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LGBTs urged to become delegates to state Democratic convention
QSanAntonio.com, April 14, 2012

Dan Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, released an advisory this week asking that LGBT political activists to consider becoming delegates to the Texas Democratic Convention.

Graney cites two reasons why gay participation is important. The first is to add a marriage equality plant to the state party platform and, secondly, to elect more progressive members to the State Decmocratic Executive committee.

In a commentary published in QSanAntonio on March 3, Graney explained why it's so important for more LGBT participation in the state Democratic Party:

"The Texas Democratic Party has an image problem with many of its LGBT constituents. For the second time in four months, the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) voted not to include a marriage equality referendum on the 2012 Democratic primary ballot." (See related story below.)

Below are some guidelines for those who want to become delegates to the state Democratic convention.

On April 21

Attend your County or Senatorial District Convention on Saturday, April 21! Click here to find the time and location of your County or SD Convention: l. If it is not listed, contact your County Chair.

While there, get yourself elected delegate to the State Democratic Convention, which will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, June 7-9!

Introduce the LGBT-related resolutions that are posted on the TSDC website at (print them out, sign them and take them with you). Volunteer to serve on a committee at your County/Senatorial District Convention

At the convention

At the State Convention, attend your Senate District (SD) Caucus which will take place on Friday, June 8, at 3:00 pm

In your SD Caucus meeting, you will be (1) electing a member to each convention committee (get on the Platform or Resolutions Committee, if possible); (2) electing members to the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) (consider running or find out who is running for the SDEC to assure we have progressive people in those positions); (3) electing delegates to the National Democratic Convention (more on that below); and (4) electing presidential electors.

Become a national delegate

Interested in becoming a national delegate? If you are, there is a Statement of Candidacy form you must file with the Texas Democratic Party between April 16 and May 15 (no exceptions!). You will find this form on the convention page of the Texas Democratic Party website.

You will also be expected to campaign for yourself at your SD Caucus at the state convention. If you don't get elected out of your SD Caucus, you can still be considered as an At-Large delegate to the Democratic National Convention, but the At-Large nominations process is very competitive. The Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte, NC on Sept.3-6.

Seek support from friends

The State Convention and the National Convention will both cost money for you to attend. Get your local club or friends to host fundraisers to help defray your convention expenses! The Houston Stonewall Young Democrats is providing limited housing for members of Stonewall YD clubs in other parts of the state. Contact Brad Pritchett at hsyd.president@houstonstonewallyd.org.

If you do become a delegate or alternate to the State Democratic Convention, make sure you attend the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus Reception on Thursday night, June 7 at the Hilton of the Americas Hotel and our Stonewall Democrats Caucus meeting at 1:00 pm on Friday afternoon, June 8, in the George R. Brown Convention Center next to the hotel. The TSDC is the official LGBT Caucus of the Texas Democratic Party and we not only throw the best parties, but we will be electing new officers at our Caucus meeting.

For a complete list of TSDC convention activities, go to our website at and click on the “Be A TSDC Sponsor At The TDP Convention” link at the top of the home page. Whether or not you can be a sponsor, we want to see you there!

For more information about the State Convention, visit the Texas Democratic Party website at and click on “Click Here” inside the State Convention announcement in the upper right hand corner of the home page.

Be there and help us make marriage equality a part of the Texas Democratic Party Platform and elect progressive Democrats to the State Democratic Executive Committee!

Did Texas Democrats throw the LGBT community under the bus?
By Dan Graney, QSanAntonio.com, March 3, 2012

The Texas Democratic Party has an image problem with many of its LGBT constituents. For the second time in four months, the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) voted not to include a marriage equality referendum on the 2012 Democratic primary ballot.

This issue first came to light last November when a group of progressive SDEC members, both gay and straight, organized an effort to get the SDEC to include referenda on the primary ballot. Proponents argued that a marriage equality referendum would boost voter turnout, especially among young people and other Democratic “base” voters, in a presidential election year when President Obama faces no opposition for reelection.

