DC Agenda sent a list of questions regarding the recent Dan Choi DADT protest and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
"Any healthy and diverse social movement will have a diversity of voices and opinions. Individuals and groups will take different approaches based on their ideology, life experience and other sincerely and deeply held beliefs about the political process. This is not indicative of a schism, but rather a sign of vibrant engagement…The beauty of our movement is that we have a dedicated community that is constantly searching for new and innovative ways to effect change in Washington and at home….Activism by Dan Choi and others has one common intent in mind that we also share: to advance equality in the fastest way possible. As we said last week, this is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play."
DC Agenda also asks, "What is HRC’s current count of U.S. senators on an up or down vote on ENDA right now? Can you release a list of which of the 17 Democratic senators who are not ENDA co-sponsors will vote for or against ENDA?"
Solmonese won't say exactly, adding: "Members’ positions on ENDA are determined by their co-sponsorship of the legislation, a clear public statement or their vote. Ensuring we will win that vote and protect the bill from harmful amendments is a critical factor for determining floor action and timing. There are 15 Democratic senators and 39 Republican senators who are not cosponsors of ENDA. We must win 14 of these votes to get to 60 votes to overcome a potential filibuster. Unless a member of Congress makes a clear public statement, we do not assume we have their vote."
Read the full interview here.
In related news, HRC sent out a fundraising request this week, asking for more money so they can fight "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
The headline on the email was "We can't just fight — we need to win". Americablog wonders if it was a jab at Dan Choi?
David Mixner thinks focus needs to revert to the issues at hand:
"My feeling has always been if you don't like an organization then don't support it. If you can't find an organization you like or one that meets your needs then form another one. If you think you can do a better job then just do it.
However, the actions last week were about ENDA and DADT and that is where we should focus. Less than a week out of the brave actions of those who got arrested, we are spending more time talking about the Human Rights Campaign than we are about DADT and ENDA. We are stepping on our own story and it isn't pretty. While we have their attention because of the arrests, lets continue to focus on Congress and the president. The protesters delivered an important message last week so please let's not squander it by mixing issues."