Friday, September 19, 2014

Human Rights Campaign to open permanently-staffed office in Nebraska

Via KETV: HRC opens a permanently-staffed Nebraska office
(H/T: @OmahaNightHawk)
Some gay activists regard the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the biggest, richest gay advocacy organization in the U.S., as carpet­baggers who often lag Lambda Legal, the ACLU and various marriage equality organizations in fighting for LGBT equal rights.
     HRC often is likened to a huge donation vacuum which swoops in like hungry buzzards (mixed metaphor!) after other groups have done the heavy lifting. In fact, just today HuffPost Gay Voices published this paint-peeling blast at HRC from a Tennessee man:
     ...We reached out to your organization for support for the work we were doing, but no one so much as returned a phone call until we had national media for an event.
     Welcome to the South, but this is not a new frontier. Take some time to get to know the local communities who have been building bridges, winning and losing campaigns, and making a difference for generations. Enter these communities with humility and a beginner's mind. And please, please don't erase the rich history and culture of the queer South just because you finally started paying attention.
     For AKSARBENT's part, we're all for any additional, effective and local pushback to the execrable Nebraska Family Alliance, the homophobic machinations of the Catholic and Evangelical churches, and the cynical anti-LGBT exploitation of GOP politicians who love to play political football with the lives of gay Nebraskans.
   AKSARBENT readers may recall HRC's support (see AKSARBENT video below) last Fall at Brad Ashford's hearing on the impact of SCOTUS' DOMA ruling. The group also paid for an important survey on discrimination against LGBT Nebraskans, and the group's Corporate Equality Index revealed that the biggest corporation HQ'd in Nebraska, Berkshire Hathaway, has an abysmal record on LGBT equality.
     Welcome to the Cornhusker State, HRC and have at it. We look forward to your continued and increased support.


  1. This post could have been better. It leaves out the most important fact about HRC: It is changing as an organization under new management. The criticism which you rehash here was fairly valid as to HRC under its former Executive Director and his various predecessors, who were ineffective and wasteful. But they are gone. More importantly, a key individual, who had been with the group for decades and wielded significant influence, left at the same time as the ED. In came a creative, smart, and competent guy, Chad Griffin. This is not someone who is interested in cocktail parties or resume building. So HRC now deploys its resources in unglamorous but vital projects. It has created a major fund to support gay people in Africa and Russia. It has acted to help in the Deep South and in states like Nebraska. When an organization changes for the better, the proper response is strong praise, not rehashing stale criticism.

    Also, HRC does not "lag" the ACLU and Lambda Legal. It operates in a different sphere. Those 2 groups conduct litigation. Their focus is limited to the legal arena. This is not a focus for HRC. However, HRC can and does help fund important litigation. A current example: HRC is funding litigation in Florida to obtain public records relating to the sham Regnerus study. The University of Central Florida has been fighting tooth and nail to prevent disclosure of these records and pursuing the case has been expensive. Without HRC, the plaintiff would have been forced to throw in the towel, leaving the truth about the Regnerus study hidden from public view. This is another good project that the new HRC management has been pursuing without glory or attention-seeking.

    If you want to write about a scandalously incompetent and useless national group, why don't you do a post about the so-called "Task Force" which hasn't accomplished any identifiable goal in years even as it rakes in big money and doles out lavish pay? I doubt you'll be seeing any commitment from the "Task Force" to Nebraska or Alabama or anywhere else.

    1. Some of us are still waiting for HRC to dump #DeadENDA and to actually work with the LGBTequalityNetwork for legislation that is full and comprehensive LGBT Equality legislation. Why does HRC endorse a GOP incumbent in Maine who voted against equal pay for women, when here opponent promises to introduce full and comprehensive LGBT Equality legislation if elected.

    2. You wrote:

      HRC does not "lag" the ACLU and Lambda Legal. It operates in a different sphere. Those 2 groups conduct litigation. Their focus is limited to the legal arena. This is not a focus for HRC. However, HRC can and does help fund important litigation.


      Seriously? Your defense of HRC's shortcomings could have been better.
      By having "limited" their efforts to the "legal arena", groups spearheading the fight for gay marriage have brought that right to about 43% of gay Americans, according to WaPo.

      This is "not a focus" for HRC? Why not?

      Busting the University of Central Florida for its Regnerus chicanery is important (and good for HRC for its efforts — we're all glad HRC stepped up to the plate and you're quite right that such efforts are unglamorous and costly) but in no way is it the main event.

      HRC has spent tons of money excoriating NOM on the Internet, but it was Fred Karger who ACTUALLY FILED campaign expenditure disclosure complaints against NOM — the latest in Iowa, during Chad Griffin's tenure — and who is costing NOM more real money — and grief — than HRC ever has. Again, why ISN'T litigation a focus for HRC? It certainly has more money than Fred.

      As for your opinions about Chad Griffin, we wouldn't disagree that he is a "creative, smart and competent guy." We love anyone sassy enough to say to the President during a fundraiser: “How can we help you evolve more quickly?" This is a question worthy of Karl Rove, Don Corleone or Harry Reid.

      But Griffin is also an aggressive — perhaps too aggressive — shaper of his public image and personifies individually everything which makes people wary of HRC. Here's how, in case you've forgotten, the gay community reacted to his lionization in "Forcing The Spring":

      “That vapid gay men are attempting to re-write history by centering themselves is not news. That they conscripted a New York Times reporter to do the heavy lifting for them certainly is.”
      —Andrew Lane, quoted in Washington Blade

      "HRC’s head, Chad Griffin, was integrally involved in the promotion of a book that describes him as the gay Rosa Parks on the first page."
      —Andrew Sullivan, The Dish

      "The book has been universally condemned by people all across the ideological spectrum in the gay community. You know, when you’ve got Andrew Sullivan, Nathaniel Frank, Chris Geidner, Michelangelo Signorile, John Aravosis, me, all these people in unanimous agreement that this book is a travesty… Andrew said recently on his blog that he’s seen episodes of (anti-gay preacher) Pat Robinson’s The 700 Club that were received better in the gay community than this book."
      —Dan Savage, Huffington Post

    3. Great job, ENZO.