While it’s not on most people’s radar, we have regional caucuses to elect delegates to the national convention coming up (they’re all on the 21st, find out where your caucus is here).
Most years, the competition is pretty fierce, as only a few people out of an entire congressional district get to go. Even years like this one, in which we’ve known the Democratic Presidential nominee since Day 1, can be tough.
Now, in a year like this, a lot of people would say these choices don’t matter, since the nominee is a forgone conclusion. Yet, there’s actually something very important going on: the party platform.
Specifically, there’s a big effort to get marriage equality onto it, which has culminated with the last four DNC chairs getting behind it, the chair of the convention, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as our own soon-to-be Senate nominee, Elizabeth Warren.
With all these supporters, it would look like a forgone conclusion, but that’s not always the way things work. The President is still very touchy on glbt issues, including the recent disappointment in his choice to not sign an executive order that would have banned anti-gay discrimination among federal contractors.
Let’s not forget that it’s currently completely legal to fire someone for being gay in a majority of states across this country. Signing the executive order was a low-hanging fruit way of at least making the federal government wasn’t involved in any of those shenanigans — and let’s not pretend it isn’t a problem.
The President wants to be seen as accepting… but not too accepting. That’s why he’s “evolving” on the issue, and we’ve had to drag him kicking and screaming along every step of the way toward the very real progress we have achieved during his administration thus far.
Why does what the President thinks matter? Because a lot of people going to these conventions will just do whatever the President wants to do. But that’s not the way things are supposed to work. The President doesn’t elect the delegates; the people do. Specifically, anyone registered as a Democrat can go and vote for their delegates.
I raise all this because I was at a town democratic meeting the other day and a few people who are running to be delegates came and spoke. My question to them was their position on the effort to add marriage equality to the platform — and I cringed when someone who I figured I’d vote for came out and said that while he personally supports marriage equality, he was going to do whatever the President said. Needless to say, he’s not getting my vote.
My advice: Ask these people if they’ll support adding marriage equality to the platform. If they won’t, or if they’re just going to do whatever they’re told, vote for someone else… and tell your friends to do that, too.
We all know marriage equality isn’t the wedge issue it once was before. The polls constantly bear that out. We’re at a point in which a full majority are behind marriage equality — and things are moving rapidly in our direction. Plus, the bigots aren’t going to vote for us, anyway.
The good news is we have the final say on this issue, so let’s make sure we choose people to represent us who will vote for marriage equality, and petition to make sure there is a vote, even if it’s going to make some of the more prickly among them uncomfortable.