Richard Socarides Hub

Zach Wahls Speaks Out on Boy Scouts' Announcement Affirming its Anti-Gay Policy: VIDEO


Zach Wahls speaks to Soledad O'Brien and Richard Socarides on CNN about the Boy Scouts' announcement that it would reaffirm its policy banning gays.

Wahls says that the announcement the BSA put out has "all kinds of weird inconsistencies" and until there's a "meaningful level of transparency and accountability" he's highly skeptical about the fact that this is a final decision.

"We think this is the Boy Scouts of America recycling old news...We think this is the BSA trying to run some interference" on the recent remarks by board member and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson saying he opposed the policy, says Wahls.


Continue reading "Zach Wahls Speaks Out on Boy Scouts' Announcement Affirming its Anti-Gay Policy: VIDEO" »

Richard Socarides And Marsha Blackburn Face Off Over GOP's Health Care Repeal Effort: VIDEO


If you thought the Supreme Court decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate was the end of that political story, think again.

While House Republicans say they'll hold a symbolic vote to repeal the President's signature legislation this week, GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn suggested this morning on CNN that they hold a vote every day until the law is taken off the records.

Gay Democratic strategist and writer Richard Socarides pointed out, however, that there's no way the Senate, controlled by President Obama's party, would let that vote go through and that Republican efforts amount to little more than "political theater in an election year" that simply wastes the legislature's time.

Blackburn, of course, disagrees.

Watch the heated exchange AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Richard Socarides And Marsha Blackburn Face Off Over GOP's Health Care Repeal Effort: VIDEO" »

Eliot Spitzer, Richard Socarides And Wayne Besen Discuss Potential SCOTUS Marriage Case: VIDEO


Former Bill Clinton advisor Richard Socarides and journo-activist Wayne Besen appeared on Eliot Spizter's Current show last night to discuss the progress marriage equality has made in various courts across the country.

Watch their conversation about the judicial changes and a potential for a Supreme Court decision, including how Chief Justice Roberts will rule, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Eliot Spitzer, Richard Socarides And Wayne Besen Discuss Potential SCOTUS Marriage Case: VIDEO" »

Socarides, Mixner and Newsom All Celebrate Obama's Gay Marriage Support


It is pretty safe to say that almost all Americans have by now heard about -- and discussed -- President Obama's support for gay marriage. And you can be sure that longtime allies have something to say about the news.

Richard Socarides, a former aid to President Clinton and currently one of the most outspoken proponents of equality, took to the New Yorker to offer his thoughts, writing that Obama has adjusted himself to a new American reality.

While [Obama's decision] was a useful electoral strategy, changes in public opinion and in the culture have created a new reality. Obama’s political advisers badly underestimated the extent to which the marriage issue would remain at the forefront of the national discussion—and the determination of those of us who work to keep it there.

So while this is an important moment in civil-rights history, it is also an important moment in political history—in which the lesson, for the gay community and, perhaps, for anyone advocating for change, is that words are important, but we have to insist on action from our friends.

Meanwhile, legendary activist David Mixner told BuzzFeed that Mr. Obama's support will have "enormous impact" on state-based marriage decisions. "His words and his actions will have enormous impact across the nation in many states," he said. "It could influence referendums in Washington, Maryland, and Maine."

Mixner also said he's surprised by Obama's decision to announce before the election, but that timing is not the most important element here. "The whole purpose of working all these years to reach this moment for me is to change minds, not to punish people on their timing, but to celebrate when you reach a mutual point of enlightenment."

Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor who is now California's Lieutenant Governor and also a long-time equality advocate, said that Obama's announcement proves the president's salt.

"He’s become, once again, the president we elected," Newsom said on Current's The Young Turks. Do you agree?

Socarides: Obama's Gay Marriage Views Will Evolve Before 2012 Election

In the New Yorker, former Clinton aide Richard Socarides writes on marriage equality and Obama's new political reality:

SocaridesDuring the Clinton years, gay marriage was a relatively new issue and most Americans did not yet understand it. No one could be “gay-married” anywhere. When the Republican-led Congress presented Clinton with the Defense of Marriage Act a few short months before the 1996 election, I and members of the White House staff struggled in vain to come up with ways the President could veto it and stay consistent with what was then his stated opposition to the granting of marriage rights. (Clinton has since changed his mind.)

But now, the remarkable new reality for Obama in this election is that supporting marriage equality is smart politics.

Predicting this new reality along with DOMA will force Obama's hand before the election:

Many of the lawyers who follow these cases closely—and as one who served as an adviser to President Clinton on gay rights, I include myself in that category—believe that the odds favor marriage advocates. If so, these twin rulings from influential courts will have a substantial impact. The Supreme Court would likely hear final appeals by 2013.

The potential for those decisions, together with a rapid change in public opinion in favor of marriage equality, have clearly become factors in President Obama’s thinking. As a result, I believe that he will announce his support for same-sex marriage before the 2012 election.

Richard Socarides, Kerry Eleveld Depart 'Equality Matters'

Richard Socarides, President of Equality Matters, the LGBT division of media watchdog Media Matters, and lead staffer Kerry Eleveld, who left a position at The Advocate several months ago to join the organization, both announced their departure this morning.

SocaridesSaid Socarides, in a statement:

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to lead Equality Matters during its first year. I’ve decided to return full time to New York and my law practice and activism there, at the end of the year, This has been an amazing year for our communities and LGBT rights. We have accomplished a lot this year, but have so much more to do. I look forward to being a part of it.”

EleveldSaid Eleveld:

“I’m particularly proud of the work I’ve done during my fellowship at Equality Matters. I am grateful that I was given the chance to focus on in-depth reporting about serious issues affecting the LGBT community -- and also to publish in places like The Washington Post, The Atlantic and The Daily Beast. In the New Year, I look forward to working full time on a book about the past several years in LGBT history.”

Media Matters founder David Brock said he was proud of what the organization had accomplished in its first year:

“When we launched our Equality Matters initiative at the end of 2010, we were convinced that additional and focused resources in our core expertise areas -- correcting conservative misinformation plus training and communications -- could be put to use to help take advantage of a potentially historic and transformative moment in gay rights. One year later, we know we were right...I am very grateful to have Richard Socarides lead this initiative in its first year. Having someone of his intellect, stature, and experience was a significant factor in our first year success. He will continue, I am sure, to have major impact in our fight for a progressive country and I will continue to rely on his advice and counsel.”

The Washington Blade has a bit more on the story, saying the organization "appears defunct".

Socarides described the structure of Equality Matters today as an entity without its own core staff, whose resources come from the larger Media Matters organization. “The entire way that the organization functions, intentionally, is to be able to call on” the rest of the Media Matters organization and staff as needed, according to Socarides. “It’s an organization that is fully integrated and embedded into Media Matters.”


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