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Guest post by Ron Hill: Will Joe Solmonese’s Replacement at Human Rights Campaign Reach Out to Conservatives?

We welcome Ron Hill back to the Blend, now at its new digs. His site Republicans 4 Freedom is billed as “Advocates For The Rational Wing of the Republican Party.” And that he is. Hill wrote for conservative CNN commentator David Frum’s web site, and has advocated for repeal of “DADT” and for marijuana legalization. With the news broken by the Blend about HRC President Joe Solmonese’s resignation, we plan to do a series of articles about the organization and the opportunities that lie ahead. This first piece focuses on the tight relationship HRC has with the Democratic Party.

Will Joe Solmonese’s Replacement at Human Rights Campaign Reach Out to Conservatives?

Leading GLBT blogger Pam Spaulding broke the news a few days ago that Joe Solmonese, the current leader of the Human Rights Campaign, will not renew his contract in March 2012.

This is good news. Mr. Solmonese had an extremely cozy relationship with the Obama White House, often being criticized as too reluctant to “make waves” with the administration and often seen as giving Obama a free pass on GLBT issues. DADT repeal is an example of this. The truth is that HRC and the Obama White House was fully prepared to let DADT repeal go down in flames – it was only the hard work of grassroots equality activist and a handful of committed Senators and Congressmen that got repeal passed. Obama did not press for DADT repeal until the last-minute when it became obvious that his GLBT base would never forgive him – and was raising a ruckus.

If advocates for equality had depended on the HRC to get the repeal passed the law would never had made it last December.

One must wonder, will the new HRC leader be more vocal when democrats fail to actively work for equality? Too often democrats ask for money and votes from the gay community while making great promises to support our equality – only to fail to work for equality once elected. What good is nice words when they are followed with no action? What good is a GLBT organization that refuses to press our political leadership on our behalf  because it doesn’t want to make waves?

Will the new HRC leader make a concerted effort to support republicans who are pro-gay equality? Will the HRC now help the GOP Senators in New York who supported marriage equality? The GOP Senators who supported DADT repeal? Will HRC make an effort to work with those of us who are conservative to expand support for equality within the GOP?

Or will the new HRC leader buddy up to the democratic party and develop a too-cozy relationship again? It’s not helpful to the HRC or to the cause of equality for the HRC to be perceived as a partisan organization. Will the new HRC leader make an effort to be seen as non-partisan? Will the new HRC leader appoint ANY conservatives in leadership positions? Diversity is not just good for the country, diversity is also good for the HRC and the cause of equality. We cannot win equality by depending on the votes of one party alone.

It doesn’t help the image of the HRC when they’ve already endorsed Obama for re-election – a year from now and prior to even knowing who the GOP nominee will be.  Why should Obama move forward on fighting for us when the largest GLBT organization in the country has already endorsed him? Why should GOP moderates listen to the HRC when they’ve already endorsed the democratic nominee for President and appear to be owned lock, stock and barrel by the Democratic National Committee?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding