First lets rehash the old shit, since I didn't cover it two years ago. The Gay Community should have known better when everything blew up back in October 2007.
Back then Senator Obama invited three notably anti gay personalities to headline His "Embrace The Courage" concert series which visited three cities Charleston, Greenwood, and Columbia, South Carolina, to reach out to the Black Church and Community. Among them are Rev. Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary, and Hezekiah Walker. H. A. Robinson, CEO of the Ntnl. Black Justice Cltn., cited two quotes, one from Rev. McClurkin and one from Mary Mary, in which they declare an all out assault on the GLBT Community, in his response to the situation. During the concert, McClurkin went on a tirade to try to prove that he wasn't a homophobe. Afterward Mr. Obama himself fluffed off concerns expressed by the moderator (video: at the 2:40 mark) during a MySpace/MTV debate saying it was his way of 'confronting homophobia in the Black Church and Community through education'. The ladies of the View even chimed in on the topic.
But it gets better still, the new DNC Chair is apparently worse then Rick Warren.
If asking Rev. Rick Warren, controversial conservative Pastor of Saddleback Church, was not enough of slap in the face towards the GLBT Community, it was announced last week that Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia has been selected by Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. to be the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
As initially reported on by Queers United, and confirmed by reading several reports from 2006, Kaine is both against civil unions and has endorsed an amendment banning same sex marriage and so anti-gay that he gay baited the constituency and the press followed when he ran against the equally homophobic Jerry Kilgore.
Shakesville reporter Mellissa McEwan, has some other interesting clips, again from 2006, in response to Kaine's pick to respond on behalf of the Democrat Party to President Bush's State Of The Union Address to Congress, first from Page One Queer:
"National Democratic leaders today will ask Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) to deliver the party’s response to the president’s State of the Union address, believing that the new governor can best deliver their 2006 message of inclusiveness, American values and high ethical standards. A Democratic House aide called choosing Kaine “a no-brainer,” adding that the new governor also provides a fresh face for a party running on a message of change and reform."Pam's House Blend commentary from then reflects the overall concern of the GLBT Community and our thoughts going forward from this recent turn of events:
.... We are on notice - homos are going to be tossed overboard - again - in search of the elusive win. They haven't figured out that voters need and want to see a party that has values it actually believes in and is willing to defend - and they won't get a dime from me with this bullshit…...The Chicago Tribune reports that Gov. Kaine's role will be part time until 2010 when his term as Governor expires. He will be tasked with preparing for the 2010 Congressional elections as well as working down the 15 million dollar debt from last year's election cycles. Democrats can leave a welcome message to their new leader here.
For gays living under Kaine and his endorsement of a marriage amendment, it's a clear message that your life partner relationship has no legal footing or recognition in the state.....
Yet that's fine and dandy with the Democratic Party establishment, which tacitly endorses Kaine's position with this pick. Defenders will say: "just ignore that and look at 'the whole package' or 'the long view'. " Well, I'm looking at the long view, and so far all I see are states falling, one by one, passing marriage amendments because Dems are silent. I take that as either an endorsement of the bigotry, or complete impotence and incompetence on how to counter the message coming out of the right wing.
That's when you know that civil equality is not a core value in this party.
From a Libertarian perspective I have to ask, "How do we expect our Country to be debt free when our major political parties are carrying multiple million dollar debt loads?" Not forgetting to mention, shame on Gay Democrats for calling it like it is two years ago, and then still blindly supporting the same old system, the same pandering party, and the same old message, when the fact remains it was simply redecorated with a new face and a lot more charisma then all the other candidates combined.
It is like We The People gave up and asked the fox to guard the hen house, only the hen is a rooster in drag. We even put his facial recognition on our underwear. The next thing you know we will have, if it hasn't happened already, people tattooing his image over their bodies.
All torture from pandering Democrats aside, a month after appointing Reverend Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Inaugural Ceremony, the transition team has announced that Most Reverend Gene Robinson, Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire, has been asked to offer prayer three days earlier at the beginning of "inaugural week". ...... Here are some details from Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News & World Report:
The gay-rights movement is expressing elation over President-elect Barack Obama's invitation to gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to give the opening invocation of inauguration week after reacting angrily to Obama's selection of evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation on Inauguration Day.Okay, aside from this decision alienating one group over another yet again, which is a bad thing:
The Robinson invitation shows that "ultimately, Barack Obama is a friend to the LGBT Community," says Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights group. "I believe his administration is going to inspire us and advance our agenda more often than not. At the same time," Solmonese continued, "both the Warren and Robinson decisions give us a clue about what the road ahead is going to be like. This is the beginning of a long journey."
