Tom Chorlton, a local gay activist and founder of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club (the predecessor to the Stonewall Democrats) gave us a quick call today to talk about gay issues in Denver.
Top of the list was the turnout. On Monday, the LGBT Caucus held a luncheon with 375 in attendance — larger than any state caucus, except for California and New York.
"I can remember when we used to meet in a broom closet," he said.
Sen. Ted Kennedy's emotional speech Monday night included a direct message to LGBT voters.
“That’s Teddy Kennedy,” Chorlton said. “He doesn’t forget and he doesn’t overlook.”
What is missing from this week’s events is any mention of gays and lesbians in the party’s platform. Chorlton, attending his 11th convention, helped craft the first inclusion of “gays and lesbians” in the 1984 platform. He’s pissed.
"It's still there, but it's in code," he says. "Sometimes you need to spell things out.”
The platform includes advancements for the transgendered, but that’s also tinged in “camouflaged terms.”
In other news, Chorlton says the South Carolina caucus showed "tremendous support" for Linda Ketner's campaign, seen as the first real challenge for Republican Congressman Henry Brown's District 1 seat.
Certainly a busy time for these folks with Linda Ketner challenging Henry Brown.
From the Stonewall Democrats:
What an exciting month of political activities across our great State! Precinct Meetings, County Conventions and Elections, several Campaign Kickoffs . . . and it's only going to get more exciting from here!
SC Stonewall Meetings:
The next SC Stonewall Democrats Meeting will take place on April 9th at 6:30pm at Sunfire Grill in Charleston. More information, including announcements regarding our guest speakers, will be sent out in the coming days. Please make every effort to attend.
The June meeting of the SC Stonewall Democrats will be held in Columbia on Wednesday, June11th. Our guest speaker at the meeting will be Carol Fowler, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. This will be an exciting meeting and one not to miss!
Congratulations to fellow Stonewall Democrat, Susie Prueter, on her election as the 2nd Vice-Chair of the Charleston County Democratic Party! Way to go Susie!
If you are aware of other fellow Stonewall Democrats (or Stonewall Friends) that were elected to County positions, please contact Susie with that information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Democracy for America Training:
Want to know the "ends and outs" of creating a winning campaign? Want to know how to better serve our local friends who are running for office? Then please consider attending the Democracy for America Training Academy being offered at The College of Charleston on April 12th and 13th. The cost of the training has been reduced to only $30 due to sponsorships by several local organizations, including the SC Stonewall Democrats! Additional scholarships are available if needed - contact Mike Schwarzott (email@example.com) for information.
Visit http://www.dfalink.com/event.php?id=26532 to register online. Response has been overwhelming and seats are filling up fast!
The State Democratic Party Convention will be held in Columbia on May 3rd. Several Counties still have available Delegate and Alternate Delegate openings. We need as many Stonewall and Stonewall Friends in attendance at the Convention to ensure openly GLBT people are elected as Delegates to the National Convention. Several Stonewall members are running for these hotly contested delegates positions. So, let's get out and support them!
If you'd like to attend the State Convention, contact your local County Democrattic Party and sign up as a Delegate. Also, please let us know that you will be there by contacting Keith Riddle (KRiddle595@aol.com).
Be on the lookout for the unveiling of the new South Carolina Stonewall Democrat website - Coming Soon!
A letter arrives from Ketner For Congress HQ:
Yesterday afternoon, I filed to run for Congress in South Carolina's 1st District!
Many of you know that I grew up in a little town called Faith, and that I adored my grandmother. Ma told me when I was a small child that if I saw something wrong, God counted on me to fix it. I took that lesson to heart and have spent my life working to solve problems and make a difference.
Some of you have actually worked beside me with Katrina families in Mississippi, or on homelessness and affordable housing, on civil rights and social justice, or on children's issues, sustainability and more. Others of you have done important work in other areas. And here we are now, working together to make a difference in South Carolina!
Having you beside me convinces me that we will forge that new path forward. A path that leads to a 1st District known for its opportunities, exceptional education system, job growth in new technologies, commuter rails, clean air and water, support for veterans, and quality healthcare.
