FROM A STONEWALL DEMOCRATES NEWS RELEASE
Washington, DC - Today, the Stonewall Democrats released the following statement on the announcement of the intention of Senator Arlen Specter ( PA ) to join the Democratic Party:
"Stonewall Democrats welcomes Senator Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party. As evidenced by his statement, a key factor in Senator Specter's decision to leave the Republican Party was change in political attitudes of Pennsylvanians - a change ushered in with the help of Stonewall Democrats in Pennsylvania and chapters such as the Steel City Stonewall Democrats, Capital Region Stonewall Democrats and the Liberty City Democratic Club.
Stonewall Democrats across the country now have a role to help shape and hold accountable Senator Specter on pro-equality legislation before the U.S. Senate. These legislative efforts include fully-inclusive employment non-discrimination legislation, employee free choice, fully-inclusive hate crimes legislation, family and relationship recognition for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, healthcare reform that reflects the needs of LGBT people, immigration equality, and other pieces of legislation to bring full equality under the law for all Americans.
Being a Democrat is about more than selecting a political affiliation or having to get through a primary election to win public office. Being a Democrat means upholding the basic American ideals that all people should be treated fairly, every one of us should have an equal opportunity to succeed, and that government has the power help people help themselves.
We hope the reexamination of Senator Specter's political affiliation will serve as a wake-up call to the Republican Party. The wedge issues that many Republicans have used in the past are not the politics of the future."
- Jon Hoadley, Executive Director, Stonewall Democrats
Today, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced his intentions to leave the Republican Party in order to become a Democrat. A five-term Senator, Specter cited the rightward lurch of the Republican Party over recent years that have made it out of touch with mainstream concerns. In part, the statement released from Senator Specter reads:
"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."
In 2005, Stonewall Democrats worked with local advocates to launch Liberty PA, a statewide campaign to build support for Democratic candidates across the state. The program, headed by local Stonewall Democrats chapters, lead to the defeat of incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum and the election of Democratic Senator Bob Casey along with new Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives.
Stonewall Democrats was the first national grassroots organization to put staff on the ground and dedicate financial resources during the 2006 U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania.With more than 120 local chapters the Stonewall Democrats is the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender ( LGBT ) and allied Democrats. Stonewall Democrats works to elect pro-equality Democrats to public office and improve the Democratic Party on issues important to pro-equality Americans.