As a diverse group of democratic activists, we know that this party is the only one willing, committed and in a position to achieve the LGBT communities’ goals for equal rights and equal participation in our government: local, state and national.
We share the Democratic Party’s vision on a broad range of issues important to the LGBT community:
• equal opportunity for all
• protecting and expanding the rights of the poor, working people and minorities
• promoting freedom and responsibility for all
Among our activities are:
• lobbying the statehouse on issues of importance to the GLBT community
• providing financial support through our Political Action Committee (BSSD-PAC) to Democratic candidates who support GLBT issues
• participating on the Democratic State Committee, of which ten seats through our efforts are designated for GLBT representation
• securing representation of GLBT delegates to the Democratic State and National Conventions
Bay State formed and received the right to use “Democratic” in its name, by vote of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, in 1988. After several years of inactivity, Bay State incorporated as a Massachusetts non-profit corporation in 1995, created an affiliated political action committee, elected a new board of directors and has, in the past ten years, created a powerful Democratic organization in the Massachusetts gay and lesbian communities, as well as an effective counterweight to the gay Republican Log Cabin Club and the organized supporters of the Republican Weld and Cellucci Administrations. In addition, we worked closely with other gay and lesbian Democratic clubs across the country to form the National Stonewall Democratic Federation in 1998, now National Stonewall Democrats.
Elections: Endorsed and supported a number of State candidates in past elections. Conducted the successful 1996 Kerry for Senate campaign in the gay and lesbian community as well as the 1998 Harshbarger for Governor campaign, including fundraising, visibilities, phone banking, print media advertising, advance work and candidate event preparation. Worked in 1998 to elect the state’s first female Treasurer, Shannon O’Brien, phoned targeted gay/lesbian identified voters in selected races, solicited funds from gay/lesbian people for gay/lesbian-friendly candidates, AND helped to elect two of the state’s openly gay/lesbian State Representatives, Liz Malia (Boston) and Jarrett Barrios (Cambridge), the latter of whom was later elected to the State Senate. Our endorsement nights in various races continue to break down barriers between candidates and the community.
Barney Frank, ‘Barney’ recipient and BSSD co-founder Rep. Liz Malia, event co-chairs Mark Groman and Elyse Cherry, with ‘Barney’ recipient, Wisconsin Cong. Tammy Baldwin
Party Activism: Succeeded in lobbying the ’96 Massachusetts Democratic Convention to amend the Party Charter to reserve two seats on the Democratic State Committee for openly gay and lesbian Democrats. THEN in 1999 successfully lobbied to expand this representation to 10 seats (which passed in the State Committee by unanimous vote) to more adequately reflect our presence in the party and among voters and party activists! Also successfully lobbied the Committee for proportional representation of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people in the Massachusetts delegation to the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Our Board member Stephen Driscoll was voted an Elector to the Presidential Electoral College for the Democratic Party for the 2000 election, becoming the first openly gay state Elector in the country. BSSD Board Member and union activist Tom Barbera later became an Elector for Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. The 10 LGBT Democratic State Committee members were instrumental in getting the state party to write support for same-sex marriage into its 2005 State Party Platform, which passed by unanimous consent at the State Party Convention in Lowell just days before the one year anniversary of same-sex civil marriages in Massachusetts (May 17).
Legislation: Helped get the Massachusetts State Senate to pass domestic partnership legislation, which was stalled in the House when the State Supreme Judicial Court made its 2003 ruling mandating marriage equality. Met with the Senate President on issues of concern to gays and lesbians in Massachusetts, as well as with various other elected leaders on budget items of concern (safe schools, AIDS funding, gay/lesbian domestic violence). We helped defeat the Massachusetts Defense of Marriage Act and, later ‘Super-DOMA’… As a result of the decision allowing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, we have worked closely with MassEquality to insure that this right will not be denied or taken away by a constitutional amendment. After defeating an attempt to amend the state constitution by referendum in 2005. After dozens of votes, we finaly won in June 2007.
Celebration: Honored Congressman Barney Frank at the first biannual “Do Ask…Do Tell” Event in 1996. 300 attended the Sunday brunch event which included such distinguished politicos as Congressman Bill Delahunt, Congressman Edward Markey, Senator Lois Pines, Representative Paul Demakis, Congressman Jim McGovern, and State Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci. In 1999, we held our second “Barney Brunch and Awards” on September 26. That year’s honorees, Democratic leaders and activists who have furthered the rights of Gay and Lesbian Americans, were Senator Edward Kennedy, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, and State Representative Liz Malia. Congressman Barney Frank hosted the event, whose attendees included prominent Democratic Party officials and community leaders. A ‘Barney’ was handed out in 2003 at the BSSD Annual Summer Fun Fundraiser, to Union Activist and BSSD Board Member Tom Barbera. And in 2006 the ‘Barney’ awards were given to Boston activists Elyse Cherry, Henia Handler, and NSD National Co-Chair Stephen Driscoll. National Leadership Star Awards were presented to Tina And Melvin Pointdexter.
Bay State is a dues organization ($35/year), affiliated with the National Stonewall Democrats, which welcomes registered Democrats from across Massachusetts. With your membership in Bay State Stonewall Democrats, you also receive a membership in National Stonewall Democrats, the national organization of LGBT Democrats and Democratic clubs. BSSD Members elect a Board of Directors annually and there are various membership events throughout the year. The Board meets monthly; all are welcome to attend. BSSD also raises the funds for a PAC to help equality minded candidates throughout the Commonwealth.