Resolutions to include referenda on marriage equality, abolishing the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, the DREAM Act, and affordable college tuition were drafted by SDEC members and presented to the SDEC Resolutions Committee for consideration at last November’s meeting. The committee voted in favor of including affordable college tuition, the DREAM Act, and legalized casino gambling on the ballot, but voted down the resolutions on marriage equality, the death penalty, and legalizing marijuana.

The proposed marriage equality referendum is worded as follows: “Same-sex couples should be granted equal access to civil marriage and all its benefits and all federal and state laws denying such access should be repealed.”

Since there were sufficient votes within the committee to present a minority report before the entire SDEC, the three resolutions were brought up again in general session. During debate, opponents argued that including such referenda on the ballot would give Republicans fodder for attacking Democrats, negatively impact Democratic candidates on the ballot, and set back progress on LGBT rights if the marriage equality measure ended up failing at the ballot box.
All three resolutions were defeated on the floor of the SDEC general session. The marriage equality resolution, which was defeated by a vote of 33–21, garnered more votes than the other two resolutions.

Fast forward to February 11, 2012. Garry Brown, an SDEC member from Austin, decided to bring back the marriage equality resolution for reconsideration in the general session. State chairman Boyd Richie ruled Brown’s motion out of order “because this was already voted on at the last SDEC meeting and was defeated.” Brown appealed Chairman Richie’s ruling, but that appeal lost by a vote of 16–40.

By rejecting the marriage equality referendum, the SDEC acted contrary to its own party platform and resolutions. The 2010 Texas Democratic Party platform explicitly calls for the “repeal of discriminatory laws and policies against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.” Moreover, delegates to the 2010 State Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, as President Obama has done.

The SDEC clearly stands on the wrong side of history on this issue. Both national and state polling data show increasing support for civil marriage for same-gender couples among all demographic groups, with a clear majority of younger voters supporting civil marriage. Washington State recently became the seventh state to approve same-sex marriage, and New Jersey and Maryland are on a trajectory to do the same. Over 100 mayors from major cities all across the country (including the mayors of Austin, Houston, and San Antonio) have signed a pledge advocating for marriage equality. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, and the issue of marriage equality will likely come before the U.S. Supreme Court in the next year or two.

Many LGBT Democrats feel a sense of betrayal by their own party. In contrast to the Republican Party, which openly promotes homophobia and bigotry, the Democratic Party has been viewed as the home of those devoted to securing fair and equal treatment for all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In 2000, delegates to the Texas Democratic Convention voted to recognize the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus (TSDC) as the official LGBT Caucus of the State Democratic Party by giving them two seats on the SDEC. Yet, many party officials and candidates cannot bring themselves to embrace full equality for LGBT people. It was particularly disheartening to see a majority of SDEC members from Dallas and Houston vote against the marriage equality resolution. These same people attend LGBT events in those cities and have privately voiced their support for same-sex marriage.

SDEC members are good and honorable people who contribute their time and money to the party. However, if the party does not stand for something as important as marriage equality, then fear rules and the party is diminished as a result. We would do well to remember the words of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay African-American man who fought for civil rights alongside Dr. Martin Luther King (and whose 100th birthday we commemorate this year): “To be afraid is to act as if the truth were not true.”

Dan Graney lives in San Antonio and is president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus. He married his partner of 36 years in Vermont in 2009. His spouse, Roberto J. Flores, died in 2010. Flores was the first openly gay chairperson of the Bexar County Democratic Party.

This article was first published in OutSmart Houston and is reprinted here with permission.

Texas Democratic Party officials again say "no" to marriage equality
QSanAntonio.com, February 18, 2012
At its February 11 meeting in Austin, the State Democratic Executive Committee voted against a marriage equality referendum on the Democratic Primary ballot. This is the second time the SDEC said "no" to marriage equality in the past four months.

Texas Democrats will not vote on marriage equality in March primary
By Dan Graney, QSanAntonio.com, November 21, 2011
Members of the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) of the Texas Democratic Party voted to include referenda on the 2012 Democratic Primary ballot, but a measure advocating for marriage equality was not one of them. A vote to include the marriage equality referendum was defeated by a vote of 33-22 at the SDEC's general meeting in Austin on November 19.