Almost nine months ago, John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay of AMERICAblog initiated their “Don’t Ask Don’t Give” campaign, asking LGBT people to stop funding Democratic party campaigns until they actually make a concerted effort to keep their promises. I finally found a chance to join the cause last week when I received a fundraising email signed by Brad Woodhouse, Communications Director of the DNC. Below is my response to his donation request.
In response to your request for a small donation, I must unfortunately reiterate what so many others have said in the last few months. The Democratic party will not see one penny from my pocket until and unless substantial gains are made in the field of LGBT rights.
In 2008, the LGBT community helped give you the White House, the House of Representatives, and a super-majority in the Senate. What we’ve discovered is that there is little difference between a Democratic-led government and the Republican-led government of five years ago. Instead of taking a clear and decisive pro-civil rights stance, you thanked us by running the other way and choosing ***anything*** but LGBT civil rights.
- You punted repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, with a compromise that doesn’t actually repeal anything, has yet to be voted on in the Senate or signed by the President, and reportedly is being considered for veto by President Obama.
- You’ve put off the Employment Non-Discrimination Act until it’s logistically unlikely this year, with Speaker Pelosi characterizing the bill as “controversial” rather than rallying Democrats around this clear issue of civil rights.
- Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act isn’t even being considered, no matter how many times President Obama says he’s “urged” Congress to do so.
- Ending the discriminatory anti-gay blood donation ban has been discussed and rejected with no real push from the DNC to follow the science and penalize risky sex rather than responsible gay men in monogamous relationships for thirty years.
- Bids to institute state-wide marriage equality have failed in part because of the lack of leadership and funding from the DNC, most notably in Maine last year.
- Even a bill to offer safety to all school children has failed to find congressional footing because members of Congress get squeamish at the bill’s specific mention of LGBT kids who are many times more likely to be bullied, depressed, isolated, and suicidal than their straight peers.
So no. You will not get my money, you will not get my time, you will not get my voice, and you will not get my vote until you show me that you consider my rights as important as yours.
Candidates who have shown leadership for these completely reasonable LGBT demands retain my support and vote, but until I see substantial leadership and not excuses from the national party, my response remains the same:
NOT. ONE. CENT.
Matthew D. Algren
For far too long, Democrats have viewed LGBT people as nothing more than a committed source of funding and a reliable voting bloc. It’s time to teach them that we’re more than that.