Main | Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NYT On White House Cocktail Party

The NYT's Caucus blog has weighed in on next week's White House cocktail party for gay leaders. The party is ostensibly to mark the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, but most are seeing it as an olive branch to LGBT organizations after the DOJ-DOMA flap.
As advocates for gays and lesbians intensify their criticism of the White House, President Obama has invited some of their leaders to an East Room reception next Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 Greenwich Village demonstrations that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement. The White House has not publicized the reception, and officials did not respond to e-mail requests for comment. But gay leaders from here and around the country said they had received either telephone calls from the White House or written invitations to the event, and were told Mr. Obama is expected to speak. Some said it would take more than a reception to change their view that Mr. Obama has not been aggressive enough in pursuing gay rights. As a candidate, Mr. Obama campaigned to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law barring gay marriage, and ‘’don’t ask don’t tell,’’ the military policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly. But advocates have accused him of dragging his feet.
Attending the party will be Family Equality Council head Jennifer Chrisler, who says she hopes the party will be “an opportunity for us as a community to highlight again to this president and this administration that real lives are impacted by his decisions.’’ Chrisler, who says she is not satisfied by limited benefits offered to federal employees, nevertheless attended Obama's memorandum signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Over at Americablog, John Aravosis blasts Chrisler for agreeing to attend to the party, calling her a "sell-out" and saying, "I'm sure Chisler, as she sips her champagne and eats her fancy French hors d'oeuvres to commemorate the gays and lesbians who rioted for her civil rights 40 years ago, will do her best to hold the president's feet to the fire. Please."

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