Board of Directorsback to top
Tim Cairl, Chair
Jason Cecil, Treasurer
Jeff Hancock, Chair Emeritus
Overviewback to top
Georgia Stonewall Democrats is Georgia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally Democratic community. As LGBTQ and ally Democrats, we have a unique and critically important role to play in our community’s struggle for equality. We are working to continue making progress within our Party on issues important to our community, to inform the LGBT community about the differences between the Parties, and to elect fair-minded Democrats to public office.
As Democrats, we have credibility and the opportunities to engage in conversation with traditionally Democratic constituency groups and potential allies of our community in a way that a non-partisan group can not, will not, or would do, but less effectively can we.
The road to equality is paved by fair-minded Democratsback to top
The work of Georgia Stonewall Democrats is based on a long-term strategy, rooted in coalition-building and grassroots organizing, to move us forward in building a fair-minded Democratic majority in Georgia.
We are an affiliate of National Stonewall Democrats, a nation-wide, grassroots federation of more than 90 other LGBT Democratic chapters. We are committed to working closely with other LGBT organizations, along with our allies in progressive communities and traditionally Democratic constituancy groups to build a fair-minded Democratic majority in Georgia.
As LGBT and ally Democrats, we have a unique and critically important role to play in our community’s struggle for equality. Georgia Stonewall Democrats works:
- to educate our fellow Democrats and challenge our Party to continue to improve its record on issues important to our community,
- to inform the LGBTQ community about the differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties,
- to elect fair-minded Democrats to public office.
Our task is not to duplicate the work of other organizations. Our task is to do the work that a partisan organization can do efficiently and effectively.
As Democrats, we have credibility and the opportunities to engage in conversation with traditionally Democratic constituency groups and potential allies of our community in a way that a non-partisan group cannot.
The conversation that Georgia Stonewall Democrats can have with organized labor, the choice community, environmentalists, the African American community and others is a much different conversation than a non-partisan equality organization can have with these same groups. Georgia Stonewall Democrats can start a conversation with any of these communities at a place of credibility and trust based on our shared progressive values and partisan affiliation. As a result, we can transform entire communities into allies in our struggle for equality.
We recognize that the road to equality is paved by fair-minded Democrats. The work of Georgia Stonewall Democrats is based on a long-term strategy, rooted in coalition-building and grassroots organizing, to move us forward in building a fair-minded Democratic majority in Georgia.
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History of Georgia Stonewall Democratsback to top
The first planning meeting for what has become Georgia Stonewall Democrats took place in October 2005. A group of progressive, LGBT and ally activists from all walks of life and from all corners of metro Georgia met at Manuel’s Tavern to exchange ideas about how we could, together, build a grassroots organization that would fill the important niche of advancing equality through the Democratic Party.
Officially launched in January of 2006, Georgia Stonewall Democrats (GSD) has quickly become an important component in advancing the equality agenda in Georgia by fulfilling the unique role of educating our fellow Democrats and changing our Party from within to continue making progress on issues of importance to our community.
Groups like Georgia Stonewall Democrats have existed across the decades. However, it wasn’t until Congressman Barney Frank called for a meeting of LGBT Democrats from across the country in the mid-90’s that National Stonewall Democrats was officially launched. The strength of Stonewall Democrats rests with local chapters and activists, and decisions made within the organization are decentralized, allowing local chapters to chart their own course. National Stonewall Democrats serves as a vehicle for networking local LGBT Democratic activists, advocating on behalf of our community at the national level within the Party, and giving local chapters the tools they need to thrive.
Advancing Equality Within the Partyback to top
According to new rules passed by the DNC, the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) is now required to set a goal for LGBT representation in the delegate selection plan. ASD will work with the leadership of the Democratic Party of Georgia and the State Committee to ensure that our community is actively included in the drafting of the affirmative action plan of the delegate selection process and adequately represented in Georgia’s delegation to the National Convention.
Democratic National Convention delegates from across the country come together for a few days every four years to serve as a temporary committee which is considered the highest level of governance within the Party. Decisions by delegates to the Convention trump all decisions made by the DNC Chairperson, the Democratic National Committee, and state and local parties.
