LGBT voters have serious alternative candidates to consider for president and vice president, Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts, former Republican governors in Democratic states, now Libertarians. But many gay voters seem willing to settle for a pat on the head from a woman who so often has found herself running to the front of the gay Pride parade, trying to catch up with the culture.
Hillary Clinton’s “public” positions, we are informed by WikiLeaks, have not been consistent with her “private” beliefs, on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the egregious Defense of Marriage Act.
I have been a member of the Washington gay community since 1975, coming to work as press aide to a new Democratic congressman. In the 1980s, I was press spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. From that experience, I am baffled how organizations supposedly representing us have positioned the LGBT community as an adjunct to the Democratic Party.
Whenever a minority group allows itself to be taken for granted, it loses leverage. Our “leaders” may get invitations to the White House, ego-satisfying pats on the head. More often, we get kicked in the butt, told to be grateful because the other party is so terrible.
The prime example of LGBT organizations seduced by the Democratic Party and The Clintons is the Human Rights Campaign — the other HRC — and its executive director, Chad Griffin, a Clinton crony from Bill’s hometown of Hope, Ark.
Griffin has ridden the coattails of Bill and Hillary, rising to head of the HRC and, as reported by the Blade, receiving $429,411 in compensation in 2013 — a then 40-year-old paid more than the leader of the free world.
Rising from a 19-year-old press aide for Clinton, Griffin can be relied on to deliver an impression of gay support at HRC’s annual dress-to-impress dinners. The theme for 2015 was “Stronger Together,” not coincidentally Mrs. HRC’s campaign slogan. It was held Oct. 3, 2015, when she was still running for the Democratic nomination against Bernie Sanders, whose opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA was early and often, dating to The Clintons’ White House years.
About two weeks after the dinner, Clinton claimed the discriminatory directive and law were “defensive actions,” as reported by the Blade on Oct. 24, 2015. A Washington Post fact checker on Oct. 28 Clinton’s claim that DOMA was signed to “head off” a constitutional amendment. Post writer Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave Clinton “Four Pinocchios” for her creative attempt to rewrite history.
Griffin’s HRC isn’t the only organization getting into bed with a political party. Log Cabin Republicans have been no profiles in courage this year, letting themselves be taken for granted by the GOP, refusing to condemn Trump.
Many gay citizens are not single-issue voters. In addition to important social issues, economic/fiscal concerns and foreign/national security policy are as important to many of us as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA.
As a “libertarian Democrat,” I not only want the government out of my bedroom. I favor keeping it as far away as possible from my bank account, my body and the backyards of the rest of the world.
As a Democrat who refuses to be taken for granted, I’m working for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. In December 2011, still running for the GOP presidential nomination, Gov. Johnson announced his support for gay marriage. That contrasts sharply with Clinton, who didn’t offer her “public” approval until just weeks before the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA in June 2013, and almost a year after President Obama announced his support for marriage equality. Gov. Weld was well known for his support of gay rights when he was chief executive in Massachusetts from 1991-97, overlapping most of the Clinton White House years.
It’s now all but certain Donald Trump isn’t going to be president. So LGBT voters should not be assumed for Clinton. Gay support for Johnson and Weld will be principled votes for two leaders whose “public” positions are the same as their “private” civil libertarian views.
Terry Michael is senior media adviser for Johnson-Weld 2016. Founder of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism, he was chief press spokesman for the Democratic National Committee from 1985-87. Reach him at email@example.com.