No-one has commented on more lucidly, nor collected articles about, The Dallas Principles than Lawrence at First Light. I am posting his comments and articles he cited here, minus any identifying details, since First Light is a membership based list serve. Feel free to go to the link and sign up if you are allied to the cause of LGBT equality.
The meeting in Dallas which produced “The Dallas Principles” is another in a recent series of efforts by grassroots and out-of-the-mainstream activists to stimulate greater popular initiative and control over lobbying to achieve greater TLGB equality. In many ways, it seems to me that it’s at least partly a reaction against the failure of ‘official’ activist groups to defeat Prop. 8 in California last year, and partly an expanding anger and unhappiness over the go-slow approach of national groups like The Human Rights Campaign, which seem to be unwilling to make hard demands of persons in power.
The strength of the Dallas 24, who met to hammer out some foundational goals of the TLGB community in 2009, seems to me to be that they are not tied to top-heavy bureaucracies with huge budgets that support highly-paid staff with power, status and positions to protect. Perhaps their weakness is pretty much the same: they have no official standing, no ongoing structure, little serious connections to the people in power, and are just as much self-selected as the organizations which they believe are failing to achieve community goals quickly enough.
Despite a flurry of media releases, they’ve gotten precious little mainstream news coverage. What they have going for them are basically internet blogging audiences (how large? unknown), some potential funding resources (how much? unknown) and initial enthusiasm and desire to make an impact (how lasting? unknown). The Dallas Principles are scarcely arguable, but their influence is very much up in the air. But if you’re weary of the questionable pace and product of the ‘big boys’ of community lobbying, you have nothing to lose by checking out the Dallas bunch.
Clipping: Washington Post, May 21, 2009
IN ‘DALLAS PRINCIPLES,’ GAY GROUP
CALLS OBAMA TO GREATER ACTION
By Jose Antonio Vargas
Barack Obama leveraged the Internet to capture the White House — and now outside groups are doing to same to pressure his presidency. A gay rights movement that began in the streets has increasingly moved online. And last weekend, a diverse group of gay activists, bloggers, Democratic Party organizers and fundraisers from across the country came together in Dallas to discuss how to more aggressively advance their agenda.
They believe the Obama White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress are not moving fast enough to address gay rights issues, such as setting a timetable to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and passing a federal hate crimes bill that covers sexual orientation and gender identity. After the outpouring of spontaneous grassroots support for same-sex marriage in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 in California, “the timing is right,” blogger and activist Lane Hudson said, “to push for full civil rights for LGBT people.”
Yesterday, the 24-member group launched a manifesto taking its name from the city where they had gathered: The Dallas Principles (see PDF document at http://tinyurl.com/p6cwru). It’s partly a list of goals, partly a call-to-arms, and altogether an ambitious document that boldly lays out the principles for the LGBT community as the group sees it.
“President Obama and Congress pledged to lead America in a new direction that included civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans,” the document’s preamble reads. “We now sit at a great moment in our history that inspires the nation to return to its highest ideals and greatest promise. We face a historic opportunity to obtain our full civil rights; this is the moment for change. No delay. No excuses.”
The group created a site, http://www.TheDallasPrinciples.org, where visitors can sign on and endorse the principles. (The endorsers will be asked to participate in targeted activities such as calling their elected representatives to help pass a piece of legislation.) It also launched a Facebook fan page and Twitter account. Soon, people can also post their own video on the group’s YouTube account, explaining why they support The Dallas Principles. As of 12 p.m. Thursday, the group’s Facebook account had 920 fans.
To members of the group, all of whom have used social networks and e-mail list-servs to communicate and organize, the Internet is the best medium to reach and empower potential supporters. “Our organizations and individuals need to develop a collaborative and revolutionary new organizing model that mobilizes millions of supporters through emerging web and phone technologies,” they write in the document’s seven-point “call to action” section.
Change can’t come fast enough for Pam Spaulding, who runs Pam’s House Blend — one of the most prominent blogs in the gay political blogosphere. She lives in North Carolina, and she’s one of the 24 activists who flew to Dallas to work on the document. “Here in my home state of North Carolina, we enthusiastically voted for change in 2008, turning out in unprecedented numbers, flipping North Carolina to Blue in the presidential election; we also elected a woman as our governor for the first time,” Spaulding wrote on her blog yesterday.
