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04/19/2007


Democratic Party LGBT Fundraiser Tainted by Obama DOMA Brief

Obama's now resoundingly criticized Department of Justice defense of DOMA brief could not have come at a worse time for a Democratic Party LGBT fundraiser headlined by Vice President Joe Biden scheduled for next week in Washington D.C. As you may have read by now on Politico, Americablog, or Pam's House Blend, I had planned on attending but early yesterday made a decision that I would not. I wrote DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias (who is a friend outside of any professional relationship we have) and told him that I did not feel at all good about the lack of movement within the Obama administration on LGBT issues and given the content of the Department of Justice brief I could not attend in good conscience. My colleague, Towleroad's political director Corey Johnson, is not attending either.

MixnerDavid Mixner has bowed out as well, he wrote yesterday:

"I will not attend a fundraiser for the National Democratic Party in Washington next week when the current administration is responsible for these kind of actions. How will they ever take us seriously if we keep forking out money while they harm us. For now on, my money is going to battles within the community such as the fight in Maine or the March on Washington! I am so tired of being told by Democratic operatives to 'suck it up' because so many other profound issues are at stake. It is as if our fight for our freedom is single handedly responsible for the fate of all other issues. Bullshit. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for others to 'suck it up' for us and finally, without conditions, join our fight for our freedom!"

Alan van Capelle of the Empire State Pride Agenda has told John Aravosis at Americablog that he too has pulled out.

Tobias, who agrees with those critical of the brief, still believes that the President meant what he said in his promises to LGBT people, he told Politico today: "If this debacle of a brief represented the President's views, I'd boycott too. [I] [t]otally understand all the hurt and anger, thought Joe Solmonese['s] letter to the President was spot on. Still personally totally believe in the President. His Pride Proclamation, and his call to repeal DOMA, are genuine."

Pam Spaulding, who published a leaked list of those scheduled to attend, has called upon her readers to ask Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis and other leaders why they are attending.

Writes Ben Smith: "Organizers, I'm told, are scrambling to get visible White House action on gay issues in advance of the June 25 dinner to prevent it from becoming a protest stage."

UPDATE: HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse, former Clinton aide Richard Socarides out...


Gay Men Accept, Retain Top Positions at the Democratic Party

Rufusgifford_jeremybernard

The Southern Voice reports that fundraiser Rufus Gifford, who with his partner Jeremy Bernard, raised millions for the Obama campaign, is expected to accept a role as the new finance director for the DNC. I shot the above photo of Gifford (left) and Bernard at the opening ceremonies of the Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Voice's piece also notes that DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias has been asked to stay on in his role by incoming Chairman Tim Kaine. Another high-profile gay figure in the DNC is New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. You may have seen our interview with him last week. Buckley was elected the new President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs.

You may have missed...
Towleroad Interviews Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair [tr]
A Partisan Message from DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias [tr]
L.A. Weekly on Obama's Gay Fundraisers [tr]


A Partisan Message from DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias

Tobias_2

***EXCLUSIVE to TOWLEROAD - DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias spoke at the Convention this afternoon. More on his remarks tomorrow. He's pictured above (left), following those remarks, with his partner, fashion designer Charles Nolan. I asked him if he'd like to write us a post on the occasion of this year's Convention. I've posted it below.

GuestbloggerI watched my first Democratic Convention in 1960 at Camp Wigwam, where I was secretly and hopelessly in love with Timmy Morse. Which was a problem.

The older you are (or the deeper into the back woods of today's Alabama you live) the more you can relate to just how big -- just how enormous -- this problem was.

08_3Which is why I come to Denver, in my role as glorified concierge and apologiser-in-chief ("we put you in a Residence Inn, Ambassador? Oh, my God, I'm so SORRY!"), with such a sense of wonder and gratitude.

For our country to have come so far since 1960 is amazing (at least to me). And a lot of the progress comes thanks to Democrats, who've overwhelmingly been leaning forward with us, against opposition at every step from an overwhelming majority of backward-leaning Republicans.

I'm sorry to make it partisan, but when every one of our primary candidates in 2004 and 2008 favored our open military service (for example) and every one of theirs opposed it -- how is it NOT partisan?

I'm sorry to make it partisan, but when our nominee favors everything we want short of marriage (and even sends a public letter congratulating "all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks") -- and their nominee OPPOSES everything we want (even opposes including us under existing hate-crimes legislation) -- how is it not partisan?

I'm sorry to make it partisan, but when more than 350 of our delegates and alternates are openly LGBT . . . when our chairman appoints a transgendered person to our Platform Committee . . . when the guy who's been training our organizers around the country for three years was specifically encouraged by our Chairman to "come out" at every one of those hundreds and hundreds of training sessions (because once they get to know gay people in Kentucky and Kansas everything changes) . . . when the third most powerful guy in our candidate's campaign is openly gay . . . when the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is openly gay . . . when the next First Lady (knock wood) uses the phrase "from Selma to Stonewall" and the next President (knock wood) tells the congregation of the Ebenezer Baptist Church that we need to get over homophobia in the African-American community -- BUT HIS OPPONENT FAVORS WRITING DISCRIMINATION INTO THE ARIZONA CONSTITUTION -- how can it not be partisan?

Uh, oh. I'm getting carried away. But it's been so heartbreaking to see the other side play dirty . . . win . . . and then run our country off the rails.

And now we have a chance to fix it. To elect another inspiring young Senator (not 43, as in 1960, but just turned 47) and put aside our fears (would Kennedy, a Catholic, take his orders from the Pope?) and get to work.

Because BOY has the current President ever left us a huge mess to clean up.

For those of you out here in Denver with me, feel free to come by for an apology ("you got stuck in line HOW long? I'm so SORRY"). But bring your credit card.

And for those who had the good sense to stay home with TiVo and an umbrella drink, but who want to toss in a little visibly LGBT support, click here: https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/GLBT.

— Andrew Tobias

***


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