The Human Rights Campaign and other gay-rights groups sent letters to Obama asking him to rescind the invitation to Warren—who disapproves of homosexuality and who opposes certain gay rights, including the right to marry—after his inauguration role was announced last month. "There was a sense of uproar around Rick Warren," says Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "People were confused, fearing that maybe the [president-elect] isn't the individual we thought he was. The Robinson invitation, she said, "is an important step for knowing that this is someone who believes in the inclusivity of all Americans."
A source familiar with inauguration plans said that the Obama team had planned to give Robinson a public role at the inauguration even before the Warren flap, though Robinson's invitation was issued much more recently. "It's inaccurate to suggest that this was a reaction to the Rick Warren complaints or criticism," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
1. Speaking anonymously, so Obama's Transition Team is trying to save face if it doesn't work out; and 2. I'm sorry but there is no way that you can tell anyone with three brain cells between their ears that this was not a strategic plan to shut up the Queer citizens and our allies over the Warren and Kaine fiascoes a week before the Inauguration.Additionally, If John McCain were now the President elect, God/dess forbid me from just thinking about it, and picked John Hagee instead of Rick Warren, or even Jeremiah Wright instead of Gene Robinson, 'as a sign of healing and inclusiveness', to lead the invocation at his Inaugural, the gays, blacks, liberals and conservatives, and even the military, as one voice would all be up in arms over such a decision too.
Mr. President elect, the issue isn't who they are individually; however it is the fact that they all possess a controversial public persona, that is under severe scrutiny (legal sense) for their spoken words and communicated thoughts across the "marketplace of ideas", by logically thinking people. It is the questionable rhetoric and antagonism that these controversial public persons represent that DO NOT belong at We The People's ceremony. It would be like listening to Ann Coulter from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church, no question, it is just wrong.
The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, Robinson's 2003 election caused a rift in the church, provoking several dioceses and dozens of parishes to secede in protest. Though he'd been an early public supporter of Obama, Robinson called the inaugural invitation to Warren "a slap in the face."Part of the problem is that the Main Stream Media and National Press relies to much on the Human Rights Campaign to achieve a pulse on the Gay Community. They HRC is the most wishy-washy group that specifically, consistently, panders to the Democratic Party's whims and whistle calls. This is even further evidenced by this follow up post also by Dan Gilgoff to his original post regarding the initial flap over Warrens invitation.
"I'm all for Rick Warren being at the table," Robinson told the New York Times. "But we're not talking about a discussion; we're talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he's praying to is not the God that I know."
Robinson will give the invocation at this Sunday's official opening to the inaugural week activities, at Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial, while Warren will give the invocation at Obama's swearing-in on Tuesday. "It will be an enormous honor to offer prayers for the country and the new president, standing on the holy ground where the 'I have a dream speech' was delivered by Dr. King," Robinson wrote in an E-mail this morning to Episcopal Café, an Episcopal website. "It is also an indication of the new president's commitment to being the President of ALL the people. I am humbled and overjoyed at this invitation...."
Despite the fallout the Warren invitation engendered in the gay community, the Human Rights Campaign's Solmonese says the Obama transition team has been "very enthusiastic to the list of agenda items for the LGBT community."
That wish list includes executive orders for instituting nondiscrimination policies for federal employees on sexual orientation or gender identity grounds, for interpreting the Family and Medical Leave Act to include same-sex partners, and to enact a Congressional approved end to a ban on HIV-positive travelers from entering the U.S.
"Four years from now, will we believe that we have made more progress for advancing gay equality than at any other time in our history and than under any other president?" says Solmonese. "I think the answer is yes. That is what's paramount.".
