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In the name of pride, why are the Stonewall Democrats asking these questions?

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Let me begin this post by pre-empting some of the responses I am sure to receive because this article may seem like an attack on the Stonewall Democrats. As a matter of fact, my thinking is anything but negative about the Stonewall D’s, especially after a conversation I had with one of their prominent members, who said he’s gay first, and a Democrat second, because he’s been to too many estate sales in which the loved partner loses everything because of the lack of legal protections.

Trust me when I say I get it. Right now is the Second Civil Rights movement and in thirty years, you’ll either be seen as on the right side of this issue or the wrong side of history. That’s why I am wearing a Pride bracelet this month. Because equal rights for everyone is the most important social issue.

That said, I really don’t like the tone of the questionnaire the Pinellas County Stonewall Democrats have sent to candidates running in St. Petesburg. Even if you understand the importance surrounding the questions they ask, they are still not germane to the debates facing City Hall.

The first two questions ask about the candidate’s relationship with LGBT community, and after everything that has taken place over the last decade, those are valid questions. Unfortunately, the tone of the questionnaire takes a turn for the worse by Question 3, which asks about the issue of marriage equality. I’m sorry Stonewallers, but the only role I want City Hall to have in this issue is when it doles out marriage licenses.

The fourth question really pushes the boundaries by asking about the Defense of Marriage Act, which is clearly a federal issue that will never be a topic for discussion at the municipal level. Same goes for the fifth question on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

A later question asks for a position on adding sexual orientation to “federal, state, and local hate crime legislation.” Why would a candidate for St. Petersburg City Council comment on federal or state legislation? Another question asks for a position on teaching information about sexual orientation in public schools. Again, this question is for a candidate for School Board.

By now you get the point. The questionnaire by the Stonewall Democrats is just not appropriate for candidates running for Mayor or City Council, no matter how much you may agree with their issues. In fact, conservative and religious groups, such as FAST at the local level, are criticized for imposing their views where they don’t belong. Certainly, the Stonewall Democrats don’t want to succumb to the same tactics as those organizations.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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