You are browsing the archive for Joe Solmonese.

Does Barack Obama Support Anti-Gay Reparative Therapy?

1:56 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has asked the Republican contenders for the presidential nomination (people over whom they can be presumed to have very little, if any, influence) to denounce and disavow anti-gay reparative “pray-away-the-gay” therapy as practiced by “Dr” Marcus Bachmann at Bachmann Associates, the mental health practice he co-owns with his wife, presidential candidate and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Today, HRC is calling on the GOP candidates for President to disavow the dangerous “ex-gay” or “reparative therapies” endorsed by Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus, a practicing, but unlicensed Minnesota psychologist whose clinic has been known to practice these therapies.

The very next day, Fred Karger, the gay contender for the GOP nomination and founder of Californians Against Hate who successfully sued the Mormon Church for its misleading campaign filings during Proposition 8, said this:

“She’s a liar and now that she’s been busted, she’s trying to divert attention away from her lies,” Fred Karger told the Michigan Messenger. “She is just another hypocrite and bigot.”

So, yay, HRC! Winning!

At today’s White House press briefing, the Washington Blade asked press secretary Jay Carney what President Obama’s opinion is of reparative therapy.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined comment Monday on questions on President Obama’s position on widely discredited “ex-gay” reparative therapy aimed at changing gay individuals into being straight.

Under questioning from the Washington Blade, Carney said he hasn’t had any conversations with the president on reparative therapy — or whether Medicaid funding should support the practice — and deferred inquiries to the Department of Health & Human Services.

HRC has endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2012. Therefore, HRC can be presumed to have some influence over his thinking and views on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Shouldn’t the HRC pursue the president and his team for an answer on this question? Having endorsed the president for re-election, does HRC really expect to get an answer from any of the (other, non-gay) GOP candidates?

I mean, it’s fun to put the GOP candidates on the spot for how one of their own earns her living, but don’t LGBT supporters of the President deserve to know his views, too?

HRC, ask your endorsed candidate: does he support anti-gay reparative therapy? Or does he not support it?

DOMA Repeal Hearing Scheduled: The Real Story, from Ron Wallen

1:52 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Much is being made about the prominent voices who will testify at Senator Leahy’s DOMA hearing next Wednesday, but I wanted to highlight the story of one person directly affected by DOMA who will tell his story to Senators next week. Legally married in California, testimony will be heard from:

Ron Wallen, an Indio, Calif. resident, who married Tom Carrollo in 2008
after being together for 55 years. In March, Carrollo lost his battle to
cancer. After Carrollo’s death, Wallen’s income was compromised because DOMA prohibits him from receiving his spouse’s Social Security payment. Wallen would have been able to receive these payments had he been in an
opposite-sex marriage. According to the hearing notice, Wallen is unable to
make payments on his family home and is faced with selling the residence,
after just losing his spouse.

Celebrity testifiers include Evan Wolfson, the head of Freedom to Marry, who has dedicated his life to this work and has certainly earned a place at the table. Also included is Joe Solmonese, who heads an organization that claims a million members, which entitles him to attend White House cocktail parties where he can show off his Dolce & Gabbana suits. Let’s hope he wears a pretty one for the teevee cameras next week!

But it’s Ron Wallen’s story that needs to be heard. Because it’s the real story of the pain, anguish and theft imposed by DOMA. It’s Ron Wallen who is actually affected by DOMA. It’s Ron Wallen who is losing his home. It’s Ron Wallen who is being hurt by the Social Security Administration’s DOMA restrictions. Here is Ron and Tom’s story.

Will the HRC’s Finally Posting Its 990 on Website Hide Vast Salary Increases in DC Mid-Term Noise?

11:40 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Human Rights Campaign, after a one-man effort by San Francisco LGBT activist Michael Petrelis, has finally agreed to post its IRS Form 990 on its website, "by the end of this week."

HRC email to Petrelis:

Thank you for your email. We are in the process of preparing copies of the 990’s for posting on our website. Our plan is to post them by the end of the week and will inform you just as soon as they are on line.

