Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gay rights advocates are “childishly impatient” and “unfairly impetuous” says Frank Kameny

Is this an old school thing? Or, just an old man thing? First, Barney Frank (pictured left) says that the National Equality March 'misses mark' (see below) and now Frank Kameny (pictured right) is saying that gay rights advocates are “childishly impatient” and “unfairly impetuous." I mean no disrespect toward these two men - but - they do seem to be just a tad out of step with what's really going on in today's gay rights movement.

‘Things take time,’ gay activist says of work

New York Times reports:
After Franklin E. Kameny was fired from his job as an astronomer at the Army Map Service in 1957 on suspicion of being gay, he fought the federal government to end its ban on gay employees in the civil service. It was 18 more years before the government reversed that policy. Mr. Kameny began an effort in the early 1960s to repeal the District of Columbia’s sodomy law. It took him “30 years, 1 month, 4 days and 11 hours,” he recalled, before he succeeded.

So when Mr. Kameny, now 84, hears of gay advocates growing frustrated with President Obama, he scoffs. “Childishly impatient” and “unfairly impetuous,” he says. “These things take time,” Mr. Kameny said in an interview from the living room of his handsome two-story red brick home in the leafy Palisades section of Washington. Mr. Obama has a “very, very, very full platter, he said, adding, “I’m more than willing to give him reasonable time to get to our issues.”

But Mr. Kameny’s approach puts him at odds with organizers of the march on the Mall on Sunday, who are calling for immediate federal action on issues including same-sex marriage and the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. “I certainly am not waiting,” said David Mixner, a veteran advocate. Calling Mr. Kameny “one of the greatest pioneers of our community, Mr. Mixner added: “I have not that kind of patience. This is our time.” READ MORE

Barney Frank says D.C. gay rights march misses mark

AP reports:
Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, says he'd rather see gay rights supporters lobbying their elected officials than marching in Washington this weekend, calling the demonstration "a waste of time at best." Frank , in an interview with The Associated Press, said he considers such demonstrations to be "an emotional release" that does little to pressure Congress. "The only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass," the Massachusetts Democrat said Friday.

Thousands of gay men and women are expected to gather for Sunday's National Equality March. This weekend's activities in Washington aren't likely to have much impact with lawmakers, Frank said, since most of them are back in their states or districts for the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

Frank's comments underscore divisions in the gay community over the pace of progress on civil rights. But Frank said the real problem is gathering enough votes in the House and Senate to win passage of anti-discrimination legislation. Gay rights advocates should borrow from the playbooks of the two most effective interest groups, the National Rifle Association and the AARP, said Frank. "Call or write your representative or senator, and then have your friends call and write their representative or senator," Frank said. "That's what the NRA does. That's what the AARP does." READ MORE