In my earlier post about Rick Warren at the inauguration and whether Barack Obama could simultaneously reach out to the gay rights and evangelical movements, I may have overstated the warm reviews from the gay activist community for the performance of the Obama campaign and transition team.F6 COMMENTARY POST FORWARD
For a story on usnews.com today, I spoke with David Smith, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, who said Obama's gay outreach to date has been a "mixed bag." He said HRC had been disappointed in how few openly gay appointments Obama had made so far. The only such appointment to a prominent White House post so far, according to Smith, is Nancy Sutley as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Here's what Smith told me:"The Obama team has sent a very uplifting message that positive change is coming for LGBT Americans, but we haven't seen it yet. There has been no concrete evidence of inclusion. That's the environment in which this Warren announcement happened—it exacerbates the level of disappointment that exists."He also stressed that symbolism—not just policy—matters to the gay rights community:"The inauguration represents the dawn of his presidency, so the symbolism is unmistakable. To have a man who so vociferously opposes LGBT equality . . . it almost gives license that the Reverend's views are somehow tolerable or acceptable. You can think of a whole host of people who the president wouldn't have selected for the inauguration because of their viewpoints on race or because of their religious bigotry. By having this man [Rick Warren] speak at the dawn of the presidency, it's like saying his views are not unacceptable. Even though he says he disagreed with [Warren], it's like having an anti-Semite open the program."Wow. That's pretty strong language. But it's a reminder that many of the groups that embraced Obama on the campaign trail won't necessarily fall in line with him now....
(This is an attempt to complete our reporting and balance my commentary with other opinions
and facts whether contrary, supporting, or political spin so you receive the whole picture.)
MREV. GENE ROBINSON, NEW HAMPSHIRE BISHOP, WITH RACHEL MADDOW, 14 JAN 09
(Courtesy of MSNBC; Recorded by GLAAD) (Link: Windy City Times Article)
RED STATE UPDATE with Travis and Jonathan:
31 OCT 07 Obama vs Donnie McClurkin controversy
(with redneck gogo bois in undies and leather!)
21 DEC 08 Gays Still Hate Obama; Rick Warren
14 JAN 09 Gay Bishop @ Obama's Innaguration
UPDATE 20 January 09: Yet even more Gays and Lesbians are starting to ask if we got bitch slapped by the olive branch or if it was just a minor oversight. To correct (the supposed oversight) the Inauguration Committee is going to rebroadcast the pre inaugural week prayer invocation and concert series during the ramp up to the inaugural to entertain the masses on the National Lawn.
... Here is more from Queers United: Did Obama Team Play Us Over Bishop Robinson?
During the inauguration kick off party at the Lincoln Memorial, openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of the Diocese of NH gave the opening prayer. This was seen by many as an olive branch given to the gay community in light of the anti-gay preacher Rick Warren invitation.Well at least an attempt at reconciliation.... Bishop Robinson's Prayer Will Be Re-Broadcast on Mall
While, the appearance of Bishop Robinson is historic in nature, it was not carried by HBO or NPR the only two companies with filming rights. After receiving hundreds of comaplints, they then promised to carry it on the later broadcast, yet it was not seen on the 7pm transmission.
...In further reporting we finally get some answers, maybe....
After Elton has contacted HBO to find out why the Bishop was not televised. "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show." There are also reports from people who were there live that there were 'sound difficulties' and most people in the crowd of 500,000 did not even hear Bishop Gene Robinson speak.
Is the Obama team trying to play it both ways? Trying to shut us up, over the Rick Warren fiasco, while also silencing the voices of the LGBT community? We are not pointing fingers, or accusing anyone of any wrongdoing, but we have a right to know why the well planned event did not go according to plan, or did it?
Contact the Presidential Inauguration Committee at 202-651-2009.
Citizens turned out on the Mall to watch the event on giant screens tomorrow will have a second chance to see the invocation by Gene Robinson, the gay Episcopal bishop, a source at the Presidential Inauguration Committee said. "Yesterday's program will be shown on the jumbo screens on the Mall to entertain the assembled crowd. Tomorrow's version will include Robinson's prayer," the source said.On Monday, the syndicated National Public Radio Show Talk of the Nation covered this issue also asking, "What Happened With Gay Bishop's Invocation?". You can listen to their report and 30 minute conversation with MRev. Gene Robinson here, please open in a new window. JOE MY GOD has a slightly different story to tell and documents fairly well 'the he said she said' between HBO producers and the Obama camp, as they trade blame back and forth for the oversight and controversy. Joe also found that someone in front had managed to record the Invocation by Bishop Robinson, and it seems like the sound system worked quite well.
A spokesman for the Inaugural Committee, Josh Earnest, also said that HBO's rights to yesterday's event are limited: the committee owns the copyright to the event, but HBO has a license to broadcast it for six months. That makes it less likely that the concert will be kept out of the historical record of, for instance, documentaries of the event.
