Gays Reassess After GOP Gains
BY Kerry Eleveld
November 02 2010 9:40 PM ET
But overall, because the election centered around jobs and economy,
Denis Dison of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund anticipated that many
LGBT Americans would be in for a surprise.
“I think a lot of
people will wake up on Wednesday morning and say, ‘Oh, my God, we’re
going to be in the desert for a little while,’” said Dison, director of communications.
said it was tactically brilliant for the Tea Party movement and
Republicans to steer clear of social-issue discussions such as gay
rights and abortion because many of their candidates trend so far to the
right of the nation as a whole.
“I think there will be a rude
awakening at some point,” Dison said. “I understand that people are so
fed up with unemployment and joblessness, but a lot of candidates will
have been elected that do not reflect mainstream American values when it
come to LGBT equality.”
Progressive groups said they would turn
their attention from legislation to initiatives that can be achieved at
the federal agency level.
“Federal policy changes will be one of
the few ways that we can exact change for LGBT people at federal
level,” said Fred Sainz, director of communications for the Human Rights
Campaign. Sainz said that could include “close to 100 different policy
changes” that are “completely the purview of the president,” most of
which don’t require an executive order.
In health care, for
instance, as the Department of Health and Human Services implements
regulations for the newly passed Affordable Care Act, Sainz said HRC
will push for state health insurance exchanges to make coverage
available to same-sex partners and their children; for the new health
disparity and data collection efforts to include sexual orientation and
gender identity; and for the benefits package offered by insurance plans
to cover gender transition treatments.
Sainz added that he was concerned about having to combat some "insidious" antigay attacks from conservatives.
"The new form of homophobia may not be as blatant at the Federal Marriage Amendment," he said of the 2004 and 2006 efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. "It will be more like McCain saying he's not opposed to 'don't ask, don't tell' but he wants hearings on the Pentagon study."