ICANN has refused dotgay LLC’s latest appeal against adverse .gay decisions, and has taken the unusual step of preemptively defending itself against probably inevitable accusations from gay rights groups.
On Monday, the Board Governance Committee threw out dotgay’s Request for Reconsideration, in which the company had asked for a third crack at the Community Priority Evaluation process that could have seen it win .gay without paying at auction.
Today, BGC chair Chris Disspain published a blog post that’s basically a defense against accusations that ICANN is somehow intolerant or ignorant of gay issues.
The post explains the RfR process, explains that the latest decision doesn’t mean there won’t be a .gay or that dotgay won’t win the contention set, winding up:
I want to make clear that the denial of the Request for Reconsideration is not a statement about the validity of dotgay LLC’s application or dotgay LLC’s supporters. The decision means that the BGC did not find that the CPE process for dotgay, LLC’s .GAY application violated any ICANN policies or procedures.
It is ICANN’s responsibility to support the community-developed process and provide equitable treatment to all impacted parties. We understand that this outcome will be disappointing to supporters of the dotgay LLC application. We appreciate the amount of interest that this topic has generated within the ICANN community, and we encourage all interested parties to participate in the multistakeholder process to help shape how future application rounds are defined.
dotgay’s two CPEs, which were evaluated by the Economist Intelligence Unit, failed because the company defined its “community” too broadly, to include people who aren’t gay.
The company says that it’s “common sense” that “gay” is an umbrella term not only for lesbian and bisexual people, but also for people with non-standard gender identities and straight people who support equal rights.
(As an aside, I recently learned that former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, the UK’s poster girl for transgender issues, disagrees with same-sex couples raising kids and once called for gay pride marches to be banned. I wonder how she fits under this umbrella.)
But the second EIU panel “determined that the applied-for string does not sufficiently identify some members of the applicant’s defined community, in particular transgender, intersex, and ally individuals”.
The CPE application fell apart on that basis. It scored 10 of the available 16 points, four points shy of a winner.
Due to the sensitive nature of this kind of thing, and the fact that dotgay does have a truckload of genuine support from prominent campaigning members of its community, ICANN and the EIU have come in for criticism.
Some of that criticism has implied that ICANN, the EIU, the process or all three are in some way homophobic or at least ignorant.
An article on gay news website The Gayly this week said: “The EIU’s actions contradict all common sense and are being interpreted as the outcome of a hostile environment.”
dotgay encouraged supporters to tweet: “Say NO to unfair & unequal treatment of the gay community at the hands of @TheEIU #Yes2dotgay”.
I’ve seen some tweets from supporters that use stronger language, which I’m guessing is what the BGC is trying to preempt today.
Now that it has exhausted the RfR process without success, expect dotgay to file an Independent Review Process appeal with ICANN, delaying the .gay contention set resolution for a year or more.