New LGBT Political Group Forms in Sonoma County

The Sonoma County Stonewall Democrats, a new club chartered by the Sonoma County Democratic Party, convened its first general meeting on Sunday, March 3 at the Unitarian Church in Santa Rosa. SCDP Chairman Stephen Gale welcomed members and guests to the meeting, noting in his remarks that the club’s founding represents an important opportunity to engage the county’s significant LGBT Community.

The Sonoma County Stonewall Democratsâ mission statement reads: ãOur mission is to advance equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. We will support public policies that advance that mission in the United States, the State of California, and Sonoma County. We will help elect qualified, openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to public office, as well as Democratic Party candidates that support equal rights for the LGBT community. We will work to sensitize and educate all Democratic candidates and office holders, the Democratic Party in general, and the community at large to the issues and concerns of the LGBT community. Conversely within the LGBT community, we will promote the Democratic Party’s broad message of economic justice and social equality.ä
Organizing Committee member, Petaluma City Councilman Gabe Kearney, reviewed the club’s mission and vision statements while meeting co-chairs Monty Sullivan (Penngrove) and Kevin Jones (Petaluma) invited new members to volunteer for committees focused on issues, events, and community outreach.

The meeting chairs highlighted two resolutions adopted by the Organizing Committee several weeks earlier. One encourages Rep Jared Huffman and Rep Mike Thompson to add their names as co-sponsors to the Reuniting Families Act, introduced last month in the U.S. House of Representatives. The act would remove certain immigration barriers that keep families apart, including families defined by same-sex relationships. A second resolution asks mayors in Sonoma County to join the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a coalition of over 300 mayors in more than 30 states supporting marriage equality. Ken Brown (Sonoma), David Glass (Petaluma), Susan Harvey (Cotati), and Susan Jones (Healdsburg) were acknowledged for having already signed on.

Also attending the meeting were Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Julie Combs, Cloverdale Vice Mayor Carol Russell, and SCDP 2nd Vice Chair Margaret Fishman, whose continuous encouragement made the Club’s formation a reality. Other Organizing Committee members of the Club include Caroline Pope, Bill Fishman, Colin Turek, Charlie Smith, Tony De Sousa, and Rob Willis.

SCSD member Colin Turek said: We will meet once monthly for now. We are in the process of filling leadership positions and forming committees, so we encourage everyone to get involved as soon as possible. If you are limited on time, not a problem- still join. There is no requirement regarding attendance or participation. Any and all contributions are valued.ä

The Club’s next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, April 7th at 2 pm. Dues are $20 for an individual and $25 for a couple. More information about the Club can found on its Facebook Page or by contacting the Organizing Committee at SonomaCountyStonewall@gmail.com.