“Despite these landmark changes for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians, our newly Blue state does not see us as equal citizens under the law. We have not passed state hate crimes legislation; we can be fired from our jobs because of our sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. My marriage to my wife Kate — we wed in Canada in 2004 — is not recognized in this state. We are strangers under the law.”
Spaulding created a widget that other bloggers can embed on their sites. The widget tracks just how much equality, in her mind, has been achieved at the federal level for the LGBT community since Obama took office. At the moment, it lists 0 percent after Obama has been in the White House for 120 days.
[This is one in a series of online columns on our growing “clickocracy,” in which we are one nation under Google, with e-mail and video for all. Please send suggestions, comments and tips to email@example.com.]
Copyright 2009 The Washington Post Company
Clipping: Huffington Post, May 20, 2009
THE DALLAS PRINCIPLES, A NEW
APPROACH TO LGBT EQUALITY
Commentary by Lane Hudson
As anyone who has been following my blogging here will know, I’ve been pushing very hard to hold folks accountable for a stunningly absent effort to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in our code of laws. It’s become even more important to me as we elected a visionary man to the Presidency and a wide Democratic Majority in both houses of Congress.
Lately, there has been increasing public discourse on issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Marriage Equality, and the Defense of Marriage Act, among others. For the first time, mainstream media such as Jake Tapper and Bill Press are asking tough questions in the White House briefing room. Things are definitely changing. Except they’re not really changing.
On private list serves, I’ve been just as aggressive, though more frequently, about my frustration at a lack of honoring campaign promises and a seeming willingness on the part of our organizations to take only that which the power establishment is willing to give. Also, although the media has been giving more attention to issues of inequality, they still give voice and airtime to anti-gay bigots.
So, when a fellow list serve member asked if I had an interest in coming together with some like-minded folks to brainstorm on how to achieve equality faster, I didn’t hesitate. Phone calls were exchanged, emails were sent, and ultimately, twenty-four people met at an airport hotel in Dallas, TX. The end result is something we’ve come to call ‘The Dallas Principles’.
It’s about raising the bar for all stakeholders: LGBT people, allies, organizations, politicians, the media, any anyone else with an interest. Please take a moment to peruse the information below or to visit http://www.TheDallasPrinciples.org. We’d like to have as many Americans from as many different backgrounds as possible to sign on to these principles so we can help change the debate. All we’re seeking is the same rights and responsibilities that non-LGBT people have. Nothing more, nothing less.
PLEASE JOIN IN ENDORSING THESE PRINCIPLES AS A GUIDE TOWARDS ACHIEVING FULL CIVIL RIGHTS FOR LGBT AMERICANS.
THE DALLAS PRINCIPLES
PREAMBLE: President Obama and Congress pledged to lead America in a new direction that included civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. We now sit at a great moment in our history that inspires the nation to return to its highest ideals and greatest promise. We face a historic opportunity to obtain our full civil rights; this is the moment for change. No delay. No excuses.
Nearly forty years ago, a diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people stood up to injustice at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. In doing so, they submitted themselves to bodily harm and criminal prosecution. Their demand was simple — equal protection under the law.
Still today, full civil rights has eluded the same community that rioted forty years ago. Instead, untold sums of resources have been spent to divide our nation and turn our lives into a political football.
At several junctures in American history, the stars have aligned to deliver the promise of equal protection under the law to those previously denied. At this unique time in history, our nation must once again exercise the great tradition of making its people equal. Justice has too long been delayed. A clear path toward full civil equality for the LGBT community is overdue and must come now.
Using fear and misunderstanding to justify discrimination is no longer acceptable in this nation. Those content with the way things are will be judged harshly by history. Those who do not actively advance these ideals or offer excuses will be judged just as harshly. Those who attempt to divide our community or to delay and deny action on civil equality, waiting for the right moment to arrive, will be held accountable.
We reject the idea that honoring the founding principles of our country is controversial. We believe in the inherent human dignity of all people. No longer will we submit our children, our family, our friends and ourselves as a political tool for any Party or ideology. A new day has arrived.
PRINCIPLES: The following eight guiding principles underlie our call to action. In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:
1. Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.
2. We will not leave any part of our community behind.
3. Separate is never equal.
4. Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.
5. The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.
6. Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.
7. Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.
8. Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.
