White House Meeting Heats Up



WHITE HOUSE X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COMBloggers took special note of a line that said Bond “expressed frustration at the often intense criticism levied, particularly by bloggers, against an administration that is ‘99-
percent supportive of your issues.’”

Despite bloggers' frustrations, both Broaddus and Kenny said the meeting was generally genial and that meeting participants were hungry for information and impressed with the efforts Bond made to call in experts from varying disciplines.

“It was like policy geek heaven for us,” Broaddus said.

She observed that some of the more technical changes being made at the agency level had been lost on LGBT people across the nation, like reinterpreting the Family and Medical Leave Act so that people in same-sex relationships would be able to take time off to care for their nonbiological children.

Kenny said Jeremy Bishop from the Department of Labor discussed funding opportunities that Kenny didn’t know were newly available to HIV/AIDS organizations.

“He talked about all the requests for proposals that the office sends out and that the LGBT community isn’t even on the list for,” Kenny explained. “So they’re proactively trying to assemble appropriate LGBT organizations in order to invite them into the process.”

Kenny said he immediately forwarded the information about grants worth about $500,000 to $1.5 million to two Florida HIV/AIDS groups.

“That’s a lot of money for an HIV/AIDS organization that’s struggling to get by,” he said.

One of the most contentious issues discussed was President Barack Obama’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

“It was the only time where I felt the temperature go up in the room,” Kenny said. “Part of it is that these are the people who have been leading the fight at the state level [against the marriage amendments] so they have passions that are perhaps not reflected by all LGBT people.”

Broaddus agreed.

“I don’t think [his position] is satisfying to any of us who support full equality for LGBT people,” she said. “You can’t support equality for LGBT people but not marriage for LGBT people.”