The New York Times is reporting that Media Matters is launching a new division of its organization devoted to LGBT equality called ‘Equality Matters’ which will be run by former Clinton adviser Richard Socarides and edited by intrepid Advocate reporter Kerry Eleveld, who is leaving that publication in January
While a range of groups are working to advance gay rights, the movement has lacked a national rapid-response war room of the sort that can push back against homophobic messages in the media and the political arena and keep the pressure on elected officials, said David Mixner, a gay author and activist.
“I think the lesson we have learned over the last two years is that you’ve got to be tough,” Mr. Mixner said, “and you’ve got to keep people’s feet to the fire.”
The organizers of Equality Matters say that is their intent. Mr. Socarides and the founder of Media Matters, David Brock, said they began planning Equality Matters several months ago. They quickly persuaded Ms. Eleveld, who covered the Obama campaign and has covered Washington for the last two years, to join them.
“I’ve spent the past two years with a front-row seat to history, and the longer I sat there the more I felt drawn to participating,” Ms. Eleveld said in an interview.
Part of GLAAD’s, (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Mission Statement is “holding the media accountable for the words and images they present” But they have been long absent on doing anything at all in pushing back against homophobic messages in the news media arena seemingly content to keep themselves to patrolling sitcom’s and movies. We desperately need an organization that will take on homophobia in the news and political area. Case in point news programs such as CNN and MSNBC and print outlets giving Hate Groups such as AFA and FRC public platforms to express homophobic ideas while lying and using made up statistics and evidence. Where has GLAAD been during all that?
We as a community need an organization such as Equality Matters and I for one welcome them.
Former LGBT adviser to President Bill Clinton, Richard Socarides let the truth fly about Obama missing the mark on LGBT rights in the Wall Street Journal:
“The absence of a position from the Justice Department in favor of expanding civil rights is as shocking as the absence of a coherent White House policy on gay issues. There is no senior policy person at the White House whose primary responsibility is gay rights. And there is no gay person in Mr. Obama’s inner circle of advisers. That matters when trying to get attention for issues in an already overcrowded agenda, and the result is obvious. It’s true that this president is no George W. Bush, or John McCain, for that matter. He signed into law a long-sought amendment to the federal hate-crimes statute, which added sexual orientation as a protected class. Many cabinet agencies have taken steps to make their rules and regulations more gay-friendly, most significantly with respect to issues like hospital visitation and, earlier this week, some aspects of family medical leave. That’s all good news. Mr. Obama entered office with greater immediate challenges confronting him than most. But after eight years of benign neglect (at best) from Washington, and a campaign in which Mr. Obama promised to be our champion, gay Americans had good reason to expect more from this president, and now are understandably frustrated.”
“Understanably frusted” is an understatement. How about just plain downright angry? And with that being said lets give credit to a few other things that Obama has done for the LGBT Community thus far. (List courtesy of Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com )
1. His administration has REMOVED any GUARANTEE of an end to discharges from the so-called “repeal” amendment;
2. His administration has GUTTED the explicit ban on discrimination against gays in the military from the amendment;
3. His administration has GUTTED permission for those already discharged to reenlist from the amendment;
4. He has REFUSED to order his SECDEF and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to salute those three key mandates making the DOD a virtual fourth branch of government;
5. He has instead EMPOWERED Gates to come up with and spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a phony “study” built entirely around the PREMISE that allowing out gays to serve would hurt the military and intended to stall ending discharges, and still with the potential of its “findings” being used to continue the ban permanently;
6. He has REFUSED to use the legal power Congress gave him to unilaterally stop discharges which he’s said himself “weaken national security”
7. Under his administration he has DISCHARGED over 600 gays since being sworn, and is still discharging them, according to SLDN, under the “old rules” contrary to new ones released March 25th;
8. He REFUS\ED to order Gates to follow the YEAR & A HALF OLD 9th Circuit Court Witt decision banning any discharges within its multi-state jurisdiction when the military has not proven that the INDIVIDUAL damages unit cohesion. Gates finally promised on Feb. 2nd to announce such policies by mid-March but still hasn’t.
10. His administration has DEFENDED DADT in court more than half a dozen times with the same homophobic language used to pass it in 1993;
10. He has CLAIMIED that DADT has been ruled constitutional by Supreme Court when it never has;
11. He has done NOTHING to keep his promise to pass ENDA;
12. He has done NOTHING to keep his promise to pass UAFA;
13. He has done NOTHING to keep his promise to repeal DOMA;
14. Instead, DEFENDING DOMA in court repeatedly in terms even more homophobic than those used to pass it originally;
15. He actually did nothing to help pass the hate crimes bill other than posing for a photo with Judy Shepard;
16. His administration is being sued by Lambda Legal for refusing to let a lesbian federal court employee buy insurance for her partner despite a court order clearly indicating it would NOT be a violation of DOMA; nor would it cost the government a cent;
17. He has thrown cheap crumbs at us like hospital visitation which even the Antigay Industry supports;
18. He has reinforced religio-fascist homophobes, just like he did during the campaign by telling them he opposes marriage equality because “God is in the mix,” by telling reporters for the homohating Catholic Church that, “As a Christian, I’m constantly wrestling with my faith and my solicitude and regard and concern for gays and lesbians.”