Mike Signorile has a post, which is currently on the front page of Huffington Post, on his upcoming town hall forum, The Path Forward. It’s scheduled for next Thursday from 2 – 4 PM here in DC. Both John and I will be there.
The panel at the event includes some familiar names: Rea Carey from National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF); Joe Solmonese from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Mara Keisling from National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) ; Aubrey Sarvis from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN); Richard Socarides, who worked as an advisor to President Clinton on gay rights; and the Blogmistress from the Blend, Pam Spaulding.
We’re at a critical point in the legislative and electoral calendar. Time is running out. Mike lays out the backdrop the forum:
Since literally the first day that president took office, with the Rick Warren controversy, there has been disappointment that boiled over into anger on several occasions, such as when the Department of Justice filed it’s heinous Defense of Marriage Act brief in June 2009. The problem is with Congress as well, which has dragged its feet. A hate crimes bill that languished for over a decade finally passed last year but it was long overdue. A vote in the house on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act may finally happen in coming days – at least that’s what we’re told – but it has been promised since last summer. In the Senate, the prospects for ENDA are apparently not good. And the president isn’t using his bully pulpit to push for it.
The same is true on “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. The White House has sent conflicting messages, with the president announcing his desire to repeal the law and the Pentagon launching a study on implementation. But the White House hasn’t publicly called on Congress for a vote this year, before the mid-term elections when Democrats could lose seats, putting any vote on repeal off for years. And repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act – another campaign promise from the president – isn’t even on the radar.
Throughout the past year and half LGBT leaders have sent conflicting messages as well, often praising the White House while, to some of us, not pressuring the White House hard enough on demanding votes from Congress.
So on Thursday of next week, from 2-4 ET, we’ll be hashing it out at a town hall that will be aired across the country on Sirius 109, and XM 98, as well as online at Sirius.com. We’ll be taking questions from the studio audience and from listeners on the phones and it will surely be a lively and spirited discussion. Hopefully, by the end, we’ll have a bit of clarity on that path forward.