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White House Meeting Heats Up

BY Kerry Eleveld

August 18 2010 6:00 PM ET

Details of a White House meeting August 6 between administration officials and about 60 LGBT representatives from state equality organizations have emerged this week, setting some members of the blogosphere on fire.

The White House Office of Public Engagement approached the Equality Federation, a national alliance of LGBT equality organizations, about setting up the briefing.

“The whole purpose was to talk to state leaders about the work this administration is doing around LGBT issues besides the issues that are getting the most attention — like the legislation, which we all know isn’t moving as fast as we would like,” said Toni Broaddus, executive director of the Equality Federation.

The briefing was conducted by Brian Bond, deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement (OPE) and the de facto White House LGBT liaison, and Tina Tchen, director of OPE, along with representatives from various agencies such as the Department of Health of Human Services, Department of Labor, and Department of Defense.

According to one detailed account of the meeting, Tchen “opened the gathering by asserting that the administration fully expects the provisions of the Defense Authorization Bill ending the Pentagon’s ‘don't ask, don't tell’  policy to win congressional approval by year’s end.”

Broaddus said the account (printed at the end of this article) was written by Laura Belmonte, an Equality Federation state leader from Oklahoma.

But many blogs, including Americablog, Pam’s House Blend, and Act On Principles, picked up on a version that was circulated by Michael Kenny, executive director of the Florida Together Federation, to his organization’s members and supporters under the title “Historic White House Meeting.”