The URL for the liveblog is: http://tinyurl.com/parkerPHB.
The election of state party chairs is quite relevant because of the circumstances we find many states in — they have lost control of their legislatures to teabaggers and GOP fringers because of the wealth of dissatisfaction over the economy last fall. Incumbents took the hit from the voters at all levels and the NC GOPers in the Gen Assembly are already flexing their bigoted muscles: Republicans file bill to prohibit anyone not in U.S. legally from attending NC community colleges or universities. And yesterday the Republicans elected proud bigot eruption-prone Sen. Jim Forrester as deputy president pro tempore. This is the man who refused to meet with P-FLAG and files a marriage amendment year after year as his first act as a legislator. We’ll see how soon he puts this on the agenda. He (in)famously said last year: “I’m not against homosexuals.” He said he has gay patients who see him in his medical practice “and I treat them like everyone else.”
In the case of North Carolina, a regrouping and fresh ideas are necessary, but in an emerging socially moderate state, the selection of a party chair for Democrats is particularly crucial. And if you’re LGBT, you want to see the party not willing to run away from equality issues.
Attorney David Parker is running for NC Democratic Party Chair (the election is on Jan 31). He wanted to hold a short live blog on the Blend to share his vision of leadership in the North Carolina Democratic Party, which is now facing a challenging landscape as the General Assembly here is now Republican controlled, the first time since Reconstruction. The LGBT community in NC faces the prospect of a marriage amendment that will be heard on the floor of the state House and Senate. Parker seeks LGBT support as an ally. Right out of the box, he’s in favor or transparency and participation for the community and is frank about it:
I am committed to creating an LGBT Caucus in NC and have an endorser who wants to lead the effort at the breakout sessions that I will convene within 30 Minutes of being elected Chair – I have attached my “First 30 Minutes Plan” and Breakout group agenda to show you my vision for that day. There is a “First 30 Days” Plan that dovetails with those efforts as well.
I would very much like your readers’ input and suggestions on how to make this work and not be a flash in the pan. For instance, I would like to see Caucuses and Roundtables in those counties where they can be formed. All three components of Members (organization), Message and Money come into play and need to be worked. We need to be aggressive on our messaging.
In reading through your site, I am committed to the Dallas Principles – they are sensible and should be a part of our Platform with “personal individual dignity” as “core value” to be at the top of our Platform in a Preamble. Part of what has sparked my email to you is seeing where the GOP will be going with the repeal of DADT as indicated by Bill James remarks in Charlotte about gays being “sexual predators”.
My most important action in the gay rights area has been as a part of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. I have worked closely with Chris and Lou East from Greensboro (she is the minister for Epiphany – you can read about her at http://www.covenantnetwork.org/news/east.html ; Chris is also an ordained Presbyterian Minister and works as a Counselor at Replacements, Ltd.). I have not just given money and attended meetings, I wrote and performed the solo anthem for the national Covenant Network gathering in Davidson several years ago.
I next was a member of the PUP task force that worked through the changes arising out of the General Assembly’s passing of scrupling protocols as a way to permit the ordaining of gays in our Church. Stewart Ellis of Winston-Salem can tell you about my involvement there. We were able to get a protocol adopted in our Presbytery without objection – a signal accomplishment done with a lot of good dialogue.
As a PC(USA) General Assembly Commissioner this past summer, I argued in front of the roughly 2,000 folks there assembled for expanding pension and beneficiary benefits to gay partners. We passed the new enabling policy. You can read about the pension changes at https://www.pc-biz.org/IOBView.aspx?m=ro&id=3271 We have come a ways, but still have a long way to go….We are faced with the prospect of the Bill James of the world being in control – scary, scary stuff – no telling what will come out of this General Assembly. We can expect a Marriage Amendment and other acts to be presented to Gov. Perdue with a challenge to veto them – and a challenge to the State House to sustain her veto. With a 4 vote “cushion”, we may have issues.
This work is based on my belief that sexual orientation is a gift from God.
One of other candidates running for the post, Bill Faison, has had to contend with an interview he gave a few years ago in the Independent Weekly where he stated that he was not a supporter of marriage equality.
Gordon Smith, an ally on the Asheville City Council, did Q&As with Parker (and Bill Faison as well as the third candidate in the race, Dannie Montgomery). You can see all of their answers at Gordon’s blog, Scrutiny Hooligans.
It’s an interesting opportunity for Blenders to think about how the political parties in their state are considering LGBT issues in 2011, particularly if you’re in a state with few or no protections and have to contend with reluctant party leadership.
I hope you’ll join me as David and I discuss the future work a party can do to move equality forward. Video is below the fold.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page