2015 Winter Membership Meeting

UPDATED: Register Now for Winter Membership Meeting

The Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus is pleased to announce plans for our upcoming Winter (Biennial) Membership Meeting and Board Elections, held February 7, 2015, in Gainesville, Florida!  The membership meeting will include the election of officers and other board members, the consideration of bylaws changes and a discussion about transgender inclusion and participation in the Caucus.  As always, there is no cost to attend the membership meeting.

Members attending the membership meeting are encouraged to register in advance. This will allow us an opportunity to prepare nametags and agenda materials. There is no fee to attend the membership meeting.

Click here to register online.

February 7, 2015, 1:00pm
Location: Pride Community Center of North Central Florida
3131 NW 13th Street, Suite 62
Gainesville, FL 32609

Join us as we prepare for victory in 2016!

View Nominee Bios and Election Procedures

Hotel Information: A special room rate of $89/night has been arranged at Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites, 2900 SW 13th Street, for the nights of February 6th and 7th. Click this link to make your reservation using our discount code. The special rate is only valid for the nights of February 6th and 7th and reservations must be made by January 28th.

Wedding Rings

Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus Statement on Arrival of Marriage Equality

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus proudly welcomes marriage equality to the great State of Florida and its LGBT residents! For years, same-gender couples have been denied full equality in this state where we live, play and pay taxes, but that has come to an end!

Last Tuesday, January 6, was just the beginning. Not only did couples all over the state of Florida finally get to say “I do,” but those who had previously tied the knot in other states or countries that already had marriage equality finally are able to have those marriages recognized by this state that we all love. It’ll also be a comfort to future same-gender couples to know that when they are ready, their state is ready to welcome them!

The economic impact of marriage equality here in Florida has the potential to be immense. With our tourism-based economy that includes our gorgeous beaches as well as famous tourist destinations, the table is set for Florida to experience a multi-million dollar economic boost from Floridians and tourists alike.

Politicians and activists who remain in opposition to marriage equality will be defeated at the polls. Florida is ready for marriage equality and those who attempt to keep fighting it will not be able to earn the votes of the next generation of voters. To that end, we urge Attorney General Pam Bondi to drop any and all remaining appeals and let court rulings in favor of equality stand!

Proposed Bylaws Changes and Procedures, 2015



BYLAWS OF THE
STONEWALL DEMOCRATS OF ALACHUA COUNTY
A Chapter of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus

ARTICLE I.  NAME

The name of this organization shall be the Stonewall Democrats of Alachua County (herein referred to as "the caucus.")

ARTICLE II.  PURPOSE

Section 1.  Purpose.  The purpose of this organization shall be to:
· encourage voter registration and stimulate active interest and participation in political and governmental affairs among LGBTLGBTQ Democrats;
· promote the candidacy of Democrats specifically committed to the principle that no individual shall be deprived of equal rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression and to encourage the passage of legislation securing such rights;
· strengthen and further the ideals and principals of the Democratic Party;
· support and elect duly selected nominees of the Democratic Party who are openly supportive of LGBT LGBTQ issues in national, state and local campaigns;
· ensure inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Democrats throughout and at all levels of the Democratic Party;
· foster a spirit of understanding of issues of interest to the extended community of sexual orientation minorities; and
· advocate issues of concern to the LGBT LGBTQ community and its supporters.

Section 2.  Mission
    The Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Alachua County is devoted to advancing equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. The caucus strives to: (1) identify, educate and activate the LGBTLGBTQ electorate and its supporters on Democratic Party principles in order to increase participation and turnout in elections for Democratic candidates, (2) inform the county Democratic Executive Committee and Florida Democratic Party about LGBT LGBTQ issues of relevance and where the Democratic Party platform stands on these issues, (3) recruit, support, elect and retain openly LGBT LGBTQcandidates, and candidates who are openly supportive of the LGBT LGBTQ community to elected office, and (4) advocate for equality based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Section 3.  Endorsements.  In all state-wide and local primaries, elections, or runoffs, whether partisan or non-partisan, where more than one Democrat is running for the same public office, the caucus may endorse (defined as endorsing, certifying, or recommending in any manner), and support a candidate.  No such endorsement shall be made prior to the close of the period of candidate qualifying.  Prior to being eligible to endorse, seventy five percent (75%) of all Board positions shall be filled, and the General Membership shall have held at least eight (8) meetings at which a quorum was present during the previous twelve (12) months.  To be endorsed, a candidate for a given office shall be recommended by a three fourths (3/4) vote of the total Board of Directors and such endorsement action shall be confirmed by a three fourths (3/4) vote of those present and voting at a General Membership special or regular meeting.  At no time will this organization support any non-Democrat against a Democrat in any election.

ARTICLE III.  MEMBERSHIP AND AFFILIATION

Section 1.  Membership and Associate Membership.  Any Democrat registered to vote in the State of Florida, supportive of the purpose and mission statement of this caucus, who wishes to participate actively in the caucus, and who pays dues as specified by the membership shall be a member.  No other residency restriction may be placed upon membership or the privileges of membership in this caucus.  Any Democrat, supportive of the purpose and mission statement of this caucus, registered in the State of Florida, but who cannot participate actively in the caucus, shall be an associate member, upon payment of dues specified by the Board.  Associate members may speak at caucus meetings and serve on committees, but shall not vote and shall not be counted in determination of a quorum. 

