Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekend of GLBT activism in D.C.

Gay activists of all varieties have camped themselves in Washington, D.C. this weekend.  For sure, some will attend both the  National March for Equality and the HRC Annual National Dinner, but for many this is a divided camp with a common purpose - advancement of GLBT issues and rights.  And tensions between these two camps - the first predominantly local and grass roots organizations which run the gamut from the radical Left to Log Cabin Republicans; the second mostly wealthy gay and lesbian supporters of the Democratic National Party - is getting more rancorous.

A direct result of this increasing friction can be seen on the web as this debate within the GLBT community spills over into mainstream (albeit liberal) media. Just this week (to name a few) there is the featured article in The Daily Beast, "Can Obama Make Peace with Gays"; the lead story on The Huffington Post, "Gay Rights Speech: What Should Obama Say Tonight"; and Andrew Sullivan's scathing review in The Atlantic, "The Battered Wife Syndrome of the HRC".  All are causing a lot of chatter on the internet and really only represent the tip of the iceberg of what is currently online. 

Like the various groups referenced in the articles above, I have conflicting feelings and vacillate between pleasure to have Obama in office, because I truly believe he wishes me no ill will (I honestly did not feel that way about the former President) and disapointment that more has not been done either through supporting legislation or executive order.  However, I do remind myself that although Obama is fairly liberal, he is socially moderate/conservative with regards to GLBT issues.  He has never said anything that made me hold out hope that he would dash D.O.M.A. or lead the charge with any significant legislation.

That being said, I can also understand why many have been frustrated by what is perceived as reticence or lack of initiative.  The GLBT voting block has grown in significance in the Democratic Party.  Numbers in several politically important states are up and more importantly money donated has increased notably. If this voting bloc feels that they are not being heard by a Democratic candidate, that man/woman will see a drop in donations, volunteers and votes.  Whatever the rift, I hope this mends because the option of having another Christian Conservative in office honestly sends shivers down my spine.

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