Protests At HRC Fundraiser,
Gotham Pols Steer Clear
The Radical Homosexual Agenda protested outside last night's Human Rights Campaign dinner at the midtown Hilton in Manhattan.
From Paul Schindler at Gay City News:
Faced with a boisterous picket line that drew a crowd of more than 50 and with the absence of every lesbian, gay, and bisexual elected official from New York City -- and nearly every other prominent city Democrat -- Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, used his keynote address at the group's annual Midtown Manhattan dinner to answer critics who fault it for going along with a version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that does not include protections for transgendered Americans.[snip]
[O]f numerous elected officials who in past years attended but were not there this time, only Micah Kellner [JMG: my Assemblymember], an openly bisexual East Side Democratic assemblyman, attributed his absence to the boycott. Others insisted, on the record, that they had scheduling conflicts, though Kellner's statement to Gay City News and off-the-record comments by staff members of several elected officials, pointed to a conscious effort to avoid the HRC event.The never-ENDA story continues.
Kellner was among those that dinner officials from the stage announced as being on hand, but this reporter did not see him, and when reached by telephone the assemblyman said, "I was not there. I boycotted like everyone else. And I was really quite annoyed that they put my name on their press release. I phoned them late yesterday to make clear I was not coming."
Christine Quinn, the out lesbian speaker of the City Council who addressed the HRC dinner in past years, attributed her absence to "scheduling conflicts." In an email statement to Gay City News, a spokesperson for Quinn added, "However, the Speaker has also made clear that she was very disappointed that the action taken by Congress with the Employment and Non-Discrimination Act did not include gender identity. Moreover, the Speaker is stunned that the Human Rights Campaign is penalizing those Congressmembers who support a pro-LGBT agenda, and who voted against the Act because it didn't include transgenders. The Speaker applauds her colleagues from New York -- Congressmembers Clarke, Nadler, Towns, Velazquez, and Weiner -- for their stand."
None of the three Democrats mentioned as likely 2009 mayoral candidates -- Quinn, Congressman Anthony Weiner, or city Comptroller William Thompson -- attended the dinner. Quinn's lesbian colleague on the Council, Lower East Side Democrat Rosie Mendez was also absent, as were out gay and lesbian Democratic legislators Senator Tom Duane of Chelsea, and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick of the Village and Matt Titone of Staten Island.
As late as February 22, HRC had gay Upper West Side Democrat Daniel O'Donnell, who steered the marriage equality bill to passage in the Assembly last summer, slated on their program to present the group's community service award to Marriage Equality New York, but that same day O'Donnell's office told Gay City News that he too had a scheduling conflict.