accountability should be the name of the game now.

  22. Randy says

    The president, and hundreds of other people, have already addressed bullying. Frankly, who cares what he thinks about bullying, anyway, when his policy IS to bully us?

    Obama seems to only be able to address one big LGBT issue per year. So in 2011, I expect him to get ENDA passed. Most people already think orientation shouldn’t be a factor in hiring and firing, so it should be easy to get this passed, provided Obama actually wants it.

    It was his plan to drag his feet on this, so I don’t care that the House is Republican. Get it done.

  23. GrecoDutch says

    It starts with the bullying of LGBT children, the bullying continues into adulthood with freedoms being withheld or not even protected. Bullying is not only a children’s issue, it is an issue for everyone when freedoms are only offered and affirmed for certain groups. All of these topics are inter-related and important.

    When one of us are not free, none us are.