Section 2.  Friends of the Caucus.   Mindful of the need to reach out and the benefits of a policy of inclusion, a person who:
              (a) is not a Florida resident, or
              (b) is not eligible to register to vote in Florida,
but who subscribes to the purpose and mission of the caucus, shall be a “friend of the caucus,” upon payment of dues specified by the Board.  “Friends” may speak at meetings and assist on committees, but may not vote.

ARTICLE IV.  DUES

Section 1.  Annual Dues.  Annual dues for members, associate members, and “friends,” shall be set forth by the membership, payable to the Treasurer by December 31, for the ensuing year, or at time of becoming a member, for the remainder of that calendar year.  No later than September 30 of each year, the membership shall establish a dues schedule for each category of membership and affiliation for the ensuing year.  If such dues schedule is not established by September 30, the then-current dues schedule will continue in full force and effect.

Section 2.  Notification of Arrears and Effect on Status and Voting Privileges.  By January 31 of each year, the Secretary shall notify members, associate members, and friends who have not renewed their membership for that year.  Those members, associate members, and friends whose dues are not paid by March 1 shall be automatically placed in inactive status.  Provided notice had been sent to the members’ last known address, the voting privileges of those members in arrears will be suspended until dues are paid and they shall not be counted in determination of a quorum.

Section 3.  Resignation from Membership or Affiliation.  Members, associate members, or friends desiring to resign from the caucus shall submit their resignations in writing to the Secretary.


ARTICLE V.  OFFICERS

Section 1.  Officers.  The officers of the caucus shall be a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and such other officers as deemed necessary by the membership.  All officers shall perform the duties prescribed in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, the parliamentary authority for the caucus, as modified and amplified by these bylaws.

Section 2.  Term of Office.  All terms of office shall be for two (2) years, or until a successor is elected.  The terms of office shall commence at the close of the meeting at which they are elected.

Section 3.  Office-Holding Limitations.  The President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall serve no longer than two terms in the same office.  No member shall hold more than one office at a time.

Section 4.  Publicizing Elections.  In order to fully and adequately inform prospective and current members of the election of caucus officers, the caucus shall publicize election procedures fully, timely, and in such a manner as to assure notice to all interested Democrats.


ARTICLE VI.  DUTIES OF OFFICERS

Section 1.  President.  The President shall preside at all meetings of the caucus, and Board of Directors, and shall be ex-officio member of all committees (except the Nominating and Audit committees).  The President, or the President’s designee from among the members of the Board, (a) shall represent the caucus at county, district, state and national meetings and functions and (b) shall act as the only official spokesperson for the caucus and represent it whenever necessary.  The President shall refer any questions for study to the appropriate committee and shall provide guidance to the committee chairs in their work.  The President shall perform all other duties pertaining to the office of President, as directed by the Board of Directors.

Section 2.  Vice President.  The Vice President shall assist the President in the discharge of the President’s duties; shall maintain a current list of members, associate members, and friends with addresses, precinct numbers, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, as well as committee assignments and shall assume the office of the President in the absence, or inability to serve, of the President.  The Vice President shall chair the Strategic Planning Committee and shall be responsible for oversight of outreach to attract new members.

Section 3.  Secretary.  The Secretary shall keep an accurate record of all meetings of the caucus, and Board of Directors; shall be custodian of all records of the caucus (except those assigned to other officers or committee chairs by these bylaws); and shall maintain the caucus bylaws with any amendments properly recorded, as well as special rules of order, and standing rules.  All records of the caucus shall be available for inspection by members and associate members, upon written request to the President.  The Secretary shall issue the call of meetings, assist the President in preparing an order of business, and --- in the absence of the President or Vice President --- shall call a meeting to order, until a Chair pro tempore is elected. The Secretary shall chair the Communications and Bylaws Committees

Section 4.  Treasurer.  The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all funds of the caucus; shall keep an accurate record of receipts and expenditures; shall present a written statement of all income, expenditures, accounts payable, and income receivable since the previous meeting of the caucus; shall present such interim or special reports, as required by the Board; and shall prepare an annual statement of expenses and receipts to be presented at the Annual meeting in February.  All financial statements and reports shall be in writing and made available to Board members, to the extent practicable, at least a week in advance of meetings.  The annual financial statement, and such other records as from time-to-time, the Audit Committee requires, shall be audited by the Audit Committee, and the Treasurer shall provide any detail or records so required.  The Treasurer shall disburse funds as authorized by the Board or membership.  Checks may be signed by the Treasurer or the President.  The Treasurer shall chair the Finance Committee.

Section 5.  Loyalty Oath.  Officers and Directors shall execute a loyalty oath, in the form and manner prescribed by rules of the Florida Democratic Party, immediately upon taking office or as soon thereafter as possible (within thirty [30] days), before the discharge of their duties.  Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, failure to comply shall result in immediate forfeiture of office.

Section 6.  Maintenance of Membership.  All officers and directors shall pay dues for the ensuing year by December 31.   Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, failure to comply shall result in immediate forfeiture of office.

Section 7.  Caucus Records.  All records created and maintained by officers in the discharge of their duties shall be the exclusive property of the caucus.  Officers shall be custodians of such records during their term of office and shall physically present them at the meeting called to elect officers (or at such other time as their term ends) to ensure the smooth transfer of all records to succeeding officers upon election of their successors.


ARTICLE VII. GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS OF THE CAUCUS

Section 1.  Regular Meetings.  There shall be at least ten regular general membership meetings of the caucus each year held monthly on the 4th Thursday of the month unless otherwise ordered by the caucus or the Board of Directors.  a date determined by the membership. 


