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Virginia LGBT Dems Call on Central Committee to Oppose Dwight Jones for DPVA Chair

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It will be fascinating to see how Terry McAuliffe et al respond to this. Clearly, sentiment in the Virginia Democratic “base” is strongly against Mayor Dwight Jones, who opposes marriage equality, to be the next DPVA Chair. Among other evidence, note that the Blue Virginia poll is now running overwhelmingly against Jones. The bottom line is that marriage equality at this point is a core principle of the Democratic Party, one which Dwight Jones disagrees with. Also worth noting is that, in the 8th CD primary, so far four candidates – Adam Ebbin, Patrick Hope, Mark Levine, and Bill Euille – have issued statements opposing Jones (at least unless he changes his position opposing marriage equality). I encourage the remaining candidates to add their voices…

You are receiving this as a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Maggie Sacra, Chair of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia, today spoke about the submission of Dwight Jones, Richmond City Mayor, to be Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, saying, “In response to the many phone calls and emails members of our board have received regarding Mayor Jones’ opposition to marriage equality, and frankly, in response to our own concerns and alarm, the LGBT Democrats of Virginia held an emergency meeting today of our board. After a unanimous vote, we are releasing the statement below to our State Central Committee, our statewide elected officials, and our legislators.”

The statement reads: “Given repeated opportunities over the past few years, Mayor Dwight Jones has consistently refused to endorse marriage equality. LGBT Democrats of Virginia is extremely disappointed with the consideration of Mayor Jones for Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia. We oppose his nomination and call on Virginia Democrats to seek pro-equality nominees at all levels of the Party and public office."

“This is a historic time for marriage equality in Virginia. All three Democratic nominees for state office won election in 2013  unequivocally supporting marriage equality. Attorney General Mark Herring bravely refused to defend Virginia’s discriminatory Marshall-Newman Amendment and anti-equality statutes, and Judge Wright ruled on the side of equality, writing in her ruling that, 'Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia's ban on interracial marriage', referring to Loving v. Virginia."

“We have a President, a Vice President, and a U.S. Attorney General who now stand on the right side of history, on the side of equality. The Democratic Party of Virginia must not consider retreating on this issue. Instead, the Party should heed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who declared, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'. These are beliefs the Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia must embody."

“Unless Mayor Jones makes a strong public statement in support of legal marriage equality, we cannot consider supporting him. We call on all State Central Committee members to join with us in opposing Mayor Jones in this election for Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, and in finding a candidate for Party chair who supports equality and justice for all Virginians.”

  • BatCave

    Honestly, it really is amateur hour in the governor’s mansion.

    What was Terry Mac thinking?  No vetting of Dwight Jones’ views?  No floating his name to see the reaction he might receive?  How about a simple internet search?  Dwight Jones + Gay Marriage = NO!  

    Who is the moron running the political team in the mansion because this whole mess is an EPIC FAIL.

    The LGBT caucus is outraged and it is really great to see so many rising up to in defense of them and their march towards FULL civil rights.  Amazing how some fail to remember how hard it is to fight for your civil rights.    

    But this crap is politics as usual as well.  Just as Charnele Herring is using the position of chair to further her career (it’s the Virginia way of course), Terry Mac was setting Jones up to use the chair as a jumping off point to run for governor – that is what Jones really wants.  And that is why so many of those who worked for Jones were tappped by Terry Mac to serve in his inner circle in his administration.  

    Now the fun begins.  With Facebook and Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree over this mess, who will blink first – Terry Mac or Dwight Jones?

    Will Jones issue a statement stating that he is pulling his name from consideration?  Or will he remain silent and make Terry Mac deal with it.  Or will Terry and Jones refuse to back down and force a vote?  

    Lowell, please pass the popcorn.    

  • va_lady2008

    Gentle protestations will not change closed minds. Nor will polite requests  from the LGBT community. Not even screams from the Blue Virginia blog followers. This might do the trick:

    Dear DPVA–

    WHAM! That is would the sound of the formerly cash and energy contributing Virginia Lady, snapping her checkbook shut, throwing it in a drawer, and slamming it shut.

    You can forget about any further contributions from me until you wake up and smell the 21st century, where the rest of us have to live.

  • I think we can all understand the “political calculation” angle (ie: Jones takes a position on Marriage Equality that gets him more votes than it costs him), but at a certain point – like now – both Jones and McAuliffe have to understand that if you’re not for full equality for everybody, then you haven’t earned anybody’s vote for anything.

    Jones needs to make a public statement, declaring his whole-hearted commitment to equal rights and equal protection, or he needs to bow out.

    Step up or step aside.

  • FreeDem

    This is the first issue in awhile that I can remember where you don’t just have the same folks who always complain about the DPVA angry. Pressure is being put on the outdated party apparatus from candidates, activists, and I suspect donors given the importance that equality has taken on among our supporters.

    This is exactly the sort of issue that convinces big donors to stop writing checks and makes them start to wonder how come they couldn’t finance their own organization.

    If Dwight Jones becomes DPVA Chair he will shatter the existing Democratic Party infrastructure. We may see the sort of opening that makes possible new players who will finally start to turn Virginia blue at the local and legislative level.

  • Over the weekend, Delegate Sickles contacted the highest level of the governor’s administration to express his opposition. We have received confirmation that his concerns have been acknowledged. If the governor nominates Mayor Jones for DPVA Chair, Delegate Sickles will issue a public statement in opposition.

  • Anyone opposing marriage equality is not embracing true equal rights and thus is not embodying the values or spirit of today’s Democratic Party.  Most assuredly, we should not be nominating anyone to a Democratic leadership position who is unprepared to advance and defend the hard fought gains of the recent past.

    Being on the Board of AGLA, and having had at least 2 gay roommates, this is very personal to me and my friends.

  • “I believe strongly in marriage equality, and trust that the next Chair of the Democratic Party will lead in a fully inclusive manner, respecting the rights of all.”

  • I believe that all committed and loving couples deserve equal protection and recognition under the law. As Democrats, we must fight for equal rights for LGBT Virginians. Equality is a core value of our party and it is critical that the next DPVA Chair share those values. I stand with the LGBT Democrats of Virginia in opposition to Mayor Dwight Jones’ bid to be the next chair of the DPVA, and hope that all the other candidates in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District will join us.

  • I have spoken to folks in the Mayor’s office and to folks in the Governor’s office to make it clear that the chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia should not lag behind the majority of the Commonwealth in supporting marriage equality for all Virginians. I have been assured by officials in the Governor’s office that, if elected, Mayor Jones will fight to ensure that LGBT Virginians have the same rights as heterosexual Virginians. It is my belief that all people should be truly equal under the law no matter who they love. And I will continue to work in Richmond and on Capitol Hill to continue moving the march for equality forward.