In a video posted at The Daily Beast, reporter Jason Bellini claims that Sen. Chuck Schumer “let it slip” that the Human Rights Campaign told “Senators and members of the U.S. House” to put aside the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and instead focus on ENDA and the hate crimes act.
UPDATE: Michael Cole, Senior Communications Manager of the HRC, wrote me with this statement: “This story is not only an outright lie, it is recklessly irresponsible. HRC never made such a deal and continues to work with congress and the administration on a full range of equality issues including a swift end to the military’s shameful ban on gay servicemembers.”
UPDATE II: Jason Bellini wrote to direct us to this post from Michelangelo Signorile.
While Bellini had unnamed sources, I, however, have a named source saying exactly what Bellini reports, someone I interviewed several weeks ago on the show: Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center, the research institute that focuses on the military and sexuality, located at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Belkin writes often for The Huffington Post and interacts with members of Congress. (I have including a few-minute clip from that interview here as well). I didn’t see or know about the Bellini piece when I interviewed Joe (it either had just posted or wasn’t up yet), but I did ask him about what Belkin claimed. Belkin was relatively certain in what he told me:
AB: “…Our major national gay rights organizations — it would be one thing to say nothing, but there is pro-active lobbying on the hill for Congress not to consider [the “don’t ask, don’t tell”] issue. And so the community has been appalling on this issue.
MS: Have you seen any response from any of those groups, and I guess we’re talking about the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, other Washington groups?
AB:…We’ve heard from so many offices that not only are they not doing anything but they’re pro-actively lobbying against consideration of the issue. I feel very confident in saying that.
Read Signorile’s entire piece on this flap, it’s very enlightening.