Section 2.  Special Meetings.   Special meetings may be called by the President or upon written request of a majority of the Board of Directors, and shall be called upon written request of twenty (20) percent of the membership.  The purpose of the meeting shall be stated in the call.  The stated purpose shall be the only business conducted at such special meetings.  One week's notice of the special meeting shall be provided to the members.

Section 3.  Annual and Biennial Meetings.  The annual meeting each year shall be held during the regularly scheduled meeting in February.  Every odd numbered year, the Annual Meeting shall include elections of officers and directors as outlined in Article IX of these bylaws and shall also be known as the Biennial meeting.

Section 4.  Quorum.  Twenty (20) percent of the caucus membership shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special meeting.  A majority vote is necessary to carry motions, except as otherwise provided in these bylaws.

Section 5.  Meetings Open to All Democrats.  The time and place for all regular, annual, biennial, or special meetings of the caucus shall be publicized fully and in such manner as to assure timely notice to all interested persons.  Meetings shall be open to all members of the Democratic Party regardless of race, color, creed, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, or physical disability.  All meetings shall be in a facility accessible to the physically handicapped.

Section 6.  Voting.  No voting at a meeting of the caucus shall be by secret ballot.  Proxy voting at general membership meetings of the caucus shall be prohibited.


ARTICLE VIII.  BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section 1.  Board Composition.  The Board of Directors shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and two additional at large members elected by the caucus membership.

Section 2.  Duties and Powers of the Board.  The Board of Directors shall have full power and authority over the affairs of the caucus, except those specifically reserved to the General Membership in these bylaws.  The Board shall be subject to the orders of the General Membership of the caucus, and none of its acts shall conflict with action taken by the General Membership of the caucus.

Section 3.  Board Meetings.  Unless otherwise ordered by the Board; meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held monthly.   Special meetings may be called by the President, and shall be called within twenty (20) days upon written request of one-third (1/3) of the Board.

Section 4.  Quorum.  A majority of the members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5.  Voting.  No vote at a Board meeting shall be taken by secret ballot.  Proxy voting shall not be permitted in accordance with Florida Democratic Party Bylaws.

ARTICLE IX.  ELECTIONS

Section 1.  Nominations and Elections of Board of Directors.

A.        At the Biennial meeting held in February during odd numbered years, members will elect the Board of Directors.
B.        In November of each even numbered year, the President shall appoint a Nominating Committee, comprised of three members.  The duty of this committee shall be:
1.     to publicize the elections and qualifications for candidacy,
2.     to recruit members for each position,
3.     to ensure the eligibility (consistent with these bylaws) for all members seeking office,
4.     after ascertaining their eligibility and willingness to serve, to nominate at least one candidate for each position to be filled at the biennial meeting,
5.     to conduct the elections process.
No Nominating Committee member may be nominated or elected to any position filled at              the biennial meeting.

C.    At the biennial meeting in February, the Nominating Committee shall report on nominations received to date and then accept further nominations from the floor.

D.    Prior to the biennial meeting, the Nominating Committee shall prepare one ballot for each position, with the names of the duly qualified candidates.  Each ballot will be printed with the name of the caucus on the top, followed by the position to be voted upon, with the candidates’ names printed on the ballot.  There will be a blank line or lines provided for each office, for additional nominations from the floor.  At the bottom of the ballot, there will be two blank lines to be completed by the voter, with the voter’s signature and printed name.

E.    Voting will be by open ballot in accordance with Florida Democratic Party rules.  Members must be present to vote; absentee or proxy voting is prohibited.  The Nominating Committee shall preside over and conduct the election process.  As nominations from the floor shall be in order, voters may write in candidates’ names and vote for the preferred candidate.  Following each vote, the Committee shall collect and count the ballots, utilizing additional tellers, as necessary, and will announce the results at the end of the count.  A majority of those present and voting shall be required for election; the nominee receiving the lowest number of votes shall be removed from the next ballot.  The Committee shall afford any candidate the right to a recount, after which the Committee shall certify the results.

F.     To be eligible to vote, participate in elections, and be a candidate at the biennial meeting, a new member must have been a member forty-five (45) days prior to that meeting. 

G.    If a candidate for a Board of Directors position is unopposed or the number of candidates equals or is less than the number of officers to be elected, such candidates may be elected by acclamation.

H.    The Secretary shall retain all ballots, available for inspection, for a period of three (3) years, after which the ballots may be destroyed.


ARTICLE X.  VACANCIES AND REMOVAL

Section 1.  Vacancy of President.  If a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.  Other Vacancies.  Vacancies created by removal shall be immediately filled at the same meeting.  The President shall fill other vacancies, on an acting basis, until the next meeting of the general membership.  At such meeting, after nominations from the floor, the position shall be filled for the remainder of the term.  Election shall be by open ballot; members shall indicate their choice for the vacancy and shall sign and print their own name.  Election may be by acclamation, if only one person is nominated for the position.  The Secretary shall retain all ballots for a three years period from the date of election, after which the ballots may be destroyed.

Section 3.  Removal.  Any member of the Board of Directors may be removed upon two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members at any regular or special general membership meeting after thirty (30) days notice to the membership that a motion for the purpose of removal of said member will be considered at the regular or special meeting.  The removal may be for causes including, but not limited to, malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, abandonment of office, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, supporting a non-Democrat against a Democrat in an election, and conviction of a felony.  Any absence from four (4) Board meetings shall constitute neglect of duty.  Unexcused absences from two consecutive regular Board meetings shall constitute abandonment of office.


ARTICLE XI.  STANDING COMMITTEES

Section 1.  Standing Committees.  The Standing Committees shall be Bylaws, Finance, Strategic Planning, Membership, Campaign, Communications, Audit, and Nominating.

