Just a quick note from Vienna. The city is absolutely amazing but the time change has been hella difficult (=no sleep) and I'm trying to meet several deadlines. No posts today and hopefully I'll be recharged overnight. Thanks for understanding.
The Democratic National Committee's LGBT Leadership Gala promises to be not-so-gala and a lonely affair. The number of prominent gays on the guest list continues to shrink in response to the Justice Department's incendiary motion to dismiss a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. The National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's only advocacy organization for black LGBTs, will not attend, Deputy Director Jason Bartlett tells On Top Magazine.
"A leaked email of GLBT dignitaries
confirmed for the DNC event includes the name of Alexander Robinson,
the NBJC's former executive director who stepped down on June 1. Barlett, who is also a Connecticut state representative, confirmed no
NBJC board member would attend the controversial event, but added
that was not a formal endorsement of a DNC boycott. 'I don't know of any board members
that are intending on going,' Barlett said."
As the Democratic presidential candidates place their bets on the Las Vegas debate tonight, front runner Hillary Clinton continues to rack up some impressive chips in the way of polling numbers and support— including heavy-hitters in gay politics. Team Hillary announces veteran Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the powerful chairman House Financial Services Committee, signs on as economic adviser. This will be key going forward as Frank has outlined strong positions on mortgages, credit cards and finance, which the Clinton campaign can easily promote as its platform. Frank says it all comes down to electability.
"I have from the beginning of this campaign believed that Hillary Clinton was the candidate best qualified to serve as President. I am convinced that once elected, the qualities she will bring to the job—commitment, intellect, and political skills—will make her an extremely effective leader in our effort to reverse the badly flawed course on which George Bush and past Republican Congresses have set this country."
The Barney Frank endorsement was to be expected. Frank is a longtime confidante of Bill and Hillary Clinton and his sister, Ann Lewis, is one of the top strategists and visible faces in the Clinton campaign and formerly served as White House Communications director. On a related note, Hillary Clinton has also been endorsed by Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, which means the New York senator's presidential bid is supported by both of the Congress' two openly gay members.
The three leading Democratic candidates each have notable black gay supporters. Besides Robinson and Fowlkes at Team Hillary, Stampp Corbin, the former Human Rights Campaign exec, is one of Barack Obama's lead gay advisors, and, Ramon Gardenhire, the political consultant and former deputy director of LGBT outreach at the Democratic National Committee, is a staffer on the John Edwards campaign. Ramon spoke with me at length for The Advocate piece (PDF) on the LGBT vote in 2008.
Starting Monday, Essence.com, AsianAvenue.com and other sites began featuring advertising for a new multicultural campaign to promote same-sex marriage awareness. Marriage Equality Matters was created by Lamda Legal, the National Black Justice Coalition, Asian Equality, the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice and Freedom to Marry. It's a direct response to right-wing attempts to co-opt pastors, churches and communities of color against gay marriage. H. Alexander Robinson, CEO of the the NBJC, says black couples have more to lose if denied the protections of marriage. "On average, black same-gender-loving women are more likely to be raising children, black gay families earn less and are more likely to have public sector jobs than our white peers."