Congratulations to the Capital Pride Alliance for staging what is sure to be a successful Pride celebration and fitting tribute to 40 years of Pride in D.C. As we come together for the annual parades and street festivals around the world — and as we anticipate a Supreme Court ruling on marriage later this month — it’s a good time to survey the landscape of current events and to make a personal wish list for the year ahead. A few observations and requests:
• Chief Justice John Roberts should surprise us all again and rule in favor of a constitutional right to marriage.
• With the marriage fight thus resolved, Congress should advance a proposed law banning employment and other discrimination against LGBT people. There are 28 states that lack such protections, meaning you could get legally married on Saturday and legally fired on Monday just for being LGBT.
• With marriage off the table, donors, lobbyists and funders of the LGBT movement should target efforts at alleviating poverty among LGBT youth. With 40 percent of homeless youth identifying as LGBT, the plight of our own young people has become a crisis we can’t continue to ignore. I met with one such young person just a few weeks ago who became homeless after his parents discovered he’s gay, canceled his tuition payment and kicked him out. It’s a story seen in cities large and small across the country.
• Our fierce advocates should stop running from the media. The Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin has steadfastly refused to grant an interview to the Blade. Blade reporters and editors always had an open door to Griffin’s predecessors at HRC, even when we disagreed on issues of the day. But Griffin either thinks he’s above taking questions from us or is afraid to do so.
• And speaking of running from the media, President Obama should make good on a promise he made to me personally in 2009 and finally sit down for an interview. The Blade is in the White House briefing room every day; we’re in the pool rotation. We’ve been promised countless times by DNC officials, White House staff and even the president himself that access would be forthcoming. But in keeping with his sparse interactions with the media, Obama refuses to make good and sit for a Blade interview. His failure to hold regular press conferences and his administration’s attacks on whistleblowers threaten to undermine an otherwise stellar record on LGBT progress.
• Wealthy gays like Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner should stop giving money to right-wing lunatics like Ted Cruz. Of course we need to talk to our enemies and the Log Cabin Republicans does an excellent job of that. But there’s a big difference between talking and enabling. Donating thousands of dollars to Cruz’s campaign (and lying about it) sends a distressing signal that LGBT support can be traded for nothing. The sleazy, entitled Weiderpass and Reisner aren’t strangers to controversy. A 23-year-old man was found dead in their bathtub after a party last year. They’re being sued by former employees at their Out NYC hotel complex who claim they weren’t paid for overtime work and had tips illegally withheld. They should find a way to make amends and put some of their millions to a positive use for the community that has enriched them.
• Democrats like Martin O’Malley should stop using marriage as a wedge. That’s right, just 10 years after the GOP used marriage to attack Democrats, the tables have turned and it’s Democrats using it to criticize their opponents. The problem with that strategy is O’Malley and fellow Democrats like Hillary Clinton were late to the marriage party and don’t deserve credit for the passage of those laws.
Is all that too much to ask?
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.