Charmaine and the Human Rights Campaign



Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. right,

debating on MSNBC

on the fear of the “gay bashing” label Charmaine debated David Smith from HRC recently. She evidently put those boys in a breathless tizzy.

Following is a message from Joe Solmonese, President of the “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” activitist group,

Dear Friend,

With all that’s going on in Washington, this week, I felt it was important to update all of you on the role that HRC has played in this unfolding story concerning Mark Foley.

Congressmen Mark Foley’s sexually-charged communications with young congressional pages was reprehensible and we have strongly condemned it. We have also been equally quick to condemn some in the GOP for their attempts to blame this scandal on the GLBT community.

At the beginning of the week, I issued the following statement to the press:

“Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor. Congressman Foley brought shame on himself and this Congress by his horrible behavior and complete lack of judgment. We strongly condemn his behavior.”

On Tuesday, we issued a press release condemning the Republican leadership for avoiding responsibility and for trying to blame our community.

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Human Rights Campaign logo On Wednesday, HRC Vice President, David Smith, appeared on MSNBC to combat Charmaine Yoest [Ph.D.] of the Family Research Council. Her group has been saying that the House Republican leaders were afraid to investigate the Foley matter because they were afraid of being labeled “homophobic.” That’s right! – the same members of Congress who have been trying to write our community out of the Constitution were supposedly unwilling to stop Foley because they were worried about their image as gay bashers. This is some of the most convoluted nonsense out there. David did an excellent job of going after FRC’s illogical and inflammatory statements….

Watch the video here. Please let us know what you think.

More at the jump.

Yesterday, I also submitted an editorial to Huffington Post, the popular online website run by Arianna Huffington. We need to get the focus of this debate back on topic. It has nothing to do with Mark Foley’s sexual orientation and everything to do with the fact that the pages were teenagers entrusted to the care of Foley and the entire House of Representatives….

Last night, I continued HRC’s full-on offense against the scapegoating and half-truths permeating this debate, when I appeared on CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.” Donny had an excellent show looking at how the media continues to perpetuate and exacerbate the more outlandish excuses for the scandal. (Foley was molested as a child; he was in the closet; and, so on. All of these issues are beside the point.)

Now the narrative is turning even worse, as reported last night on the CBS Evening News. The Republican leadership and their rightwing allies are testing out a new message that it was gay Republicans who covered this up – a sort of GOP “lavender mafia” which was too intimidating for Speaker Hastert and others to oppose. It really can’t get more offensive and ludicrous than that. The leadership is passing the buck and we will not let them absolve themselves of their responsibility. Speaker Hastert, Congressmen Boehner, Reynolds, Shimkus, and others knew that Foley’s behavior was problematic for a long time and they did nothing about it – absolutely nothing. This tired strategy of blaming GLBT people is not going to work and we will be speaking out at every turn.

I will continue to keep you up-to-date on developments and HRC’s aggressive response to the smearing and vilifying of our community.


Joe Solmonese

President, Human Rights Campaign


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4 Responses

  1. Heh… I have to agree with Solmonese on this one: The republicans, of all parties, wouldn’t be afraid of being seen to be homophobic. If there was any deliberate coverup attempt – due to the biases of any investigation, I dont think we will ever have a definate answer on that one – then it would be motivated by a concern much more obvious: They just wouldn’t want to lose votes to the scandle. Homo or hetero, when a politician is caught engaging in sexually explicit talk with a minor, its going to be very bad news for the party.

    Charmain: You come across as losing this one… not for lack of skill in the debate though. You are just fighting from a losing position.

  2. Mark says:

    Dr. Charmaine Yoest,

    You came across well spoken and your demeanor and message was without a flaw. You win! The only one politicizing the issue was Solmonese. The last thing he wanted to talk about was the absolute unrestrained sexual celebratory message that his group endorces. The real issue, sexual immorality is alive and well, and when good folks like Charmaine speak up against it, BAM! out come the nasty names and the politics to divert the attention.

    God Bless!

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