HRCs’ President Joe Solmonese delivered some news at the HRC Carolinas Gala on Saturday night.
I was there reporting for the Blend as he made these emphatic statements to the members of the LGBT community and allies from North and South Carolina in attendance at the Raleigh Convention Center about what was going to be accomplished this year (quoting from my video below):
1. “We are going to eliminate the tax that you pay on domestic partner benefits. We’re going to get rid of that this year at long last.”
2. “We are going to extend domestic partnerships to federal employees.”
3. “We are going to get people living with HIV/AIDS treatment much earlier if they are on public assistance.”
4. “And finally, finally this year we are going to bring down the discriminatory policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’…once and for all.”
And Solmonese acknowledged that it doing these measures is essential because of the political dynamics of the 2010 elections, something many of us in the netroots sounded the alert on last week — the reason for the blogswarm.
I also get that there is a drumbeat coming from our community to put more pressure on, to make more demands of the President and members of Congress to get it done this year because who knows what’s going to happen at the mid-term elections and frankly they are right and our time is now.
My jaw just about hit the floor. Has hell frozen over? We’re right for once, and not the enemy? I appreciate the break in that ice. It shouldn’t be hard to be on the same page as this closing window of opportunity harms us all.
HRC is best positioned to lead at this crucial time — and mobilize action in the community, on the Hill and make it clear to this President not to delay and deny after the promises have been made.
The list of issues and organizations lined up at the President’s door knocking on it for action is long, and without assertive, concerted action on our community’s part (on all fronts), we’ll be waiting not one year, but who knows how long once the 2012 election cycle gears up. Our issues will shrivel away.
He cited as his reasons for confidence in DADT repeal this year: the President’s statement during the State of the Union address, the testimony of Chair of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen and Sec. Def. Gates, and the support by Colin Powell and Dick Cheney to move on DADT.
I’m not sure the significance of Solmonese’s remarks, given the ups and downs of the political machinations regarding DADT in just a matter of a couple of weeks really hit many in the audience, given those I chatted with at the end of the evening.
* Coverage of the 2010 HRC Carolinas dinner – commentary and PHB video of speeches by Clay Aiken and Meredith Baxter.