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Openly Gay DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias Helps Open Democratic Convention

Openly Gay DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias Helps Open Democratic Convention

by Karen Ocamb on September 5, 2012

Openly gay DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias

There is so much to mull over after the powerful and moving opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Tuesday, Sept. 4.  Stars were born, base voters were energized, the world saw a sea of people who might look like them. But lest we forget in all the excitement, it is worthwhile for LGBT people to remember that the convention actually kicked off with a strong and moving message from Andrew Tobias, the longtime Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, who has been talking about money and equality for a very long time. (Full disclosure: I shared a stage with Andy and Rep. Barney Frank in 1999 when we were honored by LA’s Stonewall Democratic Club.)

Here are Andy’s remarks:

This is the fourth time I’ve had the honor to address you as your treasurer. And each time, I speak about the same two things: money and equality.

First: Money. The Democratic Party is the party of Social Security, federally insured bank accounts, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, workers’ rights, the minimum wage, Pell grants—and so much more that’s helped lift the American middle class.

The economy does significantly better under Democrats and so do investors. The stock market is up 58 percent since Barack Obama took office. And listen to this: If you had started in 1925 with $10,000 and invested it in the market only in the 44 years that Republicans held the White House, it would have grown—not counting dividends—to less than $30,000. But to more than $300,000 in the 44 years Democrats held the White House!

I favor the party that invests in the future and boosts the middle class and those aspiring to join it. I favor the party under whose leadership $10,000 grows to $300,000 instead of $30,000.

Second: Equality. The Democratic Party under the leadership of Barack Obama has dramatically improved the lives of millions of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual Americans and at no cost to anyone else.

In college, I thought I was the only guy in the world who liked other guys. Later I found there was someone else like me, our 26-year-old resident tutor. He and I never talked about it at the time. No one talked about being gay back then. People killed themselves over being gay. Tragically, some kids still do. But, the progress we have made. Eight weeks ago, I attended that young tutor’s wedding! To a guy! He and I never talked about it at the time. Love that had been unspeakable 46 years ago was celebrated by hundreds of people—straight and gay, surfers and senators.

In a way, it was a wedding that married my two topics—money and equality—because that young tutor had grown up to become the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Barney Frank.

Vote for equality, my friends. Vote for prosperity. Vote for Barack Obama. Vote Democrat.

Thank you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael Bedwell September 5, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Overall I was extremely moved, even thrilled by what we heard last night. AND shocked that the Party, after some four years of, depending on one’s perspective, pragmatism or cowardice, not only finally dared embrace marriage equality in the platform few read—in direct opposite of 1972 when someone from the platform committee was sent out on stage to publicly condemn the first gay rights plank to be voted on by a convention [so laden with homophobia that both the speaker and candidate McGovern repudiated its language a few days later]—but also gave the green light for not just repeated references to it [and with not a whiff of Obama's May states rights dodge] but CELEBRATION of it, including by the First Lady. But, I must also make two other observations. 1. Where’s the eloquent, courageous Democrat who was publicly pilloried for being EIGHT YEARS ahead of the Party and Obama himself on marriage equality: yes, former San Francisco mayor and current CA Lt. Gov.Gavin Newsom? 2. And where are the LGBT voices speaking for ourselves within the window of time that a sizeable percentage of Americans might actually be watching? Yes, Tobias and Cong. Jared Polis spoke yesterday—and in far better time slots than SF’s Jim Foster and Buffalo’s Madeline Davis were buried in at the ’72 covention [5 a.m.]—but before the networks most watch started their limited coverage. The case can be made that it’s strategically better to have our non-LGBT allies affirming our rights and dignity, but I’d still like to see some of our own in prime time. [I'm not certain when Tammy Baldwin is scheduled, but the average viewer in 2o08 had no idea she's gay.]


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