In the wake of the 2010 elections, the various gay groups in our nation’s capital, in particular the largest, HRC, can choose to continue as they have and serve as gay versions of the various left-wing advocacy groups or, to shift course and act as non-partisan advocates on behalf of the diverse community of gay and lesbian individuals. Their current strategy made sense in a Washington where Democrats dominated (as does the partisan strategy of their California counterpart, “Equality California”).
And, to be sure, if you believe big-government to be the means to “solve” the problems facing the gay community, it is entirely honorable to set up shop as a left-wing advocacy group. The important thing is to be upfront about it.
That said, it’s hard to see how a man of Joe Solmonese’s political pedigree can have any influence in a Washington where John Boehner is now the most powerful legislator. An ability in the current climate to appeal to Democrats will not help move legislation repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) or recognizing, for the purposes of federal law, same-sex unions.
This is why I’m so gung-ho about GOProud. They are familiar with the arguments we need make in order to influence a more conservative Congress.
All that said, the 2010 elections should be a wake-up call to the gay groups inside the Beltway that their strategic alliance with the Democratic Party has failed. It is hard to tell what the future is. Some Republicans may be willing to move forward on gay issues. Others may find that by avoiding such issues, they can toss a bone to social conservatives.
Whatever the case, gay groups will have to adopt a new strategy or become gay cheerleaders for the Democratic agenda. Steadfast, to be sure, in pursuit of their principles, but ineffective in achieving legislative success.