This is a letter released by the former Harris County Democratic Party Chair Jerry Birnberg. He’s responding to the alleged gay bashing letter sent by a supporters of the candidate who is running for his postion. Please see my previous post for the background on this report:
An Open Letter to Keryl Douglas
April 11, 2012
Dear Ms. Douglas:
As you know, as the former chair of the Harris County Democratic Party, I have heretofore refrained from endorsing, or indicating a preference for, either candidate for chair of the HCDP. For the good of the party, I have sought scrupulously to avoid even the appearance that I was involved in hand-picking a successor or engaging in some behind-the-scenes, closed-door scheme to select and install a replacement.
The despicable “Rev. Willie J. Howard” letter purportedly sent on your behalf has forced me to abandon that stance and speak out in this race. The views and attitudes expressed in that letter are anathema to everything real Democrats stand for – elimination of discrimination in every form and fashion.
During my nearly nine year as chair of the Harris County Democratic Party, I worked hard to achieve the kind of discrimination-free society I believe the Democrats stand for. I was – and continue to be – extremely proud of the diverse and inclusive slate of candidates we fielded and elected to countywide office, especially including judgeships, during my term, which included men and women, Anglos, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Jews, and, yes, gays, lesbians and straights.
If you cannot embrace and advance that kind of inclusiveness, you are not fit to be chair of the Harris County Democratic Party.
Two years ago, I published an article on the website of the Harris County Democratic Party in which I condemned anyone who would “accept support from someone who spews homophobic hatred and intolerance,” condemning association with anyone who “stokes the flames of bigotry in this community” by venomous comments betraying anti-gay bias. Such attitudes, I reminded, are “contrary to the ideals cherished by Democrats.”
The views expressed in that article remain as true today as they did in October of 2009, when I wrote them and demand that you, too, refuse to accept support from anyone who betrays such hateful attitudes.
The platform of the Texas Democratic Party correctly demands that Democrats work tirelessly to eliminate all forms of discrimination, pledging that we will work tirelessly “to repeal all laws and policies which discriminate against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.” That is the official policy of the Democratic Party, and one which the chair of the Harris County Democratic Party would be duty-bound to advocate, promote, advance, and embrace. Can you do so? Not if you share “Rev. Willie J. Howard’s” bigoted and dogmatic attitudes
Our President fought bravely to secure repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so that GLBT service members could serve our Nation in uniform while openly embracing their sexual orientation. He has sought courageously to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, and has placed openly gay and lesbian individuals in positions of high authority in his Administration. So to condemn equality for GLBTs is to renounce President Barack Obama. We cannot have a chair of the Harris County Democratic Party who believes President Obama’s policies are unacceptable and that he is unfit for the presidency. But that is exactly the implication of the position taken in your name by the “Ministers for Keryl Douglas.”
If this is not your position, I call on you to renounce publicly and forcefully within the next 48 hours – excoriate – the vile comments made by “Rev. Willie J. Howard,” purportedly on your behalf. Otherwise, I (and the other true Democrats of Harris County, I suspect) will conclude that you share and endorse the anti-Democratic Party, anti-President Barack Obama views revealed in his letter and you will have associated yourself with the kind of hateful bigotry which is disqualifying from holding the office of chair of the Harris County Democratic Party.
I hope to learn immediately of your categorical rejection of the brand of extreme intolerance reflected by the letter sent on your behalf.
Very truly yours,
Former chair, Harris County Democratic Party