Of course, Joe Solmonese said the Obama Administration had a plan for repealing DADT, so we’ll see how this new plan at the Big Gay Marble Temple works out.

The form was due to the IRS in mid-August, so the HRC’s secrecy and delay makes it look like they’ve something to hide. Could it be huge salary increases while accomplishing nothing but kicking the gay-rights can down the road and providing cover to the Democratic White House and Congress for their bumbling of LGBT issues?


Sure, this is excellent news but I won’t allow it to overshadow HRC’s hard reluctance to voluntarily keep themselves transparent. As I wrote earlier this week, the HRC and HRCF 990s for this year became available back in mid August, and the org didn’t bother to tell us, nor did they share the filings on their web site. Indeed, HRC presently doesn’t share any IRS 990 filings on the site.

Michael Petrelis and the HRC have been going around on this all week, but it will be fun to see the forms, if HRC ever gets around to getting them online. Nothing prevented HRC from posting the forms immediately upon filing them in August with the federal government, so we need to crowd-source these forms at their website over the weekend.

There might be some very revealing salary increases, expense reporting, and donor data. I wonder, for one thing, how open the Veal Pen spigot has been for Joe Solmonese given his and HRC’s constant support of the Obama White House as they sell out our community.

HRC Spanks Ken Buck for “Choice” Remark After Utter Silence on Valerie Jarrett

6:36 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The Human Rights Campaign, reliable lapdogs for the Obama White House and their lack of progress on LGBT issues, bothered to chastise GOP Senate candidate in Colorado Ken Buck — on Sunday! — for his remarks on NBC’s Meet the Press that being gay was a "choice."

Michael Petrelis:

That Daily Caller column today points out that this gay choice question is an "October Surprise," and reports something new to me:

Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck looked surprised and uncomfortable when asked Sunday whether homosexuality is a choice or not. But nonetheless, he said he thought it was.

“I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice,” Buck said when asked by David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” [...]

Sure, this is several degrees stronger than the incredibly poor, um, choice of words by Jarrett on Wednesday, a normal business day, but for me, the basic issue is the same: a top Democrat or GOP operative or pol is expressing the lie that sexual orientation is a decision one makes, like whether to wear a blue or green shirt one day.

Of course, this follows HRC’s equally stern criticism of Valerie Jarrett for a similar comment to WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart for a similar remark in the middle of last week. Oh, wait — HRC was silent on Jarrett’s remark and silent on Capehart’s silence in the interview.


On Wednesday when Jarrett’s comments roiled the gay community and progressive bloggers, thousands of words were spilled from all sides about her remarks, but America’s largest gay Democratic advocacy org, the HRC, had not a peep to say about it all. Of course, no sane person would expect HRC, after slavishly avoiding even the mildest and meekest bit of criticism against the Obama administration’s screwing of the gay community without a rubber or any lube, to issue a rebuke to Jarrett. She is after all, a Democrat and HRC executives would rather walk barefoot on glass than slam a Democrat.

HRC calls Ken Buck a ‘dangerous extremist’ — and someone came in to work this Sunday to put together the organization’s long-winded and righteous condemnation of Buck:

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Colorado Republican Senate candidate and Tea Party darling, Ken Buck called homosexuality a choice and compared it to alcoholism – a theory debunked by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Buck’s extremist views and prior lapses of judgment show he is not worthy of representing the citizens of Colorado in U.S. Senate. The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization – in partnership with One Colorado, call on Mr. Buck to correct his dangerous statements immediately.

“Mr. Buck’s ill-informed views are not only factually inaccurate, but they are extremely dangerous,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In the past six weeks a number of teenagers have taken their own lives after being the victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment. When public figures like Mr. Buck make statements like he did today, kids struggling with their identities question their self-worth and other kids justify bullying. Ken Buck must correct his remarks now.”

Joe goes on. As he should. But search HRC’s website all you like, you won’t find anything about Valerie Jarrett’s ‘lifestyle choice‘ comment on Wednesday. And you won’t find anything about Jonathan Capehart’s next-day apologia for her.

