Scroll To Top

N.Y. Congressman Pessimistic for 2011

N.Y. Congressman Pessimistic for 2011


As the clock runs down on "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, U.S. representative Jerrold Nadler predicted even tougher times for the gay rights agenda, including the possibility of amendments to ban same-sex marriage, when the new Congress convenes in 2011.

Nadler, who last month won his 10th term as a Democratic representative for New York City, spoke to business and civic leaders Monday morning in an economic-focused address sponsored by the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association. The chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties said that next year he expects to resume the defensive posture of blocking "ever more extreme proposals" familiar from his years in the minority prior to 2006.

"I think we'll be reduced to that again," said the congressman, as he recounted Bush-era battles to preserve reproductive freedom and to stop constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage.

Calling the Republican Party of today "a very radical and very narrowly focused party" and saying that President Barack Obama's talk of bipartisanship smacked of "naivete," he said, "There will be no progress on civil rights or gay rights in this new Congress."

However, Nadler acknowledged that the Libertarian-inspired Tea Party victors have introduced an element of unpredictability into the Republican Party that could temper an antigay agenda, although he cautioned that it remained too soon to draw any conclusions.

"They're very focused on smaller government and less focused on some of the social issues," he said.

In remarks to reporters afterward, Nadler stressed that his comments were purely "speculative" at this early point, but he did expand on the idea of the loosely affiliated Tea Party members as a potential bulwark against antigay measures.

"Maybe there's some potential for progress," he said. "Probably more likely there's potential for allies in blocking things. Maybe."

Despite his pessimism for 2011, Nadler said he remained hopeful for "don't ask, don't tell" repeal before the end of this year, a prospect that he called "more likely than not."

"If we don't, it will be dead in the new Congress," he said of the effort to lift the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

Overall, Nadler predicted an emerging landscape that would make it difficult if not impossible to advance gay rights, where he said his doubts extended to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

"I do not have an optimistic view," he said. "I think the country's in a lot of trouble, and I think things are going to get worse."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories