Thursday, May 04, 2006

Spineless Democrats and their punk leader

I've had more than a few debates with my gay brothers and sisters over the Democratic Party and its representation of queer issues, particularly those who worship at the altar of Bill Clinton. He "felt our pain," they argue. No, he exploited it, relying on photo ops and non-binding promises to win over the homo vote.

Not that the alternative was any better on gay issues, but Clinton's scorecard features signing the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 (the idea of Clinton "defending marriage" is funny enough) and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" initiative, which I'd argue has made things worse for gays in the military. Don't forget, that was an executive order. Clinton could've lifted the ban altogether, but he caved.

Likewise, today's Democratic Party has done little in the fight for equality. They say the right things, but when it comes down to voting on issues such as DOMA, the Democrats have chosen popular opinion over principle. Now it seems gay Dems have finally grown tired of being used.

Paul Yandura, a party loyalist, sent an open letter on April 20 to gay Democratic activists charging that Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee have failed to counter efforts by Republicans to promote anti-gay ballot measures as a wedge issue to win elections.

"For many months, a number of us have made appeals to Howard Dean and party officials to care about and defend the dignity of gay and lesbian families and friends, in the same way they defend the dignity of other key constituencies," Yandura said in his letter.

"All progressives need to be asking how much has the DNC budgeted to counter the anti-gay ballot initiatives in the states," he said. "We also need to know why the DNC and our Democratic leaders continue to allow the Republicans to use our families and friends as pawns to win elections."

In a comment that is certain to raise eyebrows among party leaders, Yandura added that until the party provides answers to these questions, "my advice is don’t give any more money to the Dems."

So how did DNC chair Howard Dean respond?

He fired the party's gay outreach advisor Donald Hitchcock, who just happens to be Yandura's domestic partner. Some coincidence.

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