Why is that, do you suppose? Why is the same thing offensive when Ken Buck says it about gay people in general, but not offensive when Valerie Jarrett says it (and Jonathan Capehart doesn’t challenge it) about a dead gay teen? And note the timing: nothing from HRC on Jarrett, same-day response on Buck.

Does the HRC think it’s okay for the White House to talk like that?

Or was that one of their marvelous behind-the-scenes interventions that we’ll never know about? Was the HRC responsible for Valerie Jarrett’s apology dictated to Jonathan Capehart?

Because we know the White House doesn’t care what bloggers and the professional left and the base thinks. But they like their black-tie gala appearances.


Dan Savage Replies to the White House: “You Can Make It Better!

1:06 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Dan Savage has a reply to Valerie Jarrett’s uncredited theft of his project’s tagline "It Gets Better" for the title of her Saturday night (short straw at the WH Friday staff meeting, too bad, eh, Val?) speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s big DC black-tie gala.

Wisely, Dan ignores the actual intellectual property heist and focuses on the content. Pithily.

It’s short and sweet, I’m going to share all of it; please give Dan a click, though.

Confidential to the White House
Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Fuck you.

Seriously. You can do a lot more than offer hope. You can make it better. Right now. Suspend enforcement of DADT. Don’t appeal the decision by a federal judge that declared DADT unconstitutional. Stop defending DOMA in court.

You can do more. And you’re not. Fuck you.

This White House is part of the problem.

They are making it worse. Until they recognize that, apologize and change course, no one should be honoring any White House staffers at black-tie galas. That’s called being a quisling accomodationist, Joe.

Ben Nelson YES on DADT “Repeal” — Does Senate Have Votes to Pass It?

10:12 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Senator Ben Nelson (D?-NE) announced his support for the Levin/Lieberman sham repeal of DADT today, likely assuring passage.

Nebraska senator and Senate Armed Services Committee member Ben Nelson announced Wednesday that he will support a measure to repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell."

Nelson’s vote is likely be the 15th and final vote needed to attach the measure in committee to the National Defense Authorization Act. That vote could take place as early as Wednesday afternoon but is expected to be completed by Thursday evening.

Human Right Commission Veal Pen occupant Joe Solmonese was swift to praise Senator Nelson, who two weeks ago was an unrepentant NO vote on repeal:

"We thank Senator Nelson for his support and are extremely grateful," said HRC president Joe Solmonese. "He and other senators supporting repeal will be on the right side of history. While Senator Nelson’s vote is critical, no vote will be taken for granted in these final hours before the Senate committee vote."

Doesn’t anyone else see that having these former NO votes join up so quickly means that they have some sense that nothing will happen without the permission of the military?

Meantime Lt Dan Choi continues to ask: "When will discharges stop, Mr President?" There’s no repeal as long as servicemembers are being discharged.

UPDATE From OpenLeft, here is Ben Nelson’s full statement.


May 26, 2010 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson released this statement concerning legislation pending before the Senate Armed Services Committee to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," law Congress approved in 1993.

"I don’t believe that most Nebraskans want to continue a policy that not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie. The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy does just that. It also encourages suspicion and senior officers to look the other way. In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit.

"The process being used to repeal this policy is fraught with typical Washington politics, with some suggesting Congress waits until after the November elections and others pushing for a vote before the elections.

"I will support the Lieberman compromise because it removes politics from the process. It bases implementation of the repeal on the Pentagon’s review and a determination by our military leaders that repeal is consistent with military readiness and effectiveness, and that the Pentagon has prepared the necessary regulations to make the changes.

"I spoke to Secretary Gates and he advised that while he preferred waiting until the study is completed, he can live with this compromise.

"The Lieberman compromise shows that Congress values the Pentagon’s review that will include the advice and viewpoints from our men in women in uniform, from outside experts and from the American people about how to implement the repeal. It rests ultimate authority to make this change with our military leaders. I believe this is the right thing to do."