Part One Of A Two Part Queerty Analysis

Will Gay Delegate War Spoil The Race?

With only six primaries left – and Barack Obama‘s resounding lead over rival Hillary Clinton – many people have basically declared the delegate selection over. That, however, would be premature.

While the majority of the states and overseas regions’ delegate numbers have been determined, most of them must still decide which individuals will head to Denver this August. have ruled which candidate gets how many delegates, most of them still must decide who will head to Denver this August. And, like so many things in this election, there’s loads of drama surrounding the process. Infighting, allegations, personal homophobia and potentially impotent DNC “gay delegate goals” may derail the whole process.

Editor Andrew Belonsky offers part one of an extensive two-part analysis, after the jump…

The Democratic party proved themselves relatively progressive last year when they passed the Shay Amendment. That measure, put forth by gay DNC member Garry Shays, originally requested that the party add gays and disabled voters to the party’s affirmative action guidelines, which would have been a tremendously powerful move.

Unfortunately, many leaders – particularly superdelegate Donna Brazile – scoffed at the idea and worried that such a push would take away seats from other constituencies, like Asians or African-Americans.

Rather than amending the affirmative action policies, Shay’s proposal birthed the aforementioned “gay goals:” lavender-tinged markers set by each state.

Some of you may be wondering why it matters to have queers in Denver. Well, aside from proving the Democratic parties inclusive nature, delegate participating guarantees gays a stake in the party’s platform, helps form the connections integral to national politics and, in some cases, inspires people to run for office.

That said, it should come as no surprise that the National Stonewall Democrats are using all their power – and over $60,000, at least $10,000 of which came from the DNC – to push the gay goals. To this end, the non-profit established Pride In The Party, headed by longtime Democratic activist Rick Boylan. Boylan and his peers have been having “productive” discussions with party leaders across the country, including in Washington DC, to ensure the Shay Amendment doesn’t fizzle.

Now that these states are finally selecting their individual delegates, however, there’s trouble brewing beneath the surface and we gays may find ourselves this election’s spoilers.

The trouble first crossed my desk when an anonymous source sent me a letter penned by Clinton-backing Jon Winkleman, a civil rights attorney who claims Obama locals in Louisiana were making a concerted effort to push potential gay delegate out of the process. Louisiana set its gay goal at five.

In addition to providing insight into campaign infighting, Winkleman also provides easily digestible background on the difference between regular delegates and “at-large” delegates, who help make up the difference for any underrepresented group. I’ve done editing for chronological reasons:

This year the Louisiana Democratic Party elected it first group of openly LGBT people to serve on the state committee and form a small but still groundbreaking LGBT caucus. Wonderful. [This weekend] the Louisiana state party [selected] at-large delegates for the convention. Traditionally if the numerical diversity goals aren’t met when delegates are elected in the state primary or caucus, the at-large delegates will make up for the difference.

As Obama had a strong win in Louisiana, his campaign gets to select most of the at large delegates. His campaign SHOULD be selecting three-to-four LGBT delegates from their total at large delegates. There are four LGBT running for at large to be pledged to Obama. However each campaign has the right to strike any name off the ballot they choose. Friends of mine in Louisiana have been told by Obama people in Louisiana that all of the LGBT delegates will be struck from the list. They verbally said such.

Obama supporters actively pushing against gay delegates? That definitely qualifies as a wildly distressing allegation, and one that had me wondering if Winkleman’s simply spouting partisan politics.