Gay Rights Weekend: What Did it Mean?

Conflicting reactions to Obama's renewed promise on "don't ask don't tell" and the march on Washington

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On Saturday, President Obama addressed members of the gay community at a Human Rights Campaign dinner, renewing his campaign promise to end the "don't ask don't tell" policy of gays in the military. Sunday, gay rights supporters marched in DC, tired of the administration's inaction on such promises. It was a confusing weekend, with an enthusiastic response at the Saturday dinner but reports of the White House dismissing the Sunday demonstrators as "fringe activity." One thing seems clear: Gay rights supporters are starting to get impatient. They disagree, however, on just how much anger should be directed towards the Obama administration, specifically.

So what's the takeaway from the weekend's events? Here are some notable reactions from around the web:
  • Obama Promising, Not Delivering--Hold Him Accountable  Meghan McCain, responding to Obama's Saturday night address to a gay rights audience, has a "message" for the gay community in the pages of the Daily Beast: "Stop rewarding the president's speeches. Because for me, that's all it is--pretty words delivered by a beautiful orator." Saying the gay community "can no longer place all the blame of marriage equality and Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Republicans," she urged gays to "hold [Obama] responsible" for his unkept promises: "[S]how me the bottom line," she told the president.
  • Obama Trying to 'Buy Off' the Gay Community  B. Daniel Blatt at the conservative blog GayPatriot had a similar take. With a CNBC story about the White House dismissing the Sunday march as "fringe," Blatt found the message of the weekend a little distasteful: "The Administration seem to think they can 'buy off' gay people by playing nice with the heads of various gay organizations (and prominent community activists), inviting them to the White House for cocktails, speaking to HRC's dinner." Luckily, writes Blatt, gay bloggers aren't buying, even if their groups' leaders are.
  • I Support Obama--But I'm Not Giving Up  The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan also thinks Obama's Saturday night message was at odds with the urgency of the Sunday march. But he is not giving up on Obama just yet:
The message from HRC last night was: we'll get back to you in 2017, and can we have cocktails at the White House again soon? The message from the march today was: we are human beings, whose dignity and equality waits for no one. I stand with the marchers. And I will never apologize for or regret supporting a candidate who said he'd keep his promises on civil rights. I just intend to be in his face every day until he does.
  • Isn't Congress Responsible Too?  The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, though, points out that all the focus on Obama over the weekend might be a little misplaced. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he says, have "done a good job of letting Obama take all the heat from the gay community." But Congress has to overturn Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act before Obama can sign off. Hopefully, Capehart writes, the Sunday march will be a "reminder" for Pelosi and Reid.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.