Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Too Bad I Can't Chop Up My HRC Award Twice


I heard about HRC endorsing Susan Collins again a few hours ago. It seems to have surprised a lot of people. It would have surprised me if they hadn't. Susan Collins and HRC are made for each other. Don't they always. Last time, in fact, was the same year they chose not to endorse Tammy Baldwin's congressional election, the same year I removed them from my will. I dug this up from a post I wrote this just over 8 years ago, May 30, 2006:
Because I was lucky enough to have had something of a reputation as an enlightened corporate leader for several years, my mantle is filled with awards from progressive public advocacy groups like the ACLU, GLAAD, People For the American Way and HRC. Actually my mantle used to have an HRC award on it. But a little over a week ago HRC endorsed Lieberman over clear, enlightened, unambiguously progressive and pro-gay Ned Lamont. So I took the award down and put it in a box where no one-- including, or especially, myself-- will see it.

In 1997 I had been so proud to accept HRC's Leadership Equality Award "for outstanding corporate leadership and dedication to the gay and lesbian community." My mother and my grandmother were kvelling and my boss, the Chairman of Warner Bros, was beaming at my side when I went up to make my speech. Last week I thought about calling friends and family over and having a smashing-up ceremony but I decided to just wait and see if HRC changes and gravitates more towards their roots as real agents for change and leaves the severely compromised kiss-up politics that pervades the sick, sick system Inside the Beltway to others. I'm not overly optimistic. HRC's fancy new 8-story building symbolizes their institutional self-perpetuating role inside that insider game.
My old friend Hugh Baran wouldn't have been surprised either. "Ultimately," he wrote, "what HRC values is access to power, and its money certainly does provide it with access. Consistent support of an incumbent like Lieberman, especially when he is facing a tough race, is certainly a way, if he is elected, to help maintain that access. But HRC is never going to lose its access or influence by not supporting people like Lieberman. It would only stand to gain by withholding support in the race, or by coming out strongly for Lamont. HRC already has access, but what good has it been, when the situation of LGBT Americans has for the past decade remained little changed?"

Two years later, I found that award and chopped it up with an axe when HRC endorsed Susan Collins in her race against Tom Allen. Inside the crazy world known as "Inside-the-Beltway," Collins was deemed to be "good... for a Republican" on gay issues. Rep. Allen was perfect on gay issues as a human being and as a Democrat. I went on Michelangelo Signorile's radio show to discuss it with him, prompting this e-mail from an old friend the next evening:
I got two calls from HRC today.

I couldn't take the first call and, good for them, someone called me back a couple of hours later.

They asked me if I would renew my membership so they could lead the fight in anti-gay initiatives.

I told her no because HRC endorsed Susan Collins.

Her:  "Who is that? Some local person?"

Me:  "No, she's a United States Senator."

Her: "Well, I've never heard of her and we don't even do endorsements"

Me: "Actually that is one of the most visible things that HRC does."

Her: "Well, I don't think that we do that and this is the first time that I have heard of that woman's name."

Me: "Well, she is a Republican and she votes for the anti-gay Republican leadership and she has voted for Bush's nominees for the Supreme Court."

Her: "OK..... so would you like to renew to fight these anti-gay initiatives?"

Me: "No, I need to recover from the Collins endorsement.... And this when I had almost recovered from HRC's endorsement of Lieberman and D'Amato."

Her: "Well, I don't know who that is... In two days of calling this is the first time I have even heard that name.... So you don't want to renew?"

Me: "uh No... thank you."
Tonight, Blue America is co-hosting an event for Shenna Bellows with the Feminist Majority, DFA, PCCC, and Council for a Livable World as well as by the 2 progressives, Marianne Williamson and Ted Lieu, who recently ran for Congress in the district where the event is taking place. Shenna, who helped lead the first successful fight-- in the whole country-- to pass marriage equality in Maine in 2012 through a voter referendum, just sent a response to the HRC endorsement of Collins. She recently said in a widely read Huffington Post article that one of her first acts as senator would be the introduction of a national Human Rights Act to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in marriage, housing, education, access to credit, public accommodations and employment. Read what she has to say and if you think she would make a good replacement for Collins, please consider contributing what you can to her campaign here.
"I've been proud and very privileged to be a leader in the LGBT equality movement for many years. As executive director of the ACLU of Maine, I spent every day bringing Republicans and Democrats together to expand civil liberties and strengthen equal protection under the law. I believe in taking strong stances in favor of Constitutional protections and equal rights even when they're unpopular. Remaining silent on some of the biggest civil rights issues of our generation, even after the voters have spoken, isn't leadership, and it isn't how Maine became one of the most inclusive states in the country for LGBT rights.

"My opponent, Republican Susan Collins, had the chance to speak up in favor of marriage equality in 2012 or any time in the previous decade. Two years after her constituents made their feelings known at the ballot box, she has refused to break her silence. I believe Mainers need, want and deserve more proactive representation on equal rights-- on allowing LGBT students to learn without fear of bullying, on applying for jobs and going to work without fear of discrimination, and on much more. I'm running for Senate to provide that proactive representation and to expand Constitutional protections for our LGBT community.

"This is one endorsement in an election year. Mainers are more interested in both candidates' records, and my record speaks for itself."
If you lost that contribution link, here is is again. Oh… and by the way, the HRC website states that "The HRC Board of Directors has the ultimate authority over the organization's actions, including fiscal management and budget approval. Board members also establish the official policies that direct HRC." Know any of 'em?

Tracie Ahern – New York, NY
Lacey All­ – Seattle, WA
Ian Barrett – Houston, TX
Bruce Bastian – Orem, UT
Terry Bean – Portland, OR
Vanessa Benavides – Dallas, TX
Les Bendtsen – Minneapolis, MN
Michael Berman – Washington, DC
Scott Bishop – Charlotte, NC
Paul Boskind – San Antonio, TX
Chris Carolan – Brooklyn, NY
Bill Donius – Ladue, MO
Chris Flynn – Boston, MA
Jody Gates – New Orleans, LA
Kirk Hamill – Washington, DC
Suzanne Hamilton – Cleveland, OH
Jim Harrison – Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
Tom Knabel – Minneapolis, MN
Chris Labonte – Philadelphia, PA
Joan Lau – Philadelphia, PA
Joni Madison – Hillsborough, NC
Joshua Miller – Henderson, NV
Hank Provost – Denver, CO
Cheryl Rose-Mack – Columbus, OH
Cathi Scalise – Dallas, TX
Linda Scaparotti – San Francisco, CA
Molly Simmons – Atlanta, GA
Steve Sorenson – Newport Beach, CA
Meghan Stabler – Round Rock, TX
Brad White – OC/LB/PS
Frank Woo – San Francisco, CA
Tony Woods – Washington, DC

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At 3:36 PM, Blogger TeddyPartridge said...

I don't know him, but here's some recent local press Terry Bean probably wishes he hadn't gotten:’s.html

At 7:43 PM, Blogger sarah said...

I would like to track down the emails also. Any luck?


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