"What is Sen. McCain afraid of? Who is he fighting for?" asks Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, slamming the anti-gay Arizona Republican's latest position on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Watch, AFTER THE JUMP ...
A few updates on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and"Don't Ask, Don't
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a conference call with LGBT leaders and
press on Monday and said she has "no intention of losing on either" DADT
or ENDA, reports The Advocate.
On Friday, the Obama Administration transmitted its 2011 Defense
Authorization Act Request. The
transmittal does not include the DADT repeal language." But a repeal vote is likely to be considered next week, the Speaker says, and repeal language could be proposed on the House floor as an
amendment to the DAR.
A vote on ENDA—stalled
since September—could come the
second week of June. "Pelosi also said she thought ENDA would have a much better likelihood of
passing if DADT repeal were successfully ushered through first."
There is also the possibility of an offensive "motion to
recommit" from Republicans—a last ditch procedural move. Rumors for the past two weeks suggest the GOP will propose an ugly procedural move targeting transgenders.
"Some Hill observers think the motion to recommit could go beyond
a simple effort to strip out gender identity protections to being
something more hostile, more depraved in the way it targets certain
segments of the transgender community. At the same time, advocates
decline to guess at the language publicly for fear that it might
actually be adopted by the right and used against them. But there is no
way to know if a motion to recommit will be offered or what the nature
of such a motion would be until the legislation comes to a vote."
In related news: The Washington Post published a curious article last week on ENDA. The piece focused on Republican and Blue Dog opposition to transgender rights. No LGBT activists were quoted but anti-gay North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler ("D") was quoted. WaPo also quoted the far-right wing Traditional Values Coalition, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Michelangelo Signorile is unimpressed: "A cocktail party? No, that's not business—it's schmoozing and sucking up, and it's all about buying off gay leaders by seducing them, very cheaply, so the White House can help get the money coming back in, since the DNC gay fundraiser for next week is collapsing. The response so far has only been about the money and it's not nearly enough.
What we need now is real action. Not these crumbs, whether it be the census inclusion or some benefits for federal employees. We need something big, and until then, the DNC fundraisers should continue to be threatened, and nobody among the gay leadership should be partying with this president."
Jonathan Capehart, the Washington Post editorial writer, who incidentally is a black gay man, criticizes activists and suggests anger and action should be re-diected toward Cappitol Hill: "If gays and lesbians want big victories, such as the repeal of DOMA and the "don't ask don't tell" policy, they should focus their fire where it belongs: on Congress. Each bill will take 218 votes in the House and 60 in the Senate to reach the president's desk, and the votes aren't there yet. Saying no one is going to hand gay men and lesbians their rights, [OPM Director John] Berry told me, 'We have to get out there and fight and get those votes.' "
In a delicious essay that invokes Malcolm X's famous comparison of "house" slaves and "field" slaves, Pam Spaulding slams Capehart: "No one said Congress shouldn't be held accountable. Where does it get its cues from—the White House. Come on, we're not
stupid. It's also confusing as to what Capehart's role is here—is he
speaking as a gay man writing in his capacity as a reporter for the
WaPo? Or speaking as a prominent member
of the LGBT community? The line is very blurry.... At least we're clear and honest about our advocacy and what we are representing."
Author, activist and pastor Rev. Kevin E. Taylor is similarly disgusted at the idea of canapes in the West Wing. Taylor asks: "Will they
be flying in Janet and Beyonce; Liza and Patti Lupone; Lady GaGa and
some other pseudo diva to insure that we are properly distracted?"
· The latest attempt by Sen. Larry Craig toward career rehabilitation: A Minnesota court will hear the senator's request to withdraw the guilty plea made after his arrest in a
men's room sex sting. "The Hennepin County District Court said the hearing would be held on September 26, just
days before the September 30 deadline the Idaho Republican set for
himself to resign if his name is not cleared." The three-term senator maintains he was incompetent to enter the plea signed almost two months after arrest.
· The Advocate talks to Jonathan Capehart about the groundbreaking HRC/Logo Presidential Forum: "It was a great honor to even be asked. They could have gone to any number of out gay journalists to sit on that sofa... How extraordinary to have a possible president of the United States not be afraid to talk about LGBT issues on live TV. Too bad the Republicans didn’t avail themselves of the same opportunity."