Wednesday, August 16, 2006

GLBT Representation In Democratic Party

Donald Hitchcock tells AI that DNC Chairman Howard Dean plans to propose increased representation for the GLBT community at the party's biannual meeting this Friday in Chicago. The proposal would require all 50 states to include GLBT representatives in their state delegations that are sent to the national convention every 4 years, similar to representation requirements the party already has for women and other minority groups.

Hitchcock thinks this party rules change is necessary to help GLBT members of the party in states where the state party structure is completely ignoring their interests. He notes that GLBT activists in states like Alabama, Tennessee, South Dakota and South Carolina received no help from the Democratic Party in those states in fighting anti-gay marriage ballot measures. "In 2004, 37 of the 50 states had no plans to include the LGBT community in their delegation, leading the LGBT community to represent only 5% of those attending the convention and disproportionately represented by the above coastal states," Hitchcock says.

AI previously reported on the rift in the Democratic Party over this very issue. According to a Blade report, we noted that African-American members of the DNC opposed increased representation for GLBT members of the Democratic Party. Dean, in particular, has been the subject of criticism from the GLBT community. Hitchcock was fired by Dean as the DNC's GLBT liaison earlier this year after his partner criticized Dean and the DNC on its handling of GLBT issues. Let's see if anything happens at this Friday's DNC meeting on this topic.


Anonymous said...

Democratic Party.

Anonymous said...

I was one of three out delegates from Indiana to the '04 convention in Boston. (There were at least two others who weren't counted as such.) We've had GLBT delegates for many years.

There were LGBT delegates elected from nearly every state, and some states (Massachusetts and California come to mind) had more than any quota might provide. I met LGBT delegates from South Dakota, Kansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Carolina ... we were a very-welcomed part of the party.

Delegate slots don't really have any impact on party policy or campaigns. They're just good tickets to a really fun party held once every four years. They're rewarded to those who contribute to the party ... and I don't see how setting quotas for VIP tickets to an open social gathering will mean much of anything for the GLBT community other than an unnecessary show of support.

For those who cared about the Party and its policies, the few quotas for delegates that already exist (union members and minorities come to mind) almost seemed to worked to the detriment of those covered groups. There was much animosity to those who got "special slots" and beat out people who worked their tails off in the campaigns, no matter their color, affiliation, or sexual orientation.

If the LGBT community wanted to make a difference with quotas like these, a much better proposition would be to require slots on the state's central committee like Indiana provided in '05. That's where the real action can be found.

Gary R. Welsh said...

In principle, I agree with you Troy. However, the Democrats have minority representation for other groups, which begs the question, why have it for some and not others?

Anonymous said...

Good dialogue.

But Troy is absolutely right. Indiana is in the forefront of making a real difference with the state committee slots.

Wilson46201 said...

How's the GOP coming with openly gay delegates and slots for gays?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Well behind the Democrats Wilson

Anonymous said...

"Well behind".... does that mean the GOP here in Indiana has one? Two? None?

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