The Victory Fund gets it rightEditorial, Top Highlights Friday, September 28th, 2012
There was a bit of controversy around whether the Victory Fund should endorse City Councilman Carl DeMaio in the mayoral race. After all, DeMaio is gay and the Victory Fund’s purpose is to expand LGBT persons in elected and appointed office across the nation.
I applaud the Victory Fund’s apparent decision not to endorse DeMaio based upon its clearly outlined criteria for any endorsement. Their first criterion is that the person must be openly LGBT.
While some could argue that DeMaio is only open before certain audiences, I think at this point most people do know that DeMaio is in a committed relationship with Johnathan Hale.
The second criterion is that the candidate must have support from the community and a clear strategy to win. I think this is the area that was most problematic for a Victory Fund DeMaio endorsement.
The booing of DeMaio at the LGBT mayoral debate, coupled with similar boos when he marched at the Pride parade and appeared at the Hillcrest flag raising, probably raised concerns about community support of DeMaio’s candidacy.
In addition, not one LGBT elected official has come out for DeMaio and only one of the many LGBT city commissioners have come out in support of DeMaio’s candidacy.
Hale tried to muster support for his partner through a Facebook event page suggesting that people call the Victory Fund to express their love for DeMaio. The event was sent to thousands of people and reportedly only 12 people liked the page. The plan clearly backfired. Plus the U-T article outlining DeMaio’s lack of LGBT support further solidified the narrative that DeMaio is not supported by our community.
The third criterion is a candidate’s ability to demonstrate support of federal, state or local efforts to advance LGBT civil rights via the legislative or regulatory process. DeMaio’s only blemish in this area was his lack of support for needle exchange to prevent the spread of HIV.
The fourth criterion is to demonstrate support of efforts to safeguard privacy and reproductive freedom. Surprisingly at an event for the La Jolla Rotary Club, DeMaio described himself as a “gay, pro-choice, environmentalist.” I think that would be a surprise to many of the Tea Partiers in DeMaio’s base.
So all-in-all the Victory Fund got it right. It is not their mission to support any LGBT candidate but those that embody the criteria for the Victory Fund endorsement.
Of note is that six San Diegans are part of the Victory Campaign Board that decides endorsements; Jeff Jordan, Bob Mahlowitz, John Lipsey, Matt Stephens, Marcia Green and Linda Perine. Clearly, their voices were a significant part of the process.
Bravo, Victory Fund, bravo. Those who support their decision should go and donate to the Victory Fund to support their courage. Donations can be made at thevictoryfund.org
San Diego LGBT Weekly
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