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Democratic Donor Withholds Funds Over Immigration, ENDA

Prominent Democratic donor and AFER Board Member Jonathan Lewis is cutting off donations to the party over the exclusion of gay binational couples from the immigration reform bill, the Washington Blade reports:

LewisIn a statement provided to the Washington Blade on Tuesday, the Miami-based philanthropist said he’s turning off the tap for Democrats and urging others to do the same over the immigration issue and President Obama’s reluctance to issue an executive order barring LGBT workplace discrimination.

“During the immigration reform debate Senate Democrats had the opportunity to reverse some of the harm caused by DOMA and they buckled under pressure, essentially taking LGBT families for granted,” Lewis said. “With the president failing to deliver on his promised federal contractor executive order and with Senate Democrats caving to Republican threats, now is the time to stop investing in Democratic cowardice and stand proud by withholding donations until we see our friends’ actions and deeds align with their rhetoric — I will be withholding my donation and asking all of my friends and family members to do the same until such time.”

Lewis accompanied his annnouncement with a blog post called No More Excuses, Mr. President in which he expresses frustration over Obama's unfulfilled LGBT promises.

Writes Lewis:

Last week we saw Democratic senators cave to the threats of Republicans rather than stand up for LGBT bi-national couples on immigration reform. And almost five years into his administration, President Obama still refuses to take the single most effective step he can take to ensure equality of opportunity for millions of LGBT Americans: signing a promised executive order that would require federal contractors to add sexual orientation and gender identity to their existing nondiscrimination policies.

...We've done our part -- over and over and over. Now we need to see concrete steps from the president and Democrats in Congress to address these issues. And we won't accept any more excuses.

The DNC LGBT Leadership Council is holding a major fundraiser tonight in New York City, headlined by recently-out basketball player Jason Collins and Michelle Obama and hsoted by Andy Cohen, asking donors for at least $1,250 and up to $32,400 per person.

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  1. Why won't Obama sign that executive order?


    Posted by: Martin | May 29, 2013 1:25:06 PM

  2. Good for him! I completely agree. I am so tired of the powerful GOP minority guiding the "democrat" party. Makes me crazy. The Dems are now moderate Republicans, The Republicans are practically fascist, and the progressives are dead in the water. As usual I keep supporting and voting for Democrats because they are the less harmful, instead of the best. I applaud Johnathan Lewis.

    Posted by: Critifur | May 29, 2013 1:39:53 PM

  3. Nice to see Obama and Democratic politicians called out as the true cowards and hypocrites they really are. Better than the Rethugs but not much. :)

    Posted by: SFshawn | May 29, 2013 1:45:32 PM

  4. No news here. Lewis is the man behind GetEQUAL, which spent most of the past 5 years aggressively targeting Democratic allies instead of our Republican opposition. And he seems to have a particular hatred for Obama, regardless of how much we've achieved under this administration.

    I wouldn't expect Lewis to have the good sense to recognize that there was no way an inclusive immigration bill was going to pass in the current Congress.

    Posted by: 24play | May 29, 2013 1:47:11 PM

  5. Finally someone in a position of real influence understands how central immigration equality is to the struggle for gay rights.

    Keeping us out, as the Democrats are doing, is a sop to bias, discrimination and homophobia. It serves no other purpose. Chuck Schumer should be ashamed to show his face this Pride.

    Posted by: sundayboy | May 29, 2013 1:57:11 PM

  6. To add to what 24play stated and to address sundayboy, it is very easy to write a post about democrats being cowards and how they betrayed us. But, when asked a practical question, there is never an answer. Here we go!!

    Adding LGBT issues to the immigration bill would require 60 votes (filibuster proof) otherwise immigration reform dies. Therefore, how do you keep "it" in and get the 60 required votes? McCain, Graham, Rubio, Flake on record to filibuster and again, that's not counting the crazies -- Inhofe, Cruz, etc.

    Posted by: Belthazar | May 29, 2013 2:19:25 PM

  7. very well framed arguments, eloquently stated. maybe additional voices of influence will join this chorus.

    i hope someone listens, not just hears.

    Posted by: northalabama | May 29, 2013 2:19:26 PM

  8. Um, he never gave any real money anyway. He's a total dilettante and irrelevant to the process.

    That said, we should continue to push the president to sign the executive order.

    Posted by: Wade | May 29, 2013 2:28:06 PM

  9. Let's hope that someone in attendance at tonight's fundraiser LOUDLY objects to the exclusionary form that the immigration bill is taking, as well as to the lack of an executive order barring federal contractors from workplace discrimination.

    Posted by: Douglas | May 29, 2013 2:47:50 PM

  10. @Belthazer
    How you get LGBT inclusiveness and get it passed is for filibuster reform.
    Reid dragged his a** and caved to 'friendly' Republicans at session start and now we pay the price. Despite petition drives and emails Reid steadfastly refuses to change it.

    Schumer was in fact forced to make a difficult decision because he didn't have 60 votes with LGBT inclusiveness.

    Reid & Obama need to hear our disappointment but let's not delude ourselves ... the real enemy here is still the GOP. Rubio, McCain, McConnell, Graham.

    If this is passed without LGBT language then Obama shouldn't hesitate to issue the executive order he's long promised. Legislative would have been nice but executive or SCOTUS intervention will work until it can be added.

    Posted by: JONES | May 29, 2013 3:07:33 PM

  11. ENDA is much more significantly important for most of us that either an inclusive immigration law or the social-control apparatus of marriage equality. Much as I'd like to see bi-national couples happy and snug, relief from fear of being fired or not hired because you're queer is a much bigger deal. Lean on Obama--make him deliver what counts.

    Posted by: gregorybrown | May 29, 2013 3:51:21 PM

  12. Thank you, Mr. Lewis.

    Posted by: Randy | May 29, 2013 5:48:32 PM

  13. Balthazar, by your logic, nothing can be passed except what Republicans want. And you and Schumer et al. don't even make them filibuster, they cave just at a THREAT of a filibuster. There is no point in supporting Democrats if all they do is cave to Republicans.

    Posted by: Bill | May 29, 2013 8:39:11 PM

  14. It's insupportable nonsense to say that Schumer must fold to the wishes of the GOP. Schumer could insist on an immigration bill for donkeys now and the GOP would be forced to sign it.

    Republicans NEED this bill or they have not future. Schumer and Durbin know this but they didn't even attempt to play their hand.

    Message to gays: we don't have your back.

    Posted by: sundayboy | May 29, 2013 11:42:37 PM

  15. He's right. Instead of the Dems demanding reasons from the GOP that we should buck every single court decision moving us toward equality, they did cave to a vocal majority that would pass DOMA again today, if given the chance.

    I'm tired of the conventional wisdom that we must continue to wait instead of demanding what our nation promises... equality under law.

    Make them own their discrimination. Instead, our allies are complicit with our opponents. Enough already!

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | May 30, 2013 1:40:19 AM

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