Ensuring that we have adequate representation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention is key to ensuring that our community can continue to make progress within our Party on issues important to our community. GSD will work to train and recruit LGBT persons and our allies in the process of running as delegates to the Convention.
GSD is committed to holding the DPG accountable for adopting reasonable goals for LGBT inclusion within the Party and within the Affirmative Action Plan – including the delegate selection plan – and for abiding by the guidelines and rules of the DNC in meeting those goals.
As a service to our local Parties, the Affirmative Action Committee of Georgia Stonewall Democrats – in consultation with other groups that represent the diverse constituency of the Democratic Party – will draft a sample Affirmative Action Plan that may be revised and/or adopted by local Party Committees to ensure that each local Committee meets the requirements for Affirmative Action as established by the State Party.
GSD advocated for and supported the creation of the LGBT Caucus within the DPG and worked with the leadership of the DPG and the State Committee to ensure that our voices are heard within the Party. The LGBT Caucus serves as a medium to educate our fellow Democrats about issues important to our community, place pressure on the Party to invest in coalition-building, and recommends language for rules, bylaws and the Party platform to grow support for our community within the Party.
Once the LGBT Caucus had been established, Georgia Stonewall Democrats worked closely with its leaders and members, and with the DPG Constituency Group Vice-Chair, to aid the Party in successfully increasing the Democratic performance of the LGBT electorate in Georgia, mobilizing LGBT Georgians to vote, and raising funds from the LGBT community and our allies to aid the Party in its outreach programs and activities. GSD is also committed to working with the Caucus to ensure that Democratic candidates for public office have the tools they need to speak about issues facing the LGBT community and our families in Georgia.
Advancing Equality through Coalition Building
Georgia Democrats have stumbled over the cracks of shifting and broken alliances and been shaken by divisive politics. A lasting Democratic coalition based on our shared, progressive values is our only option for building a Democratic majority in Georgia.
As individuals, we must identify those values – fairness, equal opportunity, community, civil liberties – and understand how we share those values as Democrats. Georgia Stonewall Democrats is committed to taking the lead in this process by participating and sponsoring the events and activities of our allies and potential allies, meeting with the leadership within traditionally Democratic constituency groups to discuss our shared values and how we can support one another, including the joint production of educational resources to educate our communities and fellow Democrats about our shared progressive values.
Republicans have learned that coalition-building is the cornerstone of any successful movement to create social change. White, fundamentalist Christian leaders are able to mobilize their Church members to support tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest among us. Socially moderate Country Club elites fund the anti-choice and anti-gay initiatives of these same fundamentalist Christian leaders and their organizations.
Republican leaders figured out a long time ago that building a majority is the work of articulating the shared, conservative values of the vast and differing constituency groups within their Party.
Coalition-building allows for strategic allocation of resources and mass mobilization. Just look at how effective their think tanks and days of action have been in building a Republican majority and in moving their agenda forward.
We know that most people do not identify the divisive social issues as the most important issues we face. Republicans elevate the divisive social issues because this strategy is effective in siphoning off votes from the Democratic base. In fact, the long-term application of this strategy has altered people’s priorities and outlooks, and converted once staunch Democrats into loyal Republican voters.
The solution to overcoming these divisive social issues is not for us to rewrite our Party’s platform to lessen our support for a woman’s right to choose or have our leaders in government call for writing discrimination against our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender family members, neighbors and coworkers into our state’s Constitution.
Georgia voters aren’t stupid. When our Party leaders and leaders in government advocate for policy shifts and introduce legislation that is seen has not being true to our Democratic principles and progressive values, Georgia voters see a Party lacking in values and integrity and therefore cannot be trusted to lead. The ramifications within our Party of having leaders call for “unity” and then proceeding to turn on different constituency groups within the Party at different times for short-term political gain, in fact further dismantles the Democratic coalition and reveals us as being even less trustworthy in the eyes of voters.
The truth is that coalition-building also provides those of us who have an interest in advancing a particular set of issues with the opportunity to educate our fellow Democrats about the issues most important to us as members of constituency group in order to make progress on those issues.
The long-term pay-off of being true to our Democratic principles and forging a Democratic coalition built on our shared, progressive values is the opportunity to earn back the trust of Georgia voters and win elections.
It’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense.
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