Stonewall Democratic Club endorses Dean

Stonewall Democratic Club endorsed former Vermont Governor Howard Dean for president last week. They were the first New York City gay and lesbian club and one of the first Democratic clubs in the country to endorse in the presidential race. “This was a historic night for Stonewall,” said Tom Smith, Stonewall’s president. “We endorsed early, and we endorsed with a clear majority of members supporting Dean.”

According to Smith, Stonewall’s support for Dean stems from the candidate’s record, including his call for federal recognition of same-sex civil unions. “Stonewall members love the new energy Dean is bringing to the Democratic Party,” Smith said. “Other Democratic leaders were uninspiring at a time when Dean was already out there opposing the war, leveraging the Internet for fundraising and creating a genuinely grassroots movement.”

At the endorsement meeting, Councilmember Bill DeBlasio spoke for Senator John Edwards. Assemblymember Richard Gottfried spoke on behalf of Dean. Dennis Kucinich for President flew Mari Engelhardt, the campaign’s national L.G.B.T. organizer, from Cleveland to attend the meeting. Her comments were reportedly well received.

Former Stonewall board member Scott Isebrand said, “Kucinich totally has my heart. But we need to beat Bush, and that means using our heads. Unfortunately, Kucinich is probably unelectable against Bush.” He added, “Personally, I find it inexcusable that [John] Kerry’s campaign didn’t see fit to come. They were invited. Every campaign was invited.”

L.G.B.T. New Yorkers for Clark made a strong showing for retired General Wesley Clark. The campaign’s spokesperson, a teacher at Harvey Milk High School, argued that Clark was the candidate best suited to defeat President George W. Bush. The meeting, which drew between 75 and 100 people, was occasionally rambunctious. Clark’s spokesperson faced a forceful question regarding Clark’s past support for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. In rebuttal, a Stonewall member charged Harvey Milk had supported Barry Goldwater.