Martha Knutzen, Alice Board, Co-Chair

Martha Knutzen, Alice Board, Co-Chair

By Marth Knutzen
Alice Board, Co-Chair

As I stood with my partner/spouse/wife in the Rotunda of City Hall on June 26th at 6:30 in the morning to wait with hundreds of others to hear the Supreme Court declare our “equalness,” as Fran succinctly said later, I took in the great significance of just being at this time in this place with all these people.

As the entire political family of San Francisco, led by Mayor Lee, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and Phyllis Lyon, descended down the stairs of the Rotunda, I thought : “Wouldn’t Harvey Milk have loved this!”  As most gay people know, he took enormous pleasure in bounding up those stairs as an elected Supervisor; because he could, and he thought we should, take those great, wonderful stairs, as he became our first elected Supervisor.  Here was the entire family of elected people, Mayors, Supervisors, Department Heads, Commissioners, all coming down to celebrate this moment with us.

And the second thing I thought was: Electing Democrats Matters.  As we absorbed these decisions, it was clear that the fact we had elected Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, who refused to press the case against us, was how we were granted the right to marry in California.

Then, I was very proud that I had spent the greater part of the last 20 years working with all the talented activists in the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club to elect those Democrats.  While credit for this great turning point in history goes to many people in all areas of activism, I feel very good about the work we did through an LGBT focused chartered Democratic Club to seek, endorse, support and elect Democrats ONLY if they supported LGBT issues.   As a Democratic Club, we ask all our candidates to respond to our questionnaires before they are endorsed.  Over the years, we have ensured no candidate gets our endorsement, gay or straight,  unless they back funding for AIDS/HIV projects, laws to fight discrimination against us in employment and housing, laws that protect our families and our property, and our rights to full marriage equality.  Our community depends on our club to ensure our candidates support those issues.  We then use the resources we have to get out the vote to elect those people.

I know that the reason the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club has grown and strengthened in power for over 40 years is because it is a Democratic Club.  People join it for the clear purpose of electing Democrats to office that support LGBT issues.  We provide an institution where people can learn the political skills necessary to maintain a strong voice in our government.  I know that we will survive for many years to come and I know that electing Democrats matters.

Next month, our PAC Committee Co-Chairs, David Augustine and Zoe Dunning, will run our endorsement process for our November 2013 Election.  Although most people will not become aware there is an election until late October, Alice members will have endorsed Democrats who support LGBT issues.  Our Finance team will have produced a slate card to mail and hand out to our community, and we will all work to get out the vote in our community.  We will continue to deliver candidates who deliver for us, because we know that Electing Democrats Matters and Alice Matters very much.

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