Gay unity cracks
Gay rights groups were supposed to get along during the Democratic National Convention. But on Monday night, Advocate.com found them drawn into disagreements over the party’s platform and comedian Margaret Cho. An exclusive report from the convention in Boston.
By Fred Kuhr
An Advocate.com exclusive
Outside Boston's Avalon nightclub on Monday night—where the largest event for GLBT Democratic convention delegates was being held—a small group of gay protesters formed a picket line and called Democratic nominee John Kerry and running mate John Edwards “anti-gay” for their stance against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
So much for “Unity ‘04,” as the event was called. The gathering was supposed to show how this year’s GLBT Democrats were unified in support of their party and of removing George W. Bush from office.
The protesters, who numbed 18, were also angry over the decision of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign and other sponsors to disinvite comedian and headliner Margaret Cho from the party for fear she would say something inflammatory during her act. In light of the criticism that the Kerry campaign weathered after comedian Whoopi Goldberg's high-profile comments during a New York fundraiser, organizers of "Unity '04" decided that rather than censor Cho's act, it was better for her not to perform. The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force subsequently pulled its support of the event.
Although the protesters outside Avalon referred to the decision regarding Cho as “shameful,” their sharpest criticism was clearly aimed at Kerry, Edwards, and those community organizations, such as HRC, that endorsed the Democratic ticket without demanding more of the candidates. “As long as the community doesn't make demands of candidates, we are going to get squat,” said Andy Thayer, national action coordinator for DontAmend.com, the organization that spearheaded the protest. “It is shameful that our national organizations would endorse anyone who is not for our simple legal equality.”