Local gay philanthropist Bruce Bastian, a prominent Democratic Party donor, will not be atending the June 25 Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Washington, D.C. because of lack of action by the Obama administration on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.
In fact, he no longer plans to donate anything to the Democratic Party as a whole.
“I will continue to support certain congressmen, congresswomen and senators whom I believe will continue to fight for our rights,” he told the Washington Blade, “but I don’t think blanket donations to the Democratic Party right now are justified, at least not in my book.”
Bastian said the recent brief filed by the Department of Justice was the “tipping point” in his decision not to attend the fundraiser. He e-mailed the DNC on June 17 saying he will not be attending the event “because of the remarks on DOMA.” He found the filing “very offensive.”
“The administration has said they have to support the federal government’s stance,” he said. “But in the brief, they go way beyond where they need to go to just defend DOMA. They basically go to terminology and language that you would expect from the Bush administration, not the Obama administration.”
Gay ad lesbian activists across the country have decried a brief written in part by W. Scott Simpson, a holdover from the George W. Bush administration and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The LGBT community raised a lot of money in support for Obama, and, I think he has to have the courage — well, not just him — but, I think the Democratic Party now has to have the courage to fight back, and when they do, they’ll have my support,” Bastian said.
Bastian said he may be compelled to change his mind on the donations and his attendance if there were action on passing hate crimes legislation in the Senate and movement to repeal DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”