Barack Obama | Frank Kameny | Gay Rights | Jay Carney

Obama White House Has No Comments On Kameny's Death

JayCarneyThe Washington Blade caught Jay Carney, the White House press spokesman, in an unusually flat-footed moment when seeking the president's reaction to the death of LGBT civil rights leader Frank Kameny. “I’ll have to take that," said Carney. "I know that he passed away, but I don’t have a comment on that."

Really? How's about "I know that he passed away, and we all obviously feel for his friends and colleagues"?

Or: "I know that he passed away, and I know we're all grateful for the work he's done over the years on behalf of American citizens ..."

Nawp. Carny kicked the can down the road. Carney said he had no explanation for why the White House hadn't issued a statement on Kameny's death, and when asked whether President Obama would visit Mr. Kameny's body as it lies in state, Carney said, rather testily: "I'm not his scheduler."

Hey! The president's a busy guy! No hard feelings! But maybe just a little sentiment wouldn't hurt? A little bit of fellow-feeling?

The president's said nice things about Mr. Kameny before. As the Blade points out:

In 2009, Obama noted Kameny’s presence at the White House reception commemorating June as Pride month and called Kameny a "civil rights pioneer."

"Frank was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay," Obama said. "And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage. And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership."

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  1. Awkward!!

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Oct 22, 2011 10:13:11 AM

  2. To the webmasters:
    Could you please start posting bylines at the head of the article instead of at the end?

    To the more computer savvy:
    Is there some way for me to block all posts by Brandon Thorp, so that I don't have to waste time reading them?

    Posted by: BABH | Oct 22, 2011 10:14:40 AM

  3. @BABH:

    What you can do is stop reading the blog and keep your hateful comments to yourself. Most of us like Brandon Thorpe's posts. It's not cool to be shady and nasty.

    Posted by: brenda | Oct 22, 2011 10:28:37 AM

  4. Gosh, maybe the president is a little busy right now. A statement is forth coming. He hasn't commented on the Saudi Princes death either. Not all items in the news are the center of the universe. Can you give this guy a break?

    Posted by: Dale | Oct 22, 2011 10:38:00 AM

  5. Why is it that Andy's weekend guys can't help but post personal editorials in every single thing they post? Who the hell are these snarky twits? Did you hire the Queerty crew to cover weekends, Andy?

    Posted by: Tanner | Oct 22, 2011 10:47:02 AM

  6. Waaaaaaaay too much commentary on this guy's posts.

    Posted by: gary | Oct 22, 2011 10:48:42 AM

  7. I think you're overreacting here. I highly doubt Jay Carney is up to anything suspicious. CALM DOWN.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Oct 22, 2011 10:50:09 AM

  8. It's a blog, not a news site. They can add as much commentary as they wish. Don't like it, don't read it. As simple as that.

    Posted by: LiamB | Oct 22, 2011 10:53:54 AM

  9. Some of you need to go back to civil rights school and read Carol Hanisch's essay entitled THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL:

    Maybe then you wouldn't be making idiotic, dumb, sit-on-your-hands-queers false criticism when you hear a well-developed personal voice in a blog post.

    Andy Towle includes his own personal voice and personal views in his blog posts too.

    Moreover, the selection of topics, choice of contributors, design--all these things can't be divorced from subjectivity, or the personal.

    Grow up! I can't believe some of you need to be schooled on human rights 101 stuff like this.

    You gay repub trolls always pass gas at the party.

    Posted by: brenda | Oct 22, 2011 11:07:45 AM

  10. Um, I may be wrong here, but I thought this was a blog and not the Times?
    I like the tone, I like the style and I really like the choice of topics. It's different from all the other gay blogs.

    Personally, I think this white house speaker is tone deaf to our importance as voters. he must not have got the memo that we are not less than 1% of the voting population, but 10%.
    And Obama is going to need our votes next year like never before.

    Posted by: fierce urgency of whenever | Oct 22, 2011 11:58:34 AM

  11. I don't share Brenda's judgmental tone, but I agree with the cruxt of her point. I think many of us gay men (specifically gay men more than lesbians in part, because of anti-male feminists reinforcement and encouragement of anti-male-positive male homoflexibility) suffer from a shell shocked stigma more like the stigma of freed slaves in tony morrison's writings than anything else I can think of. So we sometimes don't support honest and fair criticism like this of otherwise-allies because a part of us just doesn't want to believe that things aren't already better. But they aren't. And it's ok for someone to point that out. And we SHOULDN'T give those we would like to think of as allies a free pass.

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Oct 22, 2011 12:01:02 PM

  12. I meant for comma b4 "in part," not after.

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Oct 22, 2011 12:05:14 PM

  13. My point is, like any media source that I consume regularly, I like some authors here while others are not worth my time. No doubt some New York Times readers enjoy Maureen Dowd, but putting her byline at the top of the article allows me to skip it without a second glance.

    No offense to Brandon, or to those who like his posts. Just not for me.

    Posted by: BABH | Oct 22, 2011 12:13:18 PM

  14. Frank Kameny is definitely not getting the respect a man of his stature deserved. For more on this subject:

    This essay will only be posted for a short time.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Oct 22, 2011 12:22:20 PM

  15. "It's not cool to be shady and nasty."

