Thursday, June 04, 2009

victory for equality in new hampshire

Great news out of New Hampshire today! A true victory for equality!

The state legislature there voted to allow same-sex marriages, as long as religious groups were not forced to perform the ceremonies.

After rallies outside the Statehouse by both sides in the morning, the last of three bills in the package went to the Senate, which approved it 14-10 Wednesday afternoon.

Cheers from the gallery greeted the key vote in the House, which passed it 198-176. Surrounded by gay marriage supporters, Lynch signed the bill about an hour later.

''Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities -- and respect -- under New Hampshire law,'' Lynch said.
New Hampshire became the sixth state to recognize marriage equality, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine. California allowed same-sex marriage for part of last year, though voters amended the constitution there to prohibit such unions. Couples married before Prop 8 was enacted will still be technically married.

Rhode Island is currently the only state in New England where same-sex marriage is not legal. The New York Times expects a marriage equality bill to fail there this year.

Let's celebrate this victory in New Hampshire, but the fight is nowhere near over! Write your legislators and tell them to support marriage equality in your state. We've made it happen in six states- we can make it happen everywhere. Marriage is a civil right!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

diversity is a good thing: why sonia sotomayor is a good pick for supreme court

Ever since President Obama made his first Supreme Court pick last week, both sides of the political aisle have been discussing whether or not she is a good choice.

Here's a little info on Sonia Sotomayor, provided by Wikipedia:
Sonia Sotomayor is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sotomayor for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter. If confirmed, she would be the court's first Hispanic justice and third female justice.
That last sentence has caused quite a bit of controversy. Before she was even nominated, The New Republic published a hit piece on Sotomayor which was quickly distributed through the conservative community and became the meme when the issue was raised in debate. She was called the "affirmative action" nominee by Pat Buchanan. Bill O'Reilly and his panelists called Sotomayor's record "disturbing." But the worst condemnation of Sotomayor has come from something she said in 2001 when discussing gender and national origin:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

The White House is trying to play it off as "poor word choice," but she meant what she said. And it doesn't make her a racist in the slightest, as Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh would have you believe.

It isn't that hard to figure out. Diversity is a good thing. How could a group of nine white men always come to a decision for us all? The Supreme Court should be just as diverse and colorful as the United States- the people that represent us should look like us. It's not affirmative action and it's not choosing someone less qualified because of race or gender.

An American from Puerto Rican descent and humble beginnings may bring a world of different experience to the table when discussing an issue before the Court. She may not always have a better decision than a white male, but she could have a different take on it that could make someone look at it differently. And in a country with so many Hispanics, doesn't it only make sense that on a court of nine justices, at least one would be there representing the Hispanic community and their collective interests? The same goes for her being a woman: we've had women on the Court for years now, but it's because it only makes sense.

By all means, choose the most qualified candidate. But yes, I want a woman on the Court. And yes, I want blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, and Muslims to serve as well. There are plenty of highly-qualified minorities out there willing to serve in that capacity, and kudos to President Obama for choosing one of them. We need as many American voices in the mix as possible to find the truly American answer to any given question.

So yes, Limbaugh. et al. In some cases, your experiences that amass from not being a white male sometimes do make you uniquely more qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

maine becomes fifth state to recognize marriage equality

Another day, another state.

Today, same-sex marriage is now legal in Maine, the fifth state in the U.S. to recognize marriage equality. After both houses of the state legislature passed a marriage bill, Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill within an hour.

"I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage," said Baldacci, a Democrat.

But he raised the possibility that the residents of the state would overturn the law, saying, "Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people."

Three other states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa -- allow same-sex marriages. Vermont has passed a law making gay and lesbian marriages legal that takes effect in September. New Hampshire lawmakers are close to passing a similar bill.

On Tuesday, the Washington City Council voted to recognize same-sex marriages from states that allow those unions. Mayor Adrian Fenty has indicated that he will sign the measure. It will become law if Congress fails to overturn the measure during a 30-day review period.

Congratulations to those that worked hard for this victory in Maine, and we encourage other states on the verge, such as New Hampshire and New York, to come to similar conclusions. If conservatives really consider marriage equality to be a states' rights issue, then they won't mind if states continue to rule in favor of marriage equality.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

neil durrance announces campaign for congress

Chairman of the Denton County Democratic Party Neil Durrance has announced his intention to run for U.S. Congress in the 26th Congressional District in Texas.

Read the press release below.

Neil L. Durrance, an attorney and Chairman of the Denton County Democratic Party, today announced his campaign for Congress in the 26th Congressional District.

“For too long, Rep. Burgess has voted against the best interests of Texans. We need real leadership in Washington that puts partisanship aside to find solutions to the challenges we face. I will work with both Democrats and Republicans to turn the economy around, improve access to quality, affordable health care, and invest in the next generation of leaders by strengthening education.”

Mr. Durrance’s campaign will focus on bringing fiscal responsibility to government, creating jobs in the district, making educational opportunities available people of all ages, and improving health care.

