March 9, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe's pick for the chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) was released last week and Democrats around the commonwealth don't think he's right for the job because of his views on marriage equality.
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones could soon be the new chair of the DPVA, but because he hasn’t taken a stance on marriage equality in the Commonwealth, Democrats around the state aren’t sure he’s the right choice.
“I stand with President Obama in full support of marriage equality and because of that I do have concerns about the candidacy of Mayor Jones as the chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia,” says Pam Baker DeGuzman, co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Party.
After Pres. Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage back in 2012, Mayor Jones, who is also a pastor in Richmond, released a statement saying:
"This is one issue that President Obama and I disagree on. Despite this disagreement however, I applaud the efforts and work of President Obama and his administration and I will do whatever I can to ensure he is re-elected."
Gov. McAuliffe decided to endorse Mayor Jones for chair several weeks after Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the state will no longer defend its constitutional ban on gay marriage.
But the governor explained during an interview on Friday that Mayor Jones wasn't picked for his stance on marriage equality, he was picked to help win elections.
“Mayor Jones' job is to help me go out and build the party, to raise money and to help us win elections and motivate people to go vote,” says Gov. McAuliffe.
Still there is plenty of opposition amongst Democrats statewide. Including a petition, with nearly 800 signatures, started by the LGBT Democrats of Virginia, saying that the Democratic Party chair should support marriage equality.
The state Central Committee will vote on the next chair of the DPVA on March 15th. Charniele Herring is the current chair.