And, we'll forge a path that leads to an America which is again respected around the world - not because we have bigger guns and more money, but because we live our values of a level playing field, opportunity for all, fairness and compassion.
As your Congresswoman, I'll continue to take my grandmother's lesson to heart, and together we can take that new path forward to a thriving future.
I can't tell you how glad I am to be walking that path with you!
Thursday, April 3d
Join Linda and Mayor Riley to celebrate the beginning of an exciting campaign. The fun begins at 10am in Charleston's Cannon Park.
10am Cannon Park with Mayor Joe Riley
1pm Fish Camp on Pawley's Island
4pm Walking tour of downtown Conway
6pm Market Common in Myrtle Beach
To RSVP and for more information, call the campaign
at 843-937-4901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And so it continues...
Charleston's Stonewall Democrats dropped us a line about this week's big meeting.
Special guests include Jon Hoadley, Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats, both State and County representatives from the Democratic Party, candidates running for office, and representatives from some of the Presidential campaigns.
You will be amazed at how far we have come and how close we are to some extraordinary political and legislative successes in South Carolina! We need everyone's help to achieve those successes!
South Carolina Stonewall Democrats
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The Bluerose Cafe
652 Saint Andrews Boulevard - Charleston, SC 29407
Cash bar with beer and wine will be available. A fixed menu including salad/soup, main course, and dessert will be available for $14 per person plus tax and gratutity. The restaurant will be open at 5:15 PM for early seating and dinner orders for anyone who wishes.
We will be electing officers at this meeting. Nominations will be made by the Nominating Committee and taken from the floor. To vote for officers, you must be a member of the South Carolina Stonewall Democrats. The By-Laws require membership 30 days prior to voting, but since we are brand new, we will move to waive this requirement for this first election. However, please bring your checkbooks/cash to the meeting so you can join prior to voting. Membership fee is $35.
When we were deciding what to put on the cover, we looked at the stories that we had and a lot of what we're talking about is the need for political change. Here's a collection of the political pieces included in this year's gay issue.
Jason Zwiker talks to Truman Smith with the S.C. Log Cabin Republicans:
I'm sure that you get this question all the time. How does it fit together, being gay and Republican?
[Laughs] I hear it all the time. The first challenge is to remove the misunderstanding that social extremists are representing all Republicans when they speak against equality. What we hope to do is to work within the group to bring the Republican Party back to its core values. We believe in the free market and national defense, and we also believe in equality for all Americans.
Chris Haire talks with Keith Riddle from the Stonewall Democrats:
What is it about this election that is causing the gay community and specifically the Stonewall Democrats here in South Carolina to get active?
Obviously, there is going to be a change in leadership. I believe the Democratic candidates that are running for president are more aware of addressing the concerns of the gay and lesbian community. In the past it has not been quite as big an issue for the Democratic leadership. This time it really is. And I think it is more based on the fact that in this particular election, gay and lesbian issues are not seen as lightning rods. Rather, they are being seen as a constituency.
I did a quick story on the LGBT community getting back in the political ring.
In the days and weeks leading up to last year's vote on the marriage amendment, it was hard for anyone to avoid Charleston's Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA). Gay rights advocates distributed personal letters, mass mailings, newspaper inserts, TV ads, radio spots, billboards. The South Carolina Equality Coalition (SCEC), a statewide advocacy group, held forums and passed out buttons, bumper stickers, and yard signs. While the amendment passed, gay activists aren't going back to their corner — they're staying in the fight and ready to keep attention on gay issues.
"Many people assumed we'd just fade away," says Warren Redman-Gress, executive director for AFFA. "We're going to try to stretch people's minds, so they realize that we have not gone away."
And Zwiker spoke with new AFFA president Sue Weller:
You've been in Charleston for a few years now. What are your thoughts?
I really like it. It's a lovely community, very different from New Jersey. Up North, being gay is sort of a non-issue. Down here, I'm fighting for rights that I used to have. It made me realize that there is such a need in Charleston to be active in the community. It made me more political than I had been before, but it has been a good trip so far.
More to come later today…