This weekend, the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats will be screening candidates for endorsement for the March 4th, Democratic Primary election.
We have often been asked why we screen in contested Democratic races since, in the end, a Democrat will be on the ballot and that's really all that matters. The truth is that not all Democrats are created equal when it comes to issues of LGBT equality and youth participation.
Our organization was created with a process that allows us to engage candidates in conversations about the issues that matter to us. As an LGBT organization with a youth-focus, 2 of our obvious concerns are where candidates fall in their support (or lack thereof) of both of those constituent groups.
Although the Democratic Party platform was amended to support full marriage equality, and more often than not we see Democratic elected officials and candidates stepping up in support of equality without fear of repercussions - sadly, we still find ourselves in situations where people asking for our vote are uninterested and unconcerned with how far we still have left to go to reach a truly "perfect union".
Thankfully, in many cases, we are faced with difficult decisions regarding who to recommend for endorsements because most candidates do support our community.
At the end of the day, we want to elect people who speak up for the issues that they believe in and defend them whether it may open them up to attacks or not.
Screenings and endorsements in the Primary are of particular interest because we can help decide what our Democratic slate looks like heading into the November election. On top of that, these discussions open up important dialogues with candidates on issues that they may never face in their own lives, and help us build a firm foundation for continuing conversations about how elected officials affect the lives of real people here in Harris County and across Texas.
There really is no more important part of what organizations like HSYD do than the screening and endorsement process. These discussions present opportunities to sit down face-to-face with candidates asking for your vote and get them on the record on the issues that matter the most to you.