The story of how GLAAD took AT&T money, then sent an AT&T-written form letter to the FCC on their behalf, just keeps getting more and more sordid. Central to the saga appears to be former AT&T lobbyist Troup Coronado, who sits on the board of GLAAD. But for the life of me, I cannot understand how either GLAAD or any of the other LGTB boards that Coronado sits on could possibly justify his presence there.
Coronado was appointed to the GLAAD board in 2008. If you look at his bio, you’ll see a lot of information about Coronado’s involved with numerous LGTB and Hispanic causes. Not so much about his work with an organization called the Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute (HAPI), where Coronado sat on the Policy Board. The Policy Board.
According to People for the American Way, HAPI was an astroturf group that joined with other GOP outfits to form the “National Coalition To End Judicial Filibusters,” which supported the use of “the so-called ‘nuclear option” to eliminate Senator’s ability to filibuster against President George W. Bush’s right-wing judicial nominees.”
Think about that. After the 2004 election, George Bush wanted to jam 10 extreme right-wing judges onto the bench who had been filibustered by the Democrats in the Senate: Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, Charles W. Pickering, Carolyn Kuhl, David W. McKeague, Henry Saad,Richard Allen Griffin, William H. Pryor, William Gerry Myers III and Janice Rogers Brown. Troup Coronado played an affirmative role in helping him do that.
The Gang of 14 cut the deal with the GOP over the nuclear option, which put seven of these judges onto the bench. Janice Rogers Brown, the only California Supreme Court justice to rule against recognizing LGBT rights to legally adopt their children, saying it “trivializes family bonds.” Pryor, who cast the deciding vote to uphold Florida’s outright ban on gay adoption.
Now, I know why Coronado was part of the effort. Bellsouth, AIG and BofA were “corporate members” of the group, and the Chamber was in a no-holds barred war to get Bush’s corporate-friendly judges onto the bench. But for any LGBT group, the bottom line should have been that when LGTB rights were pitted against corporate rights, Coronado was willing to give a group of people with seriously homophobic judicial histories enormous power to determine the future of lives of people within the LGTB community.
It’s inconceivable that any group conducting due diligence about a potential member of their board could have possibly missed this. But it’s not just GLAAD: Equality California, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation and the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA all have Coronado on their boards. As does the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.
I understand that organizations need money to pay staff, to do their work. And it’s possible to be a corporate jerk and still care about LGTB rights. But it is inconceivable that anyone could justify placing the future of an organization into the hands of a board member who has demonstrated incontrovertibly that he will sacrifice its values when the Chamber snaps their fingers.