I’m Joe Solmonese, and I Ignore Pro-Equality Candidates. Please Donate to the Human Rights Campaign.
To read Joe Solmonese’s vapid, patronizing defense of the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement of the anti-equality incumbent Joe Lieberman, you would think there was no actual candidate in the race who supports full equality for GLBT people. You won’t find any acknowledgement of Ned Lamont’s existence in Solmonese’s writing at all. I wonder why?
Maybe Joe Solmonese (not to be confused with Joe Lieberman) doesn’t want people to know Ned Lamont said this:
LAMONT: I think we’ve got a federal government that is intruding into our private lives more and more every day. It was evidenced by the Terri Schiavo case, it’s evidenced by the appointment of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court, and it’s evidenced in terms of gay rights. I think if two people want to get married let them get married. We don’t want the government intruding into our churches, into our private lives. I strongly oppose the constitutional amendment that’s been bandied about every election cycle in Washington DC outlawing the right of two people who are in love to get married.
FDL: The Human Rights Campaign, the principle lobbying organization in Washington DC on behalf of GLBT rights, has come out in support of your opponent, Senator Lieberman. Do you have any thoughts on that endorsement?
LAMONT: What’ I’m learning about the political process is that, at the national level, there’s a real tendency to support the incumbents, but at the local level – here in the state of Connecticut and I think you’ll find this elsewhere – you have a lot of members who feel differently. I’m finding that on the union front and I think we’re finding that on the HRC front as well. Sometimes the national organizations don’t necessarily speak for their supporters on the ground level.
FDL: In summation, then, why do you feel that supporters of GLBT equality should support you in the Connecticut-Senate primary?
LAMONT: Because I strongly believe that rather than us having a federal government that tries to take rights away from people, we need a federal government that guarantees rights for people. Guarantees them a right to privacy; guarantees them a right to live their lives without federal interference. I think the Bush administration has been wrong on this. I think Senator Lieberman is too likely to mix religion and politics, and I believe that, when it comes to gay rights, that’s the next civil rights struggle, and rather than take away people’s rights, we should be fighting to guarantee rights.
Sadly, like most Senators, Lieberman doesn’t yet support marriage fairness. But he does believe that same-sex couples deserve protections under law. Obviously, the Human Rights Campaign is further along when it comes to marriage. But we don’t have the liberty, nor should we, of closing the door to a conversation about marriage that will continue over the next several years, particularly when that member of Congress is scoring 88 percent on our issues.
That would be a dangerous and reactionary path to take. While most Americans are not yet where we want them on marriage, our job is to build that support to a majority and we should not shut the door to those that don’t support it today. What would that do for us in the future?
"Dangerous and reactionary?" I think GLBT familes would call pretending that a popular, pro-equality candidate doesn’t exist is "dangerous and reactionary." To hear you talk, Joe, it’s as if you would have us believe Holy Joe is in North Carolina running against a Jesse Helms clone (Lieberman co-sponsored anti-gay legislation with Jesse back in the day, as you well know). You don’t "have the liberty," Joe? What, does someone have a gun to your head? Are you being held hostage? That would explain a lot, actually.
Let me tell you, Joe, what supporting pro-equality candidates in safe states might do for my family in the future: it might get us our damn rights. "Several years," Joe? How many decades do you want before those of us in your donor base call the Human Rights Campaign to account? How many black tie dinners from now? You’re doing a heckuva job, Joey.
It gets better:
I don’t know about you, but I think we’d all be better off as a country if we did more to find common ground. And there’s a lot of common ground I share with Senator Lieberman. In addition to his staunch opposition to the amendment, he is the lead co-sponsor of the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act. This critical bill would ensure that same-sex couples aren’t taxed on their health insurance benefits, as is the situation for spousal benefits. He’s co-sponsoring the Early Treatment for HIV Act. He’s been a strong supporter of federal hate crimes law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. He’s co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and voted for it in 1996.
Yes, let’s find common ground with people who grease the skids for anti-privacy Supreme Court judges like Sam Alito. By all means, Joe, let’s find common ground with James Dobson. That’s what we write you the checks for, right, to do the thinking for us poor simpletons? Oh, and by the way, has the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ever passed, even though it enjoys majority popular support? No? How about that! What about that Domestic Partners bill? Not that either? What good is your token scorecard when it only counts the votes Joe knows will never pass? When will the Human Rights Campaign actually score the taking of political risks on our behalf?
Solmonese lists a series of HRC accomplishments, and some of them have merit, but he lists no actual victories in changing federal law. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Sucking up to "centrist" sellouts who won’t fight for our equality has gotten us nothing but tokenism and manipulative contempt. The Human Rights Campaign has become part of the problem, not the solution. Not anymore.
I have a challenge for you, Joe (Solmonese, not Lieberman. . . I know, I get them confused, too). It’s an open book test. Come to us and answer the questions we asked Mike Mings last week. Come tell us about your scorecard system, and why it means anything. Come answer the questions Mings whiffed and never bothered to complete over seventy-two hours before we ran with the article. If you have the courage, come confront real questions about the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement of Leiberman, instead of waving at straw men, as you do in your duplicitous defense.
I won’t hold my breath.
Meanwhile, GLBT people, their families and their allies should support pro-equality Ned Lamont.
UPDATE: An idea from the comments: Human Rights Campaign donors who are fed up might consider sending their money instead to Ned Lamont, and then sending Joe Solmonese or the Human Rights Campaign a copy of the receipt. Just a thought!