Saturday, January 02, 2010

HRC's 'No Excuses' Meeting
at Pelosi's SF Office

(Pelosi, recipient of the National Equality Award from HRC, poses with Joe Solmonese at the org's 2007 national dinner gala in Washington. Photo credit: B. Proud/HRC.)

If the Human Rights Campaign is waging a continuing, highly-public, and hard-charging effort targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver on Democratic Party promises to gay Americans, the evidence is difficult to find. Nothing has been posted on HRC's blog in the past two months about any pressure being applied to Pelosi, but the org's page for its San Francisco/Bay Area steering committee shared a report about a meeting in December with her local office:

Recently a group of concerned citizens paid a visit to the District office of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. The purpose was clear and the message concise: It is time to achieve equal treatment for the LGBT Community [sic]. Keep the pending legislation active and moving towards affirmation. In Cities [sic] all across America groups of LGBT people and their friends made similar lobbying calls to their elected officials as part of the HRC sponsored “No Excuses Campaign”. [...]

Our San Francisco group of 12 enthusiastic voters met with Dan Bernal, District Director for Congresswoman Pelosi in District 1. Dan afforded us a full hour despite being in the midst of moving into new offices at the recently constructed Federal building. [...]

After brief personal introductions [HRC member] Richard Morehead gave a brief summary of LGBT- related pending or proposed legislation. Then each of the volunteers shared their concerns regarding the legislative process and why these potential laws would improve quality of life issues. [HRC members] Joe and Frank articulated their personal plight in denied health care coverage, employment discrimination and unfair tax status. They eloquently attached a genuine personal story to the need for these laws to be passed by Congress. District Director Dan Bernal offered to see if anything could be done to help this same-sex married couple.

Dan listened intently and re-confirmed Speaker Pelosi's support of the GLBT Community [sic] and that he would pass along our message and concerns to her.

That's it. No mention of specific follow up local HRC members will carry out to keep the "no excuses" pressure on Pelosi. To paraphrase Barney Frank's trenchant comment about the pressure Congress would feel from the October 11 gay march on DC, the only thing HRC put pressure on during the SF meeting was the office carpeting.

Will HRC ever play hardball with Pelosi and the Democrats? If the meeting with her district director last month is any indication, the answer is no.

1 comment:

AndrewW said...

HRC has no incentive to actually accomplish anything. They've spent $550 million during the last 28 years and have very little to show for it. Why would they change now? They have great salaries and expense accounts.

The one thing HRC is effective at is raising money. They do that very well. But, they don't have a list of accomplishments. That either makes them exceptional or it makes us stupid.

I'd also like to note that HRC can't put any pressure on Nancy Pelosi (or any other politician) LGBT issues are non-negotiable. Pelosi knows we can't pass anything in the Senate, so she doesn't want to waste time.