Gay bloggers organizing boycott of DNC

LGBT activists have been upset with President Obama for moving slowly on their issues

Published November 9, 2009 6:50PM (EST)

LGBT activists -- not to mention plenty of other people in the community -- have never been particularly impressed with President Obama's efforts on their behalf. Despite his campaign promises, he has not yet moved toward ending "don't ask, don't tell," or put his weight behind repealing the Defense of Marriage Act or passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And that's only the beginning: He'd already put activists on the alert when he had an anti-gay singer join him on the campaign trail.

The tensions between the LGBT community and the administration have been constantly bubbling under the surface, and at times there have been open battles. Though the White House made some moves to at least quiet the most public of those fights, they've still been unable to bring the gay activists who'd normally be a solid base of support back into the fold.

Now, the fighting's back out in the open, as two prominent gay bloggers -- John Aravosis, who's previously written for Salon, and Joe Sudbay of Americablog -- have announced that they're organizing what they're calling a temporary donor boycott of the Democratic National Committee. Joined by another high-profile figure in the movement, Michelangelo Signorile, they're asking people not to donate "until the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is passed, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is repealed, and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed."

It will be interesting to see how the White House responds, if at all. And it will also be interesting -- and instructive -- to see how members of the LGBT community, and voters of all kinds, respond. The gay organizations haven't been at the forefront of the opposition to Obama; instead, it's been people like Aravosis and Signorile leading the charge. Success now might help them further supplant the traditional power structure in the community.

Update: Aravosis e-mailed me to say that DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsashas added his site as a co-sponsor of the boycott. If Moulitsas gets really active in backing the effort on DailyKos -- he hasn't yet responded to a voicemail left seeking comment -- that alone should make the DNC sit up and take notice.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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