Who Omitted Gays from Immigration Bill
Here's a perfect example of gayja vu all over again, in which a Democratic friend, who likes accepting gay money, wasn't brave enough to make our issues part of his legislation.
Last week a comprehensive immigration bill in the House was presented for consideration and gay concerns were missing. The legislation was introduced by an Illinois Democrat, one who has been happy to take gay dollars, but when push came to shove, he totally forgot about gay people. From last week's Windy City Times article on the latest Democratic Party screwing of our community:
Immigrant rights and LGBT activists have expressed dismay as a major immigration-reform bill introduced into the U.S. Congress by Rep. Luis Gutierrez failed to include key provisions they had sought.
Chief among these was an allowance for LGBT people to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration—which would, at least in this regard, put gay couples legally on par with heterosexual married couples.
I must digress for a moment, to point out that Gay Inc advocates were only asking for changes related to gay couples and gay immigrants who aresingle were left out in the cold. Another depressing instance of our leaders elevating the concerns of couples above everyone else. Why can't we put forward laws that meet the immigration needs of gays in partnerships and gay individuals?
Back to Gutierrez and his bill that does nothing for gays. Roll Call spoke with him last week and he explained the rationale behind his moves in the House:
Gutierrez denied that he wanted to keep gay and lesbian language out of his bill. “That’s just not true,” he said, pointing to his long-standing record of supporting the gay community. [...]
“There has never been a serious, in-depth discussion between the gay and lesbian community and the immigrant community. It’s never existed,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a new conversation, but not one that I’m fearful of. I welcome it. But you can’t expect after nearly two decades of struggle for a new component” to be quickly embraced.
What a liar he is. There have been many discussions for at least a solid decade between gay and immigration advocates, with a lot of common ground between them. On the subject of adding a "new" justice component to any bill, even with 20 years of struggle behind it, the time should be now when to include other minorities in need of better immigration laws.
So where is the Human Rights Campaign on these developments, which took place during Christmas week? HRC executives are probably enjoying extended holiday time off and can't be expected to respond to such developments. As of this morning, HRC's site lacks any statement about the proposed legislation and Gutierrez's abandoning of the gays.
According the FEC records analyzed and posted at OpenSecrets.org, since 1998 HRC has donated $15,075 to Gutierrez. Nice of HRC to give the Democratic Congressman money for his reelection campaigns. In return for those donations, gays were excluded from Gutierrez's bill. Check out the HRC contributions here, here, here, here, here and also here.
In a related matter, the executive director of the Immigration Equality, a gay org that dare not include the "g" word in its name, has made donations to Democratic Party orgs and candidates.
Rachel Tiven's FEC files show she gave $250 in June 2009 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and an additional $4,457 to Democrats since 2004. She should ask theDCCC for a refund, and in the process generate some mainstream news and attention from gay bloggers and newspapers, for showing some spine against the Democrats who are failing to advance gay rights.
As of this writing, the Immigration Equality site does not include a press release reacting to Gutierrez's bill, but the org's spokesman has been quoted on all this by several blogs.
A strong message of "Democrats can continue to take gay dollars and then forget about us" is sent to politicians like Gutierrez when HRC is silent about gays omitted from his immigration bill, and when gay leaders such as Tiven's don't ask for a refund from party PACs.
HRC and Tiven are good with using carrots in attempting to influence Democrats, but they're the biggest scaredy cats afraid to use a few sticks to advance the gay agenda. I don't expect this way of doing business to change in the new year.