Section 2.  Bylaws Committee.  The Bylaws Committee, chaired by the Secretary, shall recommend such changes in the bylaws as appear necessary and feasible from time to time.

Section 3.  Finance Committee.  Promptly after the November meeting, the President shall appoint a Finance Committee, comprised of the Treasurer and at least two other members, which shall prepare a budget for the ensuing calendar year, to be submitted to the General Membership in January for approval.  The Committee shall develop a fundraising plan, recommend manners of fundraising, and coordinate all such fundraising activities.

Section 4.  Strategic Planning Committee.  The Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by the Vice President, shall develop a strategic framework document for Board approval.  Thereafter, it shall maintain, update, and revise the plan as necessary, coordinate with other committees to ensure congruence with the plan, and shall monitor achievement against plan benchmarks.

Section 5.  Membership Committee.   The Membership Committee, chaired by the Vice President, shall ensure that all persons wishing membership are, in fact, registered Democrats in Florida within twenty (20) days of their application; shall maintain permanent membership records and shall organize membership campaigns. 

Section 6.  Campaign Committee.  The Campaign Committee shall work toward the election of Democratic candidates, including local, county, state and national candidates. It shall support voter registration efforts, serve as a clearinghouse for candidates’ request for volunteers, and mobilize the general caucus membership and LGBT LGBTQcommunity at large to vote.  The Campaign Committee shall report on the status of candidates and issues, recommending actions (including endorsements) as appropriate.

Section 7.  Communications Committee.  The Communications Committee, chaired by the Secretary, shall see that all activities, including meetings, are advertised to the membership.  It shall ensure that caucus members are informed on issues and upcoming activities.  It shall also develop and maintain a caucus website, subject to Board approval.

Section 8.  Audit Committee.  The Audit Committee, comprised of at least three members (none of whom may serve on the Finance Committee), shall be appointed within thirty (30) days of the February meeting.  The duty of the committee shall be to audit the Treasurer’s books, the annual financial report, or any other reports required to be audited by the President, Board, or general membership.  The President and Treasurer may not serve on such committee, although they may be called upon and shall be required to provide any and all information requested by the committee to discharge its duties.

Section 9.  Nominating Committee.  The President shall appoint a Nominating Committee, whose duties are defined in Article IX, Section 2 of these bylaws.

Section 10.  Committee Records and Reports.  All records created and maintained by standing or special committees in the discharge of their duties shall be the exclusive property of the caucus.  Every committee shall keep an accurate, complete, and permanent record of its proceedings, including membership attendance at all meetings of the committee.  Committee chairs shall be custodians of such records, shall make copies of all records quarterly for submission to and retention by the Secretary, and shall transfer all records to succeeding chairs upon the appointment of their successor.  All committees shall make written reports to the President and to the general membership, as requested or upon initiative of the individual committee chair. 

ARTICLE XII.  SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Section 1.  Creation of Special Committees.  Special committees may be created (a) by the President, (b) by petition of twenty (20) percent of the members attending a general membership meeting, or (c) by petition of fifty (50) percent of the members of the Board.  The size of such special committees shall be determined (a) by the President if formed at the President’s initiative, (b) by majority vote of the general membership meeting if formed by member petition, or (c) by a majority of the Board if formed by Board member petition.

Section 2.  Membership of Special Committees. For special committees created by either member or Board member petition, the President shall appoint, within ten (10) days, not more than half of the members of such special committees and the remainder shall be nominated and elected by a majority vote of the members attending the general membership meeting or by a majority vote at the Board meeting at the general membership or Board meeting at which the petition is presented.

Section 3.  Special Committee Chairs.  For special committees created by the President, the President shall appoint the chair.  For special committees created by petition, such committees shall have an organizational meeting called by the Secretary within thirty (30) days after the election of committee members, at which organizational meeting, they shall elect, by a majority vote, a chair and vice-chair.

Section 4.  Special Committee Records and Reports.  Special committees shall make reports and keep records in the same manner as outlined for standing committees in these bylaws.

Section 5.  Discharge of Special Committees.  Special committees may be discharged when the President has determined that their function has been fulfilled, except that special committees created by petition must only be discharged by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the body (i.e., general membership or Board) that elected the members.

Section 6.  Term of Service.  The Chair and members of the special committee shall serve a term of not more than two (2) years, commencing when appointed or elected and ending at the earlier of (1) the biennial elections meeting after which they were appointed or elected, or (2) the date when discharged.  The term of service may be extended by the President, or a majority vote of either the general membership meeting or the Board.  Such members may be reappointed or reelected, without limit on the number of successive terms they may serve.

Section 7.  Removal of Elected Members.  Any chairperson or member of a special committee, who is not appointed by the President, may be removed from such committee in the same manner as provided for the removal of officers as described in these bylaws.

Section 8.  Vacancies of Elected Members.  Vacancies of elected members shall be filled by the Board, immediately, but no later than the next meeting after the creation of a vacancy.


ARTICLE XIII.  FINANCES

Section 1.  Receipts.  All dues, contributions, receipts from fundraising activities, and any other funds received shall be deposited in the name of the caucus in a qualified banking institution in the State of Florida designated by the President, in consultation with the Treasurer.  A newly elected President shall not change an existing banking institution, except for cause and with the approval of the Board.


