(Updated) VA LGBT Dems Withdraw Opposition to Mayor Jones As DP Chair
A meeting Monday night has led the LGBT Democrats of Virginia to end their opposition to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s nomination of Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones for the state’s Democratic Party Chair seat.
“We welcomed the dialogue with Mayor Jones and the opportunity to discuss marriage equality as a core value of the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA), as well as a right that should be vigorously upheld and defended,” said Joel McDonald, Vice Chair of Technology and Communications of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia. “Our concern over his ability to champion marriage equality as outlined in the Party Platform is the reason we opposed Mayor Jones’ nomination to the Chair of the DPVA.”
The meeting Monday put LGBT Dems and Jones in the same room to discuss these issues, and, according to McDonald, Jones continued to say he could not support marriage equality personally, but he would not take action against the issue.
Jones had been quoted on his opposition to same-sex marriage back in 2012 after President Obama announced his support for the issue.
“This is one issue that President Obama and I disagree on. Despite this disagreement however, I applaud the efforts and work of President Obama and his administration and I will do whatever I can to ensure he is re-elected,” said Jones at the time.
The VA LGBT Dems had started an online petition to snub Jones’ party chair hopes despite Gov. McAuliffe’s rumored nomination of the mayor. Almost 1000 signatures were gathered by the LGBT Dems supporting their stance, requiring Mayor Jones to make a “strong public statement in support of legal marriage equality” or the group would not support his nomination.
But Monday’s meeting seems to have calmed those concerns. The LGBT Dems said the conversation with Mayor Jones showed “progress and evolution” on the marriage equality issue, and the group has decided to end its opposition to the candidate.
The party chair is elected by party delegates in a vote set to be held March 15. McDonald said about 250 delegates vote for the party chair position and LGBT Dems had about 25% of the delegates signed on to support their cause against Jones.
“We may have the votes to do something, but we were concerned at what cost,” said McDonald.
“I think we sent a very loud and clear message to the party leadership, to the Governor, and to the Mayor,” said McDonald. “He has to uphold the party platform and continue the progress that’s being made.”
McDonald said the LGBT Dems stressed they could still not support Mayor Jones in this election, but they would not outwardly oppose him either, calling it a “justified place to be.”
Comments from the Mayors office have been requested and this post will be updated when that information becomes available.
It was also easily one of the largest gatherings of LGBTQ’s at the Virginia Governor’s Mansion in history.June 16, 2015
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