As the Senate debate on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) looms, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) seems more interested in attacking Republicans than in promoting a conversation likely to increase public awareness (and understanding) of gay and lesbian relationships. As I write this, its website features an unflattering picture of the president next to the words, “VOTE NO!” It seems that HRC is trying to relive its failed 2004 campaign slogan, “George W. Bush, You’re Fired.”
Despite the changeover in leadership since then, HRC’s new leaders also seem to be afflicted with a serious case of B.D.S. (Bush Derangement Syndrome). They’d rather attack the president than debate an issue of concern to our community. If they’re to do more for gay and lesbian Americans than take our money and pass out blue and yellow decals for our cars, they need to focus less on attacking the president personally and more on taking issue (as I have done) with the constitutional amendment he supports.
In a release earlier this week filled with angry slogans and tired rhetoric, HRC President Joe Solmonese called it a “disgrace” for the President to publicly make his case expressing his support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Solmonese accuses the presiding of “further divid[ing] this country and put[ting] the far-right extremists’ interests ahead of the American people’s well-being,” If he really wants the president to move on to other issues, Solmonese would instead have issued a more diplomatic release, making a solid case against this amendment.
The president seems to be reiterating the case he made for the amendment just over two years ago. We know where the president stands, but all we know is that Joe Solmonese opposes the president. Seems he too wants to avoid divisive issues. I wonder how Joe would feel if a Democratic president used a Rose Garden address to oppose pro-life proposals. Would he fault him for dividing the country by putting the interests of the abortion lobby ahead of at the American people’s well-being?
He might better be able to argue his case for “abortion rights” than he could make one against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For while Solmonese acknowledges “Mary Cheney’s comments against using the Federal Marriage Amendment’s push for political purposes,” he gives no indication of having read that good woman’s book. Had he read that most excellent memoir, he would be able to quote (or summarize) her conservative case against the amendment and use that sensible argument as a means to persuade the president to change his mind.
But, HRC seems more interested in pleasing its Bush-hating base than in engaging opponents of gay marriage in a debate on this important issue. I’m not the only one to wonder at their eagerness to dodge this discussion. Andrew Sullivan, a man with whom I’m frequently at odds, calls the group worthless since it has “barely been detectable in the battle” for gay marriage (via The Malcontent’s Robbie). The Washington Blade‘s Chris Crain writes:
Rather than actually defend gay families and make the case for gay marriage, HRC continues to argue that the American people don’t — and shouldn’t! — care about marriage equality for gay couples.
As the Senate prepares to debate a topic which should be of concern to gay Americans, all HRC can do is repeat standard left-wing mantras. It seems that, just like his predecessor, Joe Solmonese is more interested in using HRC as a vehicle to attack the Bush Administration than as an organization to improve the condition of gay Americans in civil society.
If HRC really wanted to get some benefit for our community out of the latest debate, instead of attacking the president and his social conservative allies, its leaders would do, as Log Cabin has done, and remind people that this is the one issue where, “since being sworn in,” the Vice President has “publicly expressed disagreement with the President.” As I’ve said before, that’s a pretty strong argument against this amendment.
To make it, it would mean showing this leading conservative in a positive light. I guess then it’s more important to HRC not to show what a good man Dick Cheney is than to use his words to make the case against an amendment they (like him) oppose. Just another sign that HRC prefers to the Democrats’ “lapdogs” than advocates for our community. Gotta have those priorities straight.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com