    And this is your defense of shady and mean-spirited over-writing by the weekend staff? Girllll ....

    Gary, Tanner and BABH have a very good point. Penn and Brandon over-write and over-snark. Andy does offer POV, but it's very subtle or just a few words.

    And I'd rather see the author bylines at top as well. Towle, Rettenmund, Belonsky and Goff are fab. These weekend d-listers are trying to hard to be the nest Josh Kilmer Purcell. And that doesn't say much.

    Posted by: Marshall | Oct 22, 2011 12:26:53 PM

  16. C'mon....diversity! It's OKAY to read different kinds of articles. If you don't like it, don't read it. I support Andy and I trust his decisions. As long as it's not offensive and hateful, it's all good. I for one, am thankful that Andy gets us someone to read on the weekends. I read this site daily and I love the diverse subjects, opions, views that is on here.

    Posted by: javo | Oct 22, 2011 12:35:32 PM

  17. Andy Towle owns this blog. He chooses the content and the contributors. Therefore they are obviously in line with his world view. So if y'all wingnuts are uncomfortable with the more direct political commentary from our weekend buds I suggest you try GOProud where you will no doubt have no problem with cognitive dissonance.

    Posted by: Gary | Oct 22, 2011 12:37:29 PM

  18. Dear Marshall, et al:

    Thanks for reading. Sorry you dislike the snark in some of my posts. Ive been working for the last six months at Gawker, where snarkiness becomes a way of life. Im trying to wean myself off the stuff, and I beg your patience in the meantime.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Oct 22, 2011 12:40:56 PM

  19. Brandon doesn't seem to understand that Jay speaks for the president and can't make up a reaction. He should have anticipated the question, I suppose, but Brandon's suggestions for winging it are preposterous.

    I've always loved the tone of Towleroad. Let's hope is doesn't urn into another blather blog. It's always been better than that.

    Posted by: will | Oct 22, 2011 12:40:59 PM

  20. What the hell is a "nawp"?

    Posted by: Kc | Oct 22, 2011 12:50:06 PM

  21. FRANK DIED NEARLY TWO WEEKS AGO!!! However you spin it, Marshall, et al., you're just playing "Shoot the Messenger" because you don't like the message—so you've failed to hide your six little Barackroach legs.

    As I've said before, I'll NEVER vote for ANY Repug but neither will I join the Marshalls of the world in throwing those six little legs in the air for ANY Dem politician when he or his staff screw up. Brandon's rhetoricals were perfectly measured. Just because Carney [who conceded he already knew about Frank's death] inexplicably hadn't yet been given the Party Line about it [gee, what happen to that crackerjack great new White House LGBT liason our "leaders" were drooling over a couple of weeks ago?] is NO excuse for his not having winged it.

    TRANSLATION: "Thou Shall Not Toucheth Anything About The Gay Without Official Sanction And Script Else Thou Mightest Loseth Gayeth Hating Voters!"

    Hellooo? NO ONE who hates gays THAT much is EVER going to vote for Barack Obama.

    Look for some statement to be released. Michelle might even show up at the viewing. But that will NOT wipe away the stink of nothing having been released many days ago NOR Carney's treating the death of this man who was a HUGE admirer and defender of the President as an untouchable subject.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Oct 22, 2011 12:53:14 PM

  22. Brenda: "You gay repub trolls always pass gas at the party.
    Gary: "if y'all wingnuts are uncomfortable with the more direct political commentary from our weekend buds I suggest you try GOProud"

    Because anyone who disagrees with any single opinion you hold is a Republican? Even people who disagree with an unwarranted criticism of our Democratic President and his staff?

    Posted by: BABH | Oct 22, 2011 1:02:49 PM

  23. Gosh, if you don't like Brandon's style, don't click on the stories, in fact, just skip the weekend posts and come back on Monday. Really, some of you sound like whining children, and you think he's the annoying one? Don't take the criticism too hard, Brandon, you're doing your job fine.

    Anyway, I agree that Carney's job is to speak for the president. With that said, the fact that, clearly, little to no attention has been placed on Mr. Kameny's death isn't acceptable. Any decent response that shows they cared would have sufficed. It's a lack of respect that we as a community shouldn't take as lightly as some of you seem to be.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 22, 2011 1:08:53 PM

  24. Everything I hear about this President literally like makes me hate him more. I think he's terribly creepy — and I'm not a gay Republican! I'm as absolutely liberal as you could go. I've just always (specifically) disliked Obama and moments like this are the kind of moments that have helped me decide. There was like a theory of biography from a couple of thousand years ago or whatever, that specific moments were how leaders should be characterized — and this is one of those moments.

    Posted by: ggggb | Oct 22, 2011 1:23:51 PM

  25. It doesn't seem like it would be difficult for this White House to be likable - Obama often is. But "likable" frequently isn't what you get. Nothing friendly about Carney's statement. Carney is reined in from saying something sympathetic? Really? That's either just weird or it's revealing of a deep inner heartlessness in this White House. Or maybe Carney's afraid to rile up Republicans - that's seems to be the default position for Obama.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Oct 22, 2011 1:26:31 PM

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