After days of controversy and outrage from the religious right, openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson opened Barack Obama's inauguration concert on the National Mall today with a request that the nation pray for "understanding that our president is a human being and not a messiah." But only the people AT the concert heard that, because HBO did not televise Robinson's message. Who engineered this blackout of Robinson? I suspect we'll hear lots about this in days to come.
UPDATE: It turns out that a lot the people at the concert did NOT hear Robinson either. There were sound "difficulties" and most of the estimated 500,000 in the audience could not hear his invocation. Only those very close to the stage could hear.And finally to close out this post hopefully, we have been given one more sign that proves the Democratic Party is actively pandering to the Queer Community. Howard Dean, the former Governor of Vermont and 2004 Presidential candidate, while preparing to leave his term as Chairman of the Democratic National Party, also tried to clean up one of his biggest human resources disasters. First by acting as the Chair, Dean tried to excuse the termination by the National Committee of Hitchcock, as issues of "poor performance" and his "lack of clout in the press" to stop the onslaught of bad publicity across the GLBT and Main Stream Media spectrums. The retaliatory action against a well known GLBT Advocate and former Democratic Party Outreach and Fundraiser Officials, by originally vilifying him, then they tried to sweep it under the shag carpet, and intimidate the GLBT Press by Party Lawyers, and finally after all that, 2 1/2 years later, they try to settle the lawsuit and act like nothing ever happened. Democrats can do no wrong? Of course the details are sealed under court order and there is probably no admission of guilt. Nick Cargo @ Page One Queer picks up on the final story below:
UPDATE II: The 7PM rebroadcast of the show was identical, no Gene Robinson.
UPDATE III: The full text of Robinson's prayer is here. If you'd like to express your unhappiness to HBO, you can do that here. My gut tells me the call was made elsewhere.
UPDATE IV: AfterElton.com has spoken to HBO, who says the decision to cut Robinson was made by the Obama transition team.
UPDATE V: Somebody seated near the stage recorded Robinson's invocation.
(see video directly above)
Former gay outreach director, DNC settle discrimination suit
Donald Hitchcock and his former employer, the Democratic National Committee, have announced a settlement of Hitchock's discrimination lawsuit against the Party. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
"We appreciate Mr. Hitchcock's intense advocacy of LGBT equality and have never doubted his strong commitment to Democratic principles or the goals of the Democratic Party," DNC Chairman Howard Dean and Chief of Staff Leah Daughtry said in a statement Thursday evening. "Mr. Hitchcock is and has always been a valued member of the DNC community, including during his employment with the DNC."
Hitchcock, former director of the Committee's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, filed suit on April 17, 2007 in Washington DC Superior Court after his termination, which he charged was in retaliation for criticism of the party by his partner, party activist Paul Yandura (to the right in photo below), in April 2006. Yandura's open letter criticized the matter in which donations from gay Democrats were being used, particularly how he felt that the party's interest in the LGBT community was limited to their financial contributions. The letter also suggested that gays should temporarily stop making donations.
Hitchcock was hired by the DNC in June 2005 and fired May 2, 2006, days after Yandura's open letter was made public.
"I appreciate all the things the DNC, Governor Dean, Rev. Daughtry, Andy Tobias, Julie Tagen--and the Democratic Party generally--have done to advance equality, I had hoped for even more," Hitchcock said, "but the dialogue is not over yet. I look forward to working with them all for continued progress."
In his suit Hitchcock said he was paid less than people doing comparable fundraising and outreach work, and was subject to threats, harassment and other retaliatory tactics by Dean, Daughtry, Deputy Finance Director Julie Tagen, and openly gay Treasurer Andy Tobias.
The Washington Blade, in addition, charged in March 2008 that two lawyers for Rev. Daughtry showed up at the Blade offices and attempted to intimidate editor Kevin Naff and publisher Lynne Brown over their reporting of the ongoing proceedings.
One of the attorneys, Charlie Kimmett, denied that the meeting was "contentious," and also Naff's charge of "red-faced cursing and threatening of lawsuits." Naff further said that while the attorneys were representing Daughtry and not the DNC, party officials nonetheless "gloated behind the scenes" that they had succeeded in stopping the Blade from further reporting.
"Of course, to suggest that the Blade would abandon a story because a couple of angry lawyers made a scene in the lobby constitutes wishful thinking," Naff wrote of the incident. "One thing every journalist learns early on is that when people start yelling and making threats, that means you're onto something."
TWO ABOVE PICTURES WERE TAKEN FROM THE WASHINGTON BLADE WITH THANKS