There’s been a lot of speculation about what the President will say at this year’s Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in DC. It’s his second time around speaking before the largest LGBT rights group, and you can hear analysis of his speech on SiriusXM OutQ by some familiar voices…
SiriusXM OutQ News will have live special coverage of President Barack Obama’s keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner in Washington, D.C., this Saturday, October 1, at 7pm ET.
Morning anchor Xorje Olivares will report live from the Washington Convention Center for immediate reactions to the president’s speech and will be live-tweeting during the event. Meanwhile, OutQ News Director Tim Curran will be at SiriusXM’s headquarters in New York talking to progressive LGBT bloggers Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend and Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod. Together they will offer an analysis of the president’s remarks, with an opportunity for you to call in and share your thoughts on his address as well.
Gay rights advocates are hoping President Obama will finally come out in full support of marriage equality–he has only said that his views are still ‘evolving.’ They would also like him to mention the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.
It’s almost certain that the president will address the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which became official on September 20th. He may also make note of the recent suicide death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, especially after pop icon Lady Gaga brought the issue of anti-gay bullying to his attention during a fundraising event last weekend.
OutQ News Reports: ‘The President’s Equality Address’ will begin at 7pm ET, shortly before the president is scheduled to speak. We invite you to participate in the conversation by calling us at 866-305-6887 or replying to us at @outqnews and @outq.
My advice for the President…
Not that he asked me for it…but in related news, Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly asked a few people in the movement, including your blogmistress, What Advice Would You Give Obama? as he plans to address this particular crowd. Here’s my two cents if you’re reading Mr. President:
It will be a celebratory evening for you before the audience at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner; it will be a time to revisit the accomplishments to date. The crowning jewel, of course, is presiding over the fall of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It was a rocky road to get to this place, but in the end, the myriad strategies — from the White House to Congress and the Pentagon, to the grassroots and Netroots — made this happen. Acknowledging that before the well-heeled LGBT establishment on Saturday will go a long way toward future equality accomplishments.
Also, think hard about the message you choose to send as the cultural storms over marriage and equal rights under the law are brewing in the state your party chose to host the Democratic National Convention – North Carolina. It is a state without any employment protections for LGBT workers at a time when jobs are a priority; it is a state that faces a vote on the civil rights of a minority based on political and religion-based bigotry. Corporations in the state, as well as politicians wary of being vocal will be guided by your choice — to speak out publicly, on camera — or to remain silent as millions of dollars pour in from anti-gay forces to ensure that lesbian and gay couples face even more restricted civil rights.
There will be buzz in the air on Saturday about whether you’ve “evolved” on your position regarding marriage equality since you are in Washington, DC, where it now exists. However, be mindful that you are being feted by a small demographic slice of the LGBT pie, by a group of people whose equality priorities may differ greatly from those who don’t have the same level access, resources or political power. Speak not only to those LGBTs present in the room, but to the many out there still seeking the most basic civil rights and protections in more hostile parts of the country.
Chris also has statements from Barbra Siperstein, the first out transgender person on the Democatic National Committee executive committee; Calvin Stowell, a young activist who made a splash with his “It Gets Better” video on YouTube; and Blend barista and Daily Kos blogger Scott Wooledge, one of those arrested at the White House, protesting Obama and calling for more action on ending DADT.
Did someone inside the Beltway hear me? [LOL.]
I’m not sure if this bodes well for those of in states facing amendments, but the HRC, given it probably knows what is in the President’s speech, is showing its hand, stating through President Joe Somonese that it expects Barack Obama to make clear statementson Saturday about the discrimination amendments that are on the ballot in 2012. (ABC’s Political Punch):
[W]ith a coming election in which Obama’s name will appear on the ballot alongside the same-sex marriage question in at least three battleground states, advocates are now pressing the president to use the spotlight and his campaign’s ground operations to help lobby for their cause.
“One thing that would be incredibly helpful would be for the president and the administration to look out across the electoral landscape next year, understand where it is that we’re engaged in marriage fights – whether overturning the ban in Oregon, or fighting a ban in Minnesota or North Carolina – and have something to say about that,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian rights group, in an interview with ABC News.
“I think that will be important, particularly in North Carolina, where the legislature just passed a bill that would put a marriage ban on the ballot next year and where the president will find himself for the Democratic National Convention,” he said.
I’m glad to hear this (even if it’s only rumorville), because it’s been made pretty clear to me in several circles to date (readers, donors, movement leaders) that flyover states where the fights are defensive aren’t seen attractive or desirable to address with people or resources (or cover in detail), but the focus should be on playing offense (obtaining marriage equality where it’s close, defending it where it is in place). Should the President publicly signal that his attention is on LGBT equality — and stopping bigotry where it has legislatively arisen — I have no doubt that will make a difference in bringing companies and fence-sitters into the game. Fingers are crossed.
For a great take on what the President could accomplish in bold strokes, check out Kerry Eleveld’s “It’s Time for Obama to Advance Equality in the Workplace.”