Section 2.  Disbursements.
A.              By its adoption of a budget, the membership shall establish the maximum amounts that may be expended for each activity or item of expense.  Any expenditure in excess of these amounts is not authorized and shall require prior approval, by budget amendment, by the membership.  Any individual disbursement in excess of two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any one payee shall require Board or general membership approval.
B.              Any authorized disbursement shall be made upon the signature of the President or Treasurer.
C.              Petty cash disbursements may not exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00) in any one calendar month.  All petty cash disbursements shall be made upon the signature of the President or the Treasurer.

Section 3.  Records.  An annual financial report showing the receipts and disbursements of the caucus for the preceding calendar year, and its assets and liabilities shall be prepared in writing and signed by the Treasurer for presentation to the membership at the Annual Meeting.  It shall be submitted to the Audit Committee, no later than forty-five (45) days after the Annual Meeting.  The Audit Committee shall provide its findings to each of the next following meetings of the Board and general membership.


ARTICLE XIV.  PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

The rules contained in the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the caucus in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws, the rules of the Florida Democratic Party, and the Democratic National Committee.


ARTICLE XV.  MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Section 1.  Caucus Charter Recertification. At the time appointed by the Florida Democratic Party Committee on Clubs, Organizations, and Caucuses, the caucus shall provide requested records for recertification by the Florida Democratic Party.  Failure to maintain certification may result in loss of permission to use the word "Democrat," “Democratic,” or any derivative thereof.

Section 2.  Caucus Dissolution.  In the event the caucus chapter wishes to dissolve, a resolution stating the date of dissolution and reasons therefor shall be adopted by a majority vote at a general membership meeting of the caucus chapter, after being submitted in writing at the previous meeting. When the caucus chapter disbands for any reason, the chapter assets and funds, after all debts are satisfied, shall become the property of the Florida GLBT Democratic caucus.

Section 3.  Grievances.  Disputes and grievances may be resolved by the President, Board of Directors, by the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus or by the Florida Democratic Party Central Committee whose decision shall be final, unless appealed to the Judicial Council of the Florida Democratic Party within forty-five (45) days from the date of said decision.  The Board of Directors shall prescribe a disputes and grievance procedure to designate the roles and authority of the President and Board of Directors, as well as the use of other members (not parties to the dispute or grievance), who may individually or collectively mediate and/or investigate the issue.

Section 4.  Written Notice.   Where required by these bylaws, notification in writing shall include communication by e-mail.


ARTICLE XVI.  AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

Section 1.  Amendment Process.  These by-laws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote at any regular or special general membership meeting pursuant to notification in writing ten (10) days prior to the meeting.  The text of any proposed bylaws amendment shall be submitted to the Board and Bylaws Committee at least sixty (60) days prior to such meeting.  The Bylaws Committee shall review such proposed amendment and provide a written report and recommendations to the Board and membership.  The exact language of the proposed amendment, the written report of the Bylaws Committee, and the recommendation, if any, by the Board shall be included in the notification of the meeting.  Bylaws and any changes or amendments thereto, together with copies of the minutes of the meeting at which they are adopted, shall be filed with the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus within thirty (30) days following adoption.

Section 2. Effective Date.  All amendments shall take effect immediately, but shall be subject to approval by the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus and the Florida Democratic Party Central Committee.  Any amendment or change, which is not approved, shall be deleted from the bylaws.  Actions taken pursuant to such unapproved amendment or changes shall be null and void.
                        
ARTICLE XVII. ENDORSEMENT PROCESS
Section 1.  Candidate Endorsements. The Stonewall Democrats of Alachua County have made a firm commitment to endorse and support Democratic candidates who will work to further the mission of Stonewall Democrats. In all state-wide and local primaries, elections, or runoffs, whether partisan or non-partisan, where more than one Democrat is running for the same public office, the caucus may endorse (defined as endorsing, certifying, or recommending in any manner), and support a candidate.  No such endorsement shall be made prior to the close of the period of candidate qualifying.
Section 2.  Endorsement Process. The endorsement process will be developed by the By Laws Committee and submitted to Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will be required to approve this process by a 60% of the vote.



 Stonewall Democrats of Alachua County
Endorsement Procedures
1.     Endorsement of any Democratic candidate will be based on the following criteria: Viability (Campaign donations and expenditures), Voting History (Incumbents or previously elected officials), public statements, campaign internet/social media content and questionnaires/interviews (if required).

2.     In order for the SDAC to endorse Democrats in any election cycle the organization must:
a.      Hold a current certification from the LGBT Caucus of the Florida Democratic Party.
b.     Meet the meeting requirement set forth in Article 7 of these bylaws.
c.      Have at least three officer’s position filled.

3.     At the January meeting of any election cycle the general membership by a 60% vote will determine if the endorsement process will include interviews or questionnaires or both for candidates.

4.     At the end of the qualifying period the President or their designee will contact each of the Democrats running for office within Alachua County. If candidates file earlier than the qualifying period the President or their designee may follow this process in an earlier time period. They will ask if the candidate is interested in receiving the endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats of Alachua County. If the candidate would like to seek the endorsement the following will occur:

a.      A verbal explanation of the process. If requiring a questionnaire then an email address will be attained and questionnaire sent to candidate.
b.      If requiring an interview then the candidate will be scheduled at the next general meeting. If there is no regular meeting scheduled then a special meeting will be called in accordance with these bylaws.

5.      At the conclusion of all interviews/questionnaires the President will schedule the next meeting or a special meeting to complete the endorsement process. In preparation for the endorsement meeting the President shall:
a.      Send the membership the completed questionnaires or notes from the interviews.
b.      Include the notice of endorsement meeting date and time.
c.      Include the endorsement meeting process and agenda.


