The Power Brokers

By Bull, Chris | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), June 23, 1998 | Go to article overview

The Power Brokers


Bull, Chris, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


In the ongoing political battles for equal rights, these are the people leading the struggle--when they're not struggling with each other

Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, learned about it from a press release. The Human Rights Campaign, her group's crosstown rival in Washington, D.C., was announcing its plans to sponsor a huge rally in 2000--a gathering that Lobel had made known in no uncertain terms she opposed as a wasteful diversion of scarce local political resources. Feeling angry and betrayed, she called Elizabeth Birch, HRC's executive director. "I felt we had intentionally been left out of the decisionmaking process," Lobel says. "I made it clear that something of this magnitude should not be done without consulting a lot of different people."

Lobel and Birch have since mended fences. And in their ensuing conversations with other gay leaders, each got what she wanted. They agreed to join forces for the Millennium March, which they hope will bring hundreds of thousands to Washington on April 30, 2000, to be preceded by "Equality Begins at Home" marches on every state capital in the spring of 1999. "I believe we have moved from lots of competition and little cooperation to lots of competition and lots of cooperation," Lobel says.

The sometimes heated debate over the Millennium March offers a rare peek inside the nation's gay and lesbian political establishment, a small, close-knit group that possesses tremendous influence over the future of the gay rights movement. The organizations range from the massive HRC, which has 60 staff members and a $13-million annual budget, to the relatively tiny National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, with nine staffers and a $610,000 budget. Two of the groups, NGLTF and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, are each celebrating their 25th anniversary. The newest, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, opened its doors in 1993. The Advocate spoke to the executive directors of several of the groups involved in the march debate to get a better idea of how they work--and don't work--together.

Each group, of course, is vying for its share of all-important fund-raising dollars and scarce press coverage. But more contentious still are the ideological divisions, pitting sometimes dashing visions of the movement's future against one another. The long-simmering debate over the proper relationship between national and local politics has been one source of division, but race and religion have also played roles.

HRC and NGLTF offer perhaps the clearest example of contrasting styles and philosophies. HRC focuses primarily on Capitol Hill, while NGLTF is known for its political organizing on the state and local level. The politics of the groups is reflected in the personalities of their leaders. Elizabeth Birch went to HRC from Apple, the stylish Generation X computer maker. One of her first acts was to commission a redesign of HRC's logo, now a simple blue-and-yellow equal sign. Under Birch the group has experienced phenomenal growth with its budget increasing from $7 million in late 1994 to $13 million today.

The growth already is allowing HRC to pour more than $1 million into fighting an anti-gay- marriage ballot measure in Hawaii. And to address concerns about HRC's less-than-stellar presence at the local level, the organization has added a top-flight field office headed by Donna Red Wing, a veteran political organizer from Oregon. Birch also has raised the group's profile by enlisting celebrity speakers, including Candace Gingrich and Betty DeGeneres. In May Ellen DeGeneres and her partner, actress Anne Heche, signed a letter to raise money to fight the Hawaii initiative. Birch returned the favor by lobbying ABC to retain Ellen.

In November Birch pulled off a coup when President Clinton addressed an HRC dinner that pulled in more than $250,000. At the dinner Birch and her partner, Hilary Rosen, sat at a table with DeGeneres and Heche. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Power Brokers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.