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In 'Dallas Principles,' Gay Group Calls Obama to 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 (PDF). 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, 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 post a 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 vargasj@washpost.com.

Posted at 3:48 PM ET on May 21, 2009  | Category:  The Clickocracy
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Raidernation1 Maybe you should re-read #7 again. I posted right under my remark!

I'm sick and tired of reading lies and misleading facts about my life. You want to remind us of our First Amednment Rights? Well those rights don't include gossip and lies and misleading statements that's for sure!
And remember Opinions are like (a certain body part)everyone has one, doesn't make them Facts!

"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."


Posted by: DominickJ2 | May 25, 2009 12:58 PM

Congratulations on a great post.

The country faces very significant challenges, with many possible solutions that require great debate. For example, economic recovery has many potential paths. Some have already been legislated others are in the process.

However, to add equality for LGBT people is easy to do. It is a matter of adding those protections to existing laws. No more, no less.

Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are not very long bills. But they are very damaging to the principle of equality, in which our country was founded.

Current legislation like DADT has negative impact on our national security as we continue to fire servicemembers who are capable.

DOMA continues to affect lives of countless of couples who want to get married and make society stronger as they pledge to take care of each other.

Children continue to suffer when their parents' relationships are not recognized. Or when they continue to be bullied in school and the administration does nothing and feel that there is no recourse but committing suicide.

It is time to upheld our moral standard. A standard of non-discrimination and respect for each individual. Because if some people are not equal under the law, we are not an equal and just society.

Posted by: Juan6 | May 24, 2009 1:58 PM

Wow! That "Dallas Principles" document is a piece of work!

Check it out:

"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."


That's right. CENSOR all opinions but their opinions. I guess, like with Global Warming, the “debate is over,” because THEY say so. Totalitarian impulse? Too bad the media is already compliant with that one.

Oh, but we have a First Amendment, right?That has never stopped the Left. A mere speed bump.

Posted by: Raidernation1 | May 22, 2009 6:18 PM

"After the outpouring of spontaneous grassroots support for same-sex marriage in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 in California"

On what do you base this comment? A small group of very wealthy activists, aided by the MSM are the same people who have been in the game since the beginning. Don't you recall that Prop. 8 was polling as going down in flames just weeks before the election? Where was the uprising then?

There is no "grassroots" and neither is any of this "spontaneous." It's all calculated and being run by the elites. "Bolshevik" means "majority" and they weren't. Any "People's Republic," isn't.

There is no surge in support for redefining marriage. EVERY state with a direct citizens' referendum process available has voted to protect marriage, overwhlemingly for the most part. The only poll that counts happens on election day, so y'all can delude yourselves all you want. The truth is, Americans still believe that marriage has a meaning and that marriage is good for society.

Posted by: Raidernation1 | May 22, 2009 6:14 PM

I am so sick of hearing people say we can't extend equal rights because we are too busy with other things. Really? That's an insult to lawmakers, not to mention all the people who are losing their jobs under DADT, who are being kept from caring for their loved ones, and who are paying taxes for benefits they can't access. Given the two wars, health care reform, international relations, financial crisis, pending supreme court nominee, etc., etc., seems like knocking out a couple of civil rights laws wouldn't be the straw that breaks us.

Posted by: CultureBearer | May 22, 2009 3:42 PM

Thanks for this post. I have sent copy to my local newspaper editor so he will be informed.

Posted by: LOrion | May 22, 2009 12:15 PM

There are lots of pressing causes that won't be addressed this year. My favorite is saner patterns of urban development and infrastructure spending, aka smart growth. Am I holding my breath to see something done about it anytime soon? Sadly, no.

I've got nothing against gay civil rights, I'm horrified when gay couples can't visit each other's hospital bedsides, I think DADT is stupid, and all that. I just don't want to see Democrats spend any political capital on it in this year of critical decisions on the economy and health care. Sorry.

Posted by: csdiego | May 22, 2009 12:05 PM

In regards to the first comment: Justice delayed is justice denied. When the military tosses out talented and dedicated gay men and women, the victims of this homophobic policy will live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. We all know that soon DADT will be repealed but WHEN is key. President Obama and the Democratic Party have pledged to repeal DADT. Why wait?

Posted by: earltrowbridge | May 21, 2009 7:37 PM

Gay rights are lovely, but there are many more pressing items on the agenda.

Posted by: csdiego | May 21, 2009 5:14 PM

yeech, how'd you like to follow that vat of disease.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | May 21, 2009 5:10 PM

Sooooo...

It would seem they want Barry to;

Bend Over?! :-o

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 21, 2009 4:39 PM

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