6.     The Secretary will be responsible for compiling a list of eligible members that can vote at the endorsement meeting. To be eligible to vote a member must be:

a.      Current in their dues
b.     Attended at least 50% of the meetings during the previous calendar year or if a new member 50% of the meetings from their membership date.

7.      At the scheduled endorsement meeting the process will be:
a.      Each member’s eligibility to vote will be verified by the Secretary.
b.      A quorum of those eligible to vote will be established by the President.
c.      The endorsement process will follow Roberts Rule of Order.
d.      Each endorsement will require a 60% favorable vote of members present.
e.      In addition a second vote will take place for the purpose of designating funds to endorsed candidates. This vote will take a simple majority.
The President or their designee will contact the endorsed candidates within two days of the endorsement meeting. They will explain appropriate us of the endorsement for their campaign. They will also share the SDAC logo with the candidates for their use in campaign materials and web content mm. They will also discuss what campaign activities the membership of Stonewall Democrats can participate.





2014 Accomplishments

Voter Outreach

• With our organization’s mission to elect pro-equality candidates, our Political Action Committee interviewed candidates for local, county and state offices, and our members voted to endorse 21 candidates. Of those endorsements, 10 candidates were elected including: LGBT candidate Michael Smith – reelected to the Largo City Commission against an anti-gay candidate; Linda Lerner – a long-time advocate for LGBT issues reelected over a right-wing candidate; and former Largo mayor Pat Gerard – a LGBT supporter whose election gives Democrats a majority on the County Commission for the first time in 50 years.

• Our 2014 Endorsement Victories: (*Stonewall Dems member)
- Joe Barkley* — Belleair Bluffs City Commission
- Julie Bujalski — Dunedin, Mayor
- Yolanda Roman* — Gulfport City Council
- Michael Smith* — Largo, City Commission, Seat 1
- Smamatha Fenger — Largo, City Commission, Seat 3
- Linda Lerner — School Board, Dist. 6
- Rene Flowers — School Board, Dist. 7
- Dwight Dudley — State House, Dist. 68
- Darryl Rouson* — State House, Dist. 70
- Pat Gerard* — County Commission, Dist. 2

• Our Stonewall PAC donated $7,100 in direct contributions to our 19 endorsed candidates and received $6,300 in contributions from over 85 individuals to support our political activities. We held two successful fundraising events: one was hosted by St Petersburg City Councilmember Darden Rice and attended by all of our Pinellas Democratic elected officials, and another was held at Georgie’s Alibi, a “Professional Member” of the Stonewall Democrats.

• We sent over 1,500 “Get Out the Vote” mailers to households for the November General Election, with support by a grant from the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus. The mailer promoted 17 equality candidates and provided information on the state amendments and county referendum.

• Our first Stonewall Democrats Judicial Candidate Forum in July was attended by all of the judicial candidates. As a result, we recommended five of the candidates for election.

• In addition to our Pinellas candidates, our chapter made financial contributions to support the Pinellas Democratic Party and its Victory Fund, the Pinellas Voters Fund, and an event for Attorney General candidate George Sheldon.

• Our members were involved in many of campaigns and GOTV efforts and also made thousands of phone calls on behalf of our endorsed candidates and recommended issues.

Community Involvement and Education

• Over our nine years, the Stonewall Democrats have advanced LGBT rights through our political work, as well as our community involvement and education activities. This year saw historic advancement of pro-equality policies in county and municipal areas of government.

• By our work to elect St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and pro-equality city council members, the City of St Petersburg has now received a 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign based on LGBT inclusion in local laws and policy. Under the new leadership, the city is actively advancing LGBT rights and recognition — including the Mayor raising a rainbow flag over City Hall for June as Pride Month, and signing onto the Mayors for Freedom to Marry pledge. St. Petersburg has expanded its domestic partner health benefits to all employees, and has LGBT liaisons within city government and the police department.

• We had a significant presence at St Pete Pride — the largest Pride event in Florida. The Stonewall Democrats were nominated as the Community Organization Grand Marshal, and our member, Darden Rice, was named the Female Grand Marshal. Our parade float highlighting our pro-equality candidates (“Our Stars are Out for Equality”) won the “Priscilla Award” (Best Non-Profit) and was featured on the cover of the Tampa Bay Times. Our booth at the street festival provided information about our endorsed candidates and our members helped raise over $2,500 staffing a beverage booth.

• We set a new record in 2014 with nearly 160 members. We are one of the largest chapters in the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus and our members hold several leadership positions with the state organization.

• Many of our members serve as members of the Pinellas Democratic Party. In December, our President, Susan McGrath, was elected as the county’s new Democratic Party Chair. All of the county party’s officers are Stonewall Democrats members. In addition, our members represent our county as members of the Florida Democratic Party and hold positions within that organization.

• As part of our work, the Stonewall Democrats help educate candidates and elected officials about issues important to the transgender community. At our November meeting, we marked the Transgender Day of Remembrance with a special program and speaker.

• Our organization supports the community in many ways. In September we sponsored a team for AIDS Walk Tampa Bay that raised over $1,850. We also donated $500 for Gay Days, $250 to Doctors for America, and $200 to participate in the January 2015 MLK Parade in St Petersburg.

• Our annual Holiday Party draws approximately 200 guests and is well attended by Democratic elected officials from across Pinellas County

FDP Statement on Marriage Equality in Florida

Today, Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant made the following statement on the end of Florida’s ban on marriage equality:

“I want to extend my congratulations to Florida’s gay and lesbian couples who are finally able to enjoy marriage equality. While the fight was not easy, equality and justice have prevailed in the Sunshine State. I am so proud of the tireless efforts of those who championed LGBT rights day in and day out for years.