Neil Durrance has practiced law since 1981, served as a City Council member, and was elected Chair of the Denton County Democratic Party in 2007. Filing with the FEC allows Mr. Durrance to begin the fundraising phase of the campaign. During this phase the organizational structure of the campaign, including staff, will be put in place. A formal public announcement is expected in late fall 2009.
Questions should be directed to

joe the plumber needs to go away

We've got a memo for Joe the Plumber.

The 2008 presidential election is over, John McCain lost, and nobody cares about you anymore.

Samuel Wurzelbacher, known affectionately during last year's campaign as Joe the Plumber, has decided to try and get another fifteen minutes in the spotlight. This time, he slurred gays and lesbians, saying he'd never allow "queers" near his children.
"Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do--what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing."
It's alright, Joe. Honestly, I understand that there are ignorant, prejudiced, redneck assholes out there and they're going to do their thing, but I wouldn't want them around the kids.

(P.S. We apologize that our site hasn't been updated in a while. Hopefully that'll change.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

the timetable: iraq war to end by august 2010

"By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," President Barack Obama promised today in a speech before a group of U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune.

As a candidate for President, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we've made and protect our troops. Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months.

Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.

As we carry out this drawdown, my highest priority will be the safety and security of our troops and civilians in Iraq. We will proceed carefully, and I will consult closely with my military commanders on the ground and with the Iraqi government. There will surely be difficult periods and tactical adjustments. But our enemies should be left with no doubt: this plan gives our military the forces and the flexibility they need to support our Iraqi partners, and to succeed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

State Board of Education Approves Science Standards Supporting Evolution

Overturning a controversial standard enacted twenty years ago, the Texas State Board of Education on Thursday dealt a huge blow to creationists by striking down requirements in the science curriculum standards to teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. The board apparently was persuaded by a panel of science educators who argued that the existing standard misrepresents the debate over the mechanisms of evolution to falsely imply that scientific consensus on the theory does not exist.

The "strengths and weaknesses" argument was added to the Texas science curriculum in the eighties due to pressure from religious conservatives. Today's tie vote of 7-7 narrowly repudiates the anti-science wing of the state board, led by home-schooler and Republican ringleader David Bradley.

The Texas Freedom Network's live blog has a rundown of the day's votes. On a key amendment, the following members, all Republicans, voted in favor of teaching the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution: Barbara Cargill, Ken Mercer, Cynthia Dunbar, Don McLeroy, Gail Lowe, Terri Leo and David Bradley.

Voting against the amendment were Mary Berlanga, Mavis Knight, Rick Agosto, and Lawrence Allen, all Democrats. In addition, Republicans Bob Craig, Pat Hardy and Geraldine Miller had the fortitude to buck the Republican leadership by also voting against the amendment. Rene Nunez (D- El Paso) was absent for the first vote but voted against a second, similar amendment introduced later in the proceedings.

Gail Lowe, representing Denton's own district 14, is quoted in the proceedings as saying, “There is no one opinion from science teachers or from science experts.” Actually, within the scientific community there is universal consensus on the validity of evolution. Read this statement from the National Academy of Sciences:
Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science [...] Documentation offered in support of these claims is typically limited to the special publications of their advocates. These publications do not offer hypotheses subject to change in light of new data, new interpretations, or demonstration of error. [...]

No body of beliefs that has its origin in doctrinal material rather than scientific observation, interpretation, and experimentation should be admissible as science in any science course [...] Science has been greatly successful at explaining natural processes, and this has led not only to increased understanding of the universe but also to major improvements in technology and public health and welfare. The growing role that science plays in modern life requires that science, and not religion, be taught in science classes.

The news was not all good. Two amendments pushed by the religious conservatives on the board managed to squeak through. One calls into question the "common descent" theory of evolution, and the second opens the door to the "young earth" fanatics by encouraging challenges to theories regarding “the structure, scale, composition, origin and history of the universe.”

The fight is not over. A second vote is scheduled for Friday, and the final vote on science standards is scheduled for March.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Celebrate Obama's Inauguration with the Denton County Democrats!

The Denton County Democratic Party will be hosting an Inauguration Party at the Prairie House in Denton on the evening of January 20th to celebrate the inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama. The Prairie House is located at 10001 Highway 380 in Denton, TX.

All Denton County Democrats are invited to attend. The event will be held from 6:30 until 10:30 pm. Attendees will view the inaugural celebrations and discuss the events of the day. There is no cover charge, and food and drink will be available at the expense of individual participants. The entire Prairie House has been reserved for the event.

Parties of eight or more wishing to reserve a table should contact the Prairie House directly at 940-440-9760. For further information on this or other Denton County Democratic Party sponsored events, contact the DCDP Events Chairman at 972-219-0401.

The Denton County Democratic Party urges all interested parties to come and celebrate “Change in America.”

Watch the following video and listen to President-elect Obama's Inaugural speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Then join the Denton County Democrats on this historic night as we proudly celebrate the inauguration of our 44th president.