FULL CIVIL RIGHTS GOALS: Being united by common principles and engaging in united action, we will achieve the following goals:
1. DIGNITY AND EQUALITY. Every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person has inherent dignity and worth, and has the right to live free of discrimination and harassment.
2. FAMILY. Every LGBT person has the right to a family without legal barriers to immigration, civil marriage or raising children.
3. ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY. Every LGBT person has the right to economic opportunity free from discrimination in employment, public housing, accommodation, public facilities, credit, and federally funded programs and activities.
4. EDUCATION. Every LGBT child and youth has the right to an education that is affirming, inclusive and free from bullying.
5. NATIONAL SECURITY. Every LGBT person should have the opportunity to serve our country openly and equally in our military and foreign service.
6. CRIME. Every LGBT person should enjoy life protected against bias crimes.
7. HEALTH CARE. Every person should have access to affordable, high quality, and culturally competent health care without discrimination.
CALL TO ACTION:
1. We demand that government officials act now to achieve full civil rights without delay.
2. Our organizations and individuals need to develop a collaborative and revolutionary new organizing model that mobilizes millions of supporters through emerging web and phone technologies.
3. All LGBT individuals must accept personal responsibility to do everything within their power for equality and should get involved in the movement by volunteering, giving and being out.
4. We will hold elected officials and our organizations accountable for being transparent and achieving full civil rights by active participation when possible and active opposition when necessary.
5. Our allies need to be proactive in public support for full civil rights.
6. Every government measure that quantifies the US citizenry must permit LGBT individuals to self-identify and be counted in every way citizens are counted.
7. We demand that the media present LGBT lives in fair, accurate and objective ways that neither include nor give credence to unsubstantiated, discriminatory claims and opinions.
[According to his bio at Huffington Post: “Lane Hudson started blogging in July of 2006. By the end of September, he posted the emails from Mark Foley to a 16 year old page. Thus began the scandal known as Foley-gate. Prior to that, Lane worked as a staffer to Former U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings and former South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges. … Lane has worked at the Human Rights Campaign, but was fired when it was revealed that he was behind the anonymous blog, ‘Stop Sex Predators’ which first posted Mark Foley’s emails to House pages.
“For his role in bringing to light the inappropriate behavior of Mark Foley and the subsequent fall out which affected the 2006 midterm election, Lane was profiled as a Time Magazine Person of the Year as an example of the new power of average citizens in the Information Age. The Advocate Magazine also recognized Lane as a Person of the Year. Out Magazine has also recognized Lane in their 2007 “Out 100”, a list of the 100 most influential gay Americans.
“Lane has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and ABC. He has also been a guest on CNN Radio, KFI Radio in Los Angeles, National Public Radio, Fox News Radio, the Ed Schultz Show, and More Fair Game with Faith Salie. In addition, Lane’s work and commentary has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Economist, the L.A. Times, and USA Today. Lane now maintains a new blog, ‘News For the Left’, which you can find at http://www.newsfortheleft.com.”%5D
Copyright © 2009 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
Media Release – May 26, 2009
MERRILL LAUDS THE DALLAS PRINCIPLES
Philanthropist offers endorsement of plan for LGBT rights
PALM SPRINGS, CA (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — Over this past weekend, twenty-four influential donors, activists, and thinkers came together to discuss achieving full equality faster for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The result of the meeting was the production of a document known as “The Dallas Principles.”
The document is meant to raise the bar on expectations for the gay rights movement for all stakeholders, including LGBT Americans, allies, elected officials, advocacy organizations and the media. “The Dallas Principles” articulate a vision statement, principles, a common set of goals and a call to action designed to inspire and mobilize the LGBT community, allies, and political leaders to act individually and collectively to achieve full civil rights now.
Philanthropist Charles Merrill commended the work of those in Dallas: “For too long, the gay rights movement has gone without a clear, concise, and comprehensive vision. The Dallas Principles provide exactly that and will serve to inspire and mobilize a new grassroots movement to achieve full civil rights for LGBT people.”
Participants in the Dallas meeting believe that the nation has embraced unprecedented change, including full civil equality for LGBT Americans. All Americans who share in this vision are asked to endorse the principles on the website, http://www.thedallasprinciples.org/.
CONTACT: Lane Hudson, 202-834-0275, firstname.lastname@example.org