Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President
Joe Solmonese suggested Saturday that support for gay rights would
likely soften after the November elections.
Solmonese made his remarks during an
HRC fundraising dinner in Raleigh, North Carolina, the gay and
lesbian rights blog Pam's
House Blend first reported.
Referring to repeal of the military's
“don't ask, don't tell” policy that bans gay troops from serving
openly, Solmonese promised the policy would be repealed this year,
then added: “I also get that there is a drumbeat coming from our
community to put more pressure on, to make more demands of the
president and members of Congress to get it done this year because
who knows what's going to happen at the mid-term elections and
frankly they are right and our time is now.”
The admission from the helm of the
nation's largest gay advocacy group left bloggers who've been
pressuring the group to up the ante stunned.
“My jaw just about hit the floor,”
Pam Spaulding said on her blog.
“It shouldn't be hard to be on the same page, as this closing
window of opportunity harms us all.”
Writing at Gay.Americablog.com,
John Aravosis was far more critical, saying that HRC's effectiveness
will be judged by whether the ban is lifted this year.
“If DADT is not repealed this year,
that will mean that Solmonese either lied, or that HRC is no longer
an effective force in Washington politics,” Aravosis said. “Either
way, Solmonese just gave us all a clear benchmark for judging whether
HRC is worthy of our continued donations.”
“By October, we'll have our answer,”
Aravosis and Spaulding have led in
criticizing the usefulness of gay rights groups and calling out
Democratic lawmakers who stroke the gay community for financial
backing but refuse to put up their political capital for gay rights.
Last month, New Jersey's largest gay
rights group, Garden State Equality, took the criticism to heart,
announcing it would donate to the campaigns of individual pro-gay
rights candidates, and end its support of political parties.
“No political party has a record good
enough on LGBT civil rights that it can rightfully claim to be
entitled to our money on a party-wide basis,” Steven Goldstein,
chair of Garden
State Equality, said in a statement. “No longer will we let
any political party take our money and volunteers with one hand, and
slap us in the face with the other when we seek full equality.”
The move came after New Jersey senators
rejected a gay marriage bill.
At Saturday's We Are All Made Of
Stars fundraiser, Solmonese also said he believes Wisconsin
Representative Tammy Baldwin's bill that extends full benefits to the
spouses of federal gay and lesbian employees would be approved.