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HRC Responds to Boycott of DNC By Gay Rights Leaders

Today, Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis, the founders of AmericaBlog, initiated a boycott of the DNC for their failure to live up to promises on gay rights.

Joe and I are launching today a donor boycott of the DNC. The boycott is cosponsored by Daily Kos, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, David Mixner, Paul Sousa (Founder of Equal Rep in Boston), Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler (ED of the Equality Campaign, Inc.), Bil Browning for the Bilerico Project, Andy Towle and Michael Goff of Towle Road, and soon others.

It’s really more of a “pause,” than a boycott. Boycotts sounds so final, and angry. Whereas this campaign is temporary, and is only meant to help some friends – President Obama and the Democratic party – who have lost their way. We are hopeful that via this campaign, our friends will keep their promises.

So please sign the Petition and take a Pledge to no longer donate to the DNC, Organizing for America, or the Obama campaign until the President and the Democratic party keep their promises to the gay community, our families, and our friends.

The petition cites three conditions for signatories to return to donating to the DNC, OFA or the Obama campaign: passage of ENDA (the Employee Non-Discrimination Act) and the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). They cite numerous instances of the Obama Administration or the DNC slighting gay rights advocates and failing to keep their promise to be fierce advocates for the LGBT community. They urge the Party to live up to their promises or risk losses in future elections.

It never hurts Democrats to keep their promises to the voters. The American people respect strong leaders who have the courage to stick to their beliefs. And it will only help Democrats in the next election to stand by their commitments to a core constituency. If Democratic voters aren’t motivated, they won’t vote. We are concerned that the President’s failure to fulfill his promises may suppress voter participation not only from gay Democrats, but from our families, friends and allies. In a very real way, this is an effort to ensure that we get-out-the-vote in 2010, 2012 and beyond.

Ben Smith has more.

I asked the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay-rights organization in America, to respond to this boycott of the DNC and the Obama campaign. Here is what they offered as an official response.

“Individual donors should always make their own careful assessments of how to spend limited political contributions. We all need to focus on the legislative priorities identified by AmericaBlog and with whatever tactic individuals decide to employ, the ultimate objective needs to be securing the votes we need to move our legislative agenda forward.”

That is a tacit endorsement, or at least not a public disavowal, of the strategy. The HRC hasn’t given to the DNC this year, as per the policy put in by Obama after his election that the Party cannot accept contributions from organizations structured as a C(4).

This may be the first of several donor boycotts on various issues. The blog Open Left this weekend discussed an end to donations to organizations like the DCCC and the DSCC if they continue to use that money to fund candidates who then vote against progressive priorities when elected. Anti-health care, anti-choice Democrats like Bobby Bright, Parker Griffith, Travis Childers and Harry Teague cost the DCCC over $10 million dollars to elect.

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David Dayen

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