“While thousands of LGBT couples will get married across the state over the coming days and weeks, there are still a dozen counties with Clerks of Court who are refusing to conduct courthouse marriages in a final, futile attempt to hold back equality. This shameful stunt by a few desperate and out-of-touch politicians who are showing disrespect for the rights of all Floridians. These clerks need to do the job they swore to do, or step aside and allow all Floridians to marry.”

Manatee County Clerk to Begin Issuing Marriage Licenses on Jan. 6th

The Manatee County Clerk of Courts will begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples, including same-sex couples, on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, according to an update on the Clerk’s official website.

The changes sweeping across Florida’s Clerks of Courts comes on the heels of a federal district court order yesterday that clarified the unconstitutionality of Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.06.55 PM

Screen Shot of Manatee County Clerk’s website, Jan. 2, 2015

The Clerk’s office will be open on Tuesday, January 6th, starting at 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. — the office’s normal business hours.

In other news, earlier this week, Publix announced it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses.

 


Federal Court Issues Ruling Confirming Unconstitutionality of Florida’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The federal trial court with jurisdiction over the issue has issued a clarification of its earlier ruling on gay marriage in Florida.

The January 1, 2015 order in Brenner et al v. Scott, etc., et al, “holds unconstitutional the Florida ban on same-sex marriage,” “does not require the Clerk to issue licenses to other applicants,” “but as set out in the order that announced issuance of the preliminary injunction, the Constitution requires the Clerk to issue such licenses. As in any other instance involving parties not now before the court, the Clerk’s obligation to follow the law arises from sources other than the preliminary injunction.”

The case involves a same-sex couple seeking a marriage license in Washington County in northern Florida.  The consolidate case also includes other same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions wishing to see their marriages legally recognized in Florida, and an association representing similar individual.

The order further notes, “There should be no debate, however, on the question whether a clerk of court may follow the ruling, even for marriage-license applicants who are not parties to this case.”

The full ruling is published below, and is available here, courtesy of Equality Florida.

Additional resources:

ACLU Press Release

Blog Statement, Equality Florida

****

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE DIVISION

JAMES DOMER BRENNER et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

RICK SCOTT, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

CONSOLIDATED CASE NO. 4:14cv107-RH/CAS
_________________________________/

ORDER ON THE SCOPE OF THE
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

In this consolidated case, the plaintiffs challenge provisions of the Florida
Constitution and Florida Statutes banning same-sex marriage. Two plaintiffs are
unmarried; they seek issuance of a Florida marriage license. The other plaintiffs
are individuals (and an association representing individuals) who were married in
other jurisdictions and seek recognition of their marriages in Florida. The
defendants, all in their official capacities, are the Secretary of the Florida
Department of Management Services, the Florida Surgeon General, and the Clerk
of Court of Washington County, where the two unmarried plaintiffs reside.

A preliminary injunction is in place and has been for more than four months.
It holds unconstitutional the Florida ban on same-sex marriage. Now the Clerk has
filed an emergency motion to clarify the preliminary injunction. She asks whether
the injunction requires her to issue marriage licenses to all qualified same-sex
applicants or only to the two unmarried plaintiffs.

The founders of this republic adopted a Constitution and a system for its
enforcement. When there are disagreements about what the Constitution requires,
those who are affected may seek a definitive ruling in court. These plaintiffs did
that in this case. The Secretary and Surgeon General—as duly empowered
officials of the State of Florida, represented by the Attorney General—joined issue.
So did the Clerk. The result was an explicit ruling that Florida’s same-sex-
marriage ban is unconstitutional.

The United States Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals had stayed
similar rulings in other cases. I stayed the ruling in this case while those stays
were in effect and for 91 more days—long enough to allow the defendants to seek
a further stay in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and, if
unsuccessful there, in the United States Supreme Court. The defendants did that.
They lost. The United States Supreme Court allowed the ruling in this case to take
effect.

History records no shortage of instances when state officials defied federal
court orders on issues of federal constitutional law. Happily, there are many more
instances when responsible officials followed the law, like it or not. Reasonable
people can debate whether the ruling in this case was correct and who it binds.

There should be no debate, however, on the question whether a clerk of court may
follow the ruling, even for marriage-license applicants who are not parties to this
case. And a clerk who chooses not to follow the ruling should take note: the
governing statutes and rules of procedure allow individuals to intervene as
plaintiffs in pending actions, allow certification of plaintiff and defendant classes,
allow issuance of successive preliminary injunctions, and allow successful
plaintiffs to recover costs and attorney’s fees.

The Clerk has acknowledged that the preliminary injunction requires her to
issue a marriage license to the two unmarried plaintiffs. The Clerk has said she
will do so. In the absence of any request by any other plaintiff for a license, and in
the absence of a certified class, no plaintiff now in this case has standing to seek a
preliminary injunction requiring the Clerk to issue other licenses. The preliminary
injunction now in effect thus does not require the Clerk to issue licenses to other
applicants. But as set out in the order that announced issuance of the preliminary
injunction, the Constitution requires the Clerk to issue such licenses. As in any
other instance involving parties not now before the court, the Clerk’s obligation to
follow the law arises from sources other than the preliminary injunction.

For these reasons,
IT IS ORDERED:

The motion to clarify, ECF No. 99, is granted. The preliminary injunction is
clarified as set out in this order.

