DNC's LGBT Lead Talks About DADT Repeal Efforts

Posted by Chris Geidner
December 2, 2010 7:15 PM |

Earlier this week, some questions were raised about a petition request sent out by Organizing for America -- the former Obama for America entity -- regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. In large part, the questions related to the fact that: (1) beyond "signing" the petition, there was no action step to help repeal, and (2) the petition request eventually landed repeal supporters at a donation request page.

In part, the email read:

Last time, we were just two votes shy of passing repeal in the Senate. And now the lawmakers who have been dragging their feet have no excuses left.

Neither do we. On this issue, our voices may not get more powerful than they are today -- after the military has weighed in, when the media is paying close attention, just before the Senate starts its debate.

Let's ensure the Senate passes repeal -- and sends it to President Obama's desk -- before the end of the year.

Please add your name to the President's call to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" now.

On Wednesday, Metro Weekly took a few minutes to talk with Jamie Citron, the director of the LGBT leadership council at the Democratic National Committee, about the email and OFA and DNC efforts to support DADT repeal.

Citron said that OFA email was "the newest round of an email we've been circulating for a while" -- starting over the summer -- and was part of what he called a "multi-pronged effort ... starting, actually, the week of Thanksgiving to organize our grassroots efforts around repeal."

Already, he said, many of the "people who already have expressed a passion" for supporting repeal received an email about a "letter to the editor" tool that he called "a one-stop shop" to write and send letters to local publications in support of repeal.

Secondly, he said, "OFA is currently in the process of organizing Days of Action [for phone banks] for Monday [Dec. 6] and Wednesday [Dec. 8] of next week." Calling the petition part of a process of "list culling ... to find out who was really passionate on the issue," Citron said that "[t]hose volunteers will be calling our broader base." He also noted that all such list-culling efforts eventually end at a donation page.

At the phone banks, Citron explained, volunteers would be calling OFA-identified supporters in their own state and asking them to call their senators, starting with "other supporters that we have identified" through previous OFA/DNC efforts to identify DADT repeal supporters and then branching out to the "broader base."

Pointing to this Daily Kos post regarding calls being made tonight, Citron said, "There are others taking place across the country. We started organizing before Thanksgiving, in many cases by the state directors [of OFA]."

Third, he said, is the potential for office visits to key senators' offices.

Of the future use of the list of OFA/DNC supporters who are "passionate" about LGBT issues, Citron said, "We’re going to be using that list in different strategic ways; the bigger that list the better we can use that list."

Asked about the numbers of people involved in these OFA efforts, Citron only would say that the list of people who received the "letter to the editor" tool email was "robust." As for Day of Action, Citron followed up via email, writing, "While a firm goal is not set, they expect to organize hundreds of phone banks with individual calls numbering in the tens of thousands."

Those responses likely will not satisfy critics of the DNC's LGBT efforts -- particularly the admission that the DNC/OFA did not ramp up its repeal advocacy until the week of Thanksgiving -- but all efforts, even from the DNC, likely will be seen as helpful pieces of the puzzle to achieving repeal passage in the lame-duck session.


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