Mar 3, 2014

Mayor Dwight Jones Should not be Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia

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Marriage Equality Democratic Party of Virginia

Maggie Sacra, Chair of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia, 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 of our board on March 2nd, 2014. After a unanimous vote, we released the statement below to our State Central Committee, our statewide elected officials, and our legislators immediately following the meeting. Failing see a response to our concerns from those pushing for the nomination of Mayor Jones, we are now releasing it more broadly and have also launched a petition for others to voice their support for a pro-equality chair.” 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.”