SO ORDERED on January 1, 2015.

s/Robert L. Hinkle
United States District Judge


Florida Marriage Equality Legal Documents

Florida Marriage Equality Legal Documents

 

Summary of the Florida Cases

Freedom to Marry summary – Florida

 

Brenner v. Scott, Grimsley v. Scott

**Jan. 1, 2015 – Court order on the Scope of the Preliminary Injunction

Dec. 31, 2014 – Amicus brief, NCLR and Equality Florida Institute

Dec. 30, 2014 – Scriveners’ error petition and corrected filing

Dec. 29, 2014 – Amicus brief, Florida Family Action, Inc. (FFAI) in opposition

Dec. 29, 2014 – Grimsley plaintiffs’ response to motion for clarification

Dec. 29, 2014 – NCLR and EQFLI Amicus brief in support

Dec. 29, 2014 – DMS response to Clerk of Courts’ motion for clarification

Dec. 29, 2014 – Plaintiffs’ response to Clerk of Courts’ motion for clarification

**Dec. 24, 2014 – Lamda Legal amicus brief in support 

Dec. 23, 2014 – Memo to County Clerks from National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Equality Florida

Dec. 23, 2014 – Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders amicus brief in support

Dec. 23, 2014 – Historians of Marriage amicus brief in opposition

Dec. 23, 2014 – NAACP amicus brief in support

Dec. 23, 2014 – Anti-Defamation League amicus brief in support

Dec. 23, 2014 – Women’s Legal Organizations amicus brief in support

Dec. 22, 2014 – Massachusetts et al (15 States and the District of Columbia) amicus brief in support

Dec. 22, 2014 – Prof. Gary Gates amicus brief in support

Dec. 22, 2014 – Family Law and Conflict of Laws Professors amicus brief in support

Dec. 22, 2014 – GLAD amicus brief in support

Dec. 21, 2014 – David Boyle amicus brief in support

**Dec. 19, 2014 – U.S. Supreme Court denies stay

Grimsley plaintiffs’ opposition to application to stay the preliminary injunction

**Dec. 19, 2014 – Prof. Carlos Ball amicus brief in support 

Dec. 19, 2014 – American Psychological Association et al (7 associations) amicus brief in support

Dec. 19, 2014 – American Sociological Society brief in support

Dec. 19, 2014 – Episcopal Bishops et al amicus brief in support

Dec. 19, 2014 – Columbia Law School Clinic amicus brief in support

Dec. 19, 2014 – Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights etc. amicus brief in support

Dec. 18, 2014 – Family Law Professors amicus brief in opposition

Dec. 18, 2014 – Historians of Anti-Gay Discrimination in support

Dec. 17, 2014 – OutServe-SLDN et al amicus brief in support

Dec. 16, 2014 – Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic amicus brief in support

**Dec. 15. 2014 – Greenberg Traurig law firm memo to Court Clerks, “Addendum to July 1, 2014 Memo”

Dec. 3, 2014 – Court Order – Motion to stay pending appeal denied

Nov. 21, 2014 – FFAI amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – American College of Pediatricians amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Lighted Candle Society amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Ryan T. Anderson amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops et al amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Robert George et al amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Alliance Defending Freedom amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Concerned Women for America amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Scholars of Federalism and Judicial Restraint amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 21, 2014 – Marriage Law Foundation amicus brief in opposition

Nov. 18, 2014 – Florida’s Motion to Extend Stay of Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal

Oct. 24, 2014 – Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s opposition to plaintiffs’ motions to lift the stay

Sep. 4, 2014 – Appeal by FDH Sec. John Armstrong, FDMS, and the Washington Co. Clerk of Courts

**Aug. 21, 2014 – Court Order Granting Preliminary injunction with temporary stay

Jul. 1, 2014 – Greenberg Traurig law firm memo to Court Clerks, “Clerks’ Duties”

 

Pareto

Preliminary motion


Caucus Holiday Theatre Outing on Dec. 13

The Manatee GLBTA Democratic Caucus will host a theatre outing on Saturday, December 13 at the freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Members and friends of the Caucus will enjoy an unusual version of A Christmas Carol at the freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL.  Tickets are $31 ($28 discounted for seniors, students, teachers, and military).

A portion of ticket sales goes to support Prism Youth Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting LGBTQ youth

The show starts at 2:00 p.m.  Those wishing to carpool will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the Manatee Democratic Headquarters, 6233 14th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34207, to ride together.

Attendees will join in a convivial lunch outing after the show at O’Bistro, 6661 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL.

For more information, contact Sandra Gander at san.gander@gmail.com

See the flyer, below, for more information.

FLYER – Holiday 2014 Theatre and Dinner Event

Please join other LGBT Democrats as together we work to make a difference!  Feel free to email us for more information.

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. On this day, communities all over the world work to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS, to encourage HIV testing, and to emphasize the importance of medical care and treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS.

According to the Florida Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS Section, Florida has been heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The state continues to rank third in the nation in the cumulative number of AIDS cases (126,581 in 2012) and second in the nation in the cumulative number of HIV cases (49,058 in 2012). The Florida Department of Health estimates that approximately 130,000 individuals are living with HIV disease in Florida. Of those persons living with HIV disease, 49% are black, 29% are white and 20% are Hispanic. Men represent 70% of the cases. Persons over the age of 45 years represent 60%.

Florida is losing the battle against HIV/AIDS. We must elect compassionate leaders to all levels of political office who will work to end this epidemic while providing adequate funding and care to Floridians living with HIV/AIDS.

To learn more about the status of HIV/AIDS in Florida, or to find testing sites and local events in your area to recognize World AIDS Day, visit wemakethechange.com.

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