CommunityPam's House Blend

Fallout from leaked Empire State Pride Agenda memo

There’s lotsa buzzing going on about last week’s memo from Empire State Pride Agenda’s Exec Director Alan Van Capelle, which took a swat at the kneecaps of sHillary for her stand on same-sex marriage (NY gay rights group blasts sHillary). Among other things, Van Capelle said: “Supporting an LGBT fundraiser for Hillary Clinton will actually hurt our community,” and that he would refuse to lend his name or sell tickets to any fund-raiser for sHillary’s re-election campaign.

It did indeed set off some bombs in the establishment, and there’s a great recap of all the fallout in an article at GayCityNews by Paul Schindler. Some snippets:

The Van Capelle memo electrified gay political circles and so befuddled The New York Times that its story Wednesday confused the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Bill Clinton and still supported by the senator, with efforts by the current president to pass a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage nationwide. The Times erroneously reported that Clinton supports George W. Bush’s drive for an amendment, when in fact she has repeatedly denounced it.

The Clinton camp immediately pressed for and won a correction on the Times Web site as well as one planned for Thursday’s print edition, but the senator and her staff were caught off guard and angered by the rebuke from the Pride Agenda, according to sources close to the New York Democrat who insisted on anonymity.

Her office went on to “clarify” matters by saying the New York Senator supports civil unions and domestic partnerships, and the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, designed to give partners of federal employees the equivalent benefits of spouses. What about the rest of us twisting in the wind?

The article also covers the anger in the gay political establishment (or as ‘Bean calls them, “Liberal Failure Support Organizations (LFSOs)”), folks who are pissed at Van Cappelle speaking out. No surprise there.

“I think it was disrespectful [of ESPA] not to talk to the gay elected officials, advising them that they were going to do this,” said Emily Giske, a lesbian who is one of the state Democratic Party’s vice chairs. “They rarely consult the gay and lesbian Democratic electeds.”

…An ESPA board member, who received the February 10 memo, also criticized the group, while insisting on anonymity. “This was done in a vacuum,” that board member said. “I’m all in favor of putting elected officials’ feet to the fire, but this is a rag-tag way of doing business.”

…Even the Log Cabin Republicans’ New York City chapter, faced with the opportunity to tweak the Democratic Party for its failure to deliver fully for a community that offers it overwhelming support, took a pass, instead calling for ongoing discussions to move the marriage issue forward.

“Drawing a line in the sand and creating a marriage litmus test for our elected officials gives us great pause,” Christopher Taylor, the chapter president, said in an e-mail message, in which he endorsed sentiments voiced by Democratic Senator Tom Duane quoted in Wednesday’s Times. “We believe it is better to maintain a dialogue with elected officials who are open-minded but may not yet agree with us on marriage equality.”

You know these are LFSOs when they agree with the LCRs. And folks, here’s another example of what’s wrong with this picture — Hillary supports full equality — but it’s behind the scenes, in private conversations. Yes, this is the problem.

Ethan Geto, a longtime activist who ran Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign in New York, said that in personal conversations he has had with Clinton, she has been emphatic about her view that committed gay and lesbian couples should have “full equality of economic benefits” with married heterosexuals at the city, state, and federal levels.

…”She takes the most progressive position among Democrats on the national stage,” he said. “Would I like her to say she supports gay marriage? Yes. But are we back to the perfect being the enemy of the good? Is she one of our champions? Is she one of the very small number of people we would like to see as a presidential candidate? I say yes.”

W-E-A-K. And so here we are again, tucked away in a dark room, getting “reassurance” and “promises” on the down low. The good news, is, however, that Empire State Pride has received nothing but good feedback from the real folks out there — the LGBT citizens outraged by the cojones-free Dems (like ‘Bean) — on the content of the memo.

The Pride Agenda’s spokesman, Joe Tarver, declined to respond to any of this criticism, except to note, “We’ve had an overwhelming number of responses…” and it’s all positive, not one negative response.”

Jeff Soref, a former ESPA board chairman and former member of the Democratic National Committee, said he has lent his name to the Clinton fundraiser, but voiced agreement that the Democrats need to be pushed on the marriage issue. He noted the growing perception that “Democrats seem to be running away from the gay community or trying to change the relationship with the gay community,” and reiterated criticism he voiced weeks ago of Party Chairman Howard Dean, whom he faults for a reorganization of the DNC that he says diminishes the influence of the LGBT community.

Also:
* What is wrong with Americans?
* The sHillary backlash continues

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding