Pumped at DNC

09.04.12

LGBT Caucus Finds Cause for Celebration at the Democratic Convention

The celebratory spirit was palpable, Michelle Cottle writes, fed by the prominence of such figures as Tammy Baldwin and the broad support accorded the marriage-equality plank in the party’s platform.
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Guests attend day one of the Democratic National Convention at the Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, in Charlotte, N.C. (Justin Sullivan)

Don’t try to tell the LGBT caucus at this week’s convention that there’s a lack of enthusiasm surrounding this election. These folks are pumped.

Today’s afternoon caucus meeting was jam packed. It was standing room only inside the ballroom, with people lining up out in the hall to enter as others drifted out.

First off, the Dems’ newly adopted platform language backing marriage equality is being cheered as one of those "about-damn-time" moments.

Brooklynite Erin Drinkwater, who served on the platform committee, marvels at how widely embraced the entire rights platform was this time around. She says she went in assuming progress would be made but was floored by “the unanimous support” from the full committee.

Drinkwater expected there to at least be a fight over the amendment supporting equal treatment for immigrant families that include LGBT relationships. (A former staffer for Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Drinkwater had worked on this issue in the past.) But there wasn’t even pushback on that, she reports.

Further firing up the crowd: Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who’s vying for the state’s open Senate seat with former governor Tommy Thompson. (“Tammy vs. Tommy!” is the rallying cry.)

Baldwin’s speech to the caucus—full of emotional reminiscences about how far the community has come and what a stark choice it faces in the current election—was met with cheers and whistles, a standing ovation and chants of “Tam-my!” “Tam-my!”

When the congresswoman exited the ballroom, she was trailed by a pack of delegates looking to get their pics taken with her—or at the very least touch the hem of her pale-green blazer. And a swarm of journalists jockeyed to ask questions about the platform and the speech Baldwin will be giving to the convention early Thursday evening.

“It’s just amazing that she’s being given a national platform,” gushed Drinkwater.

As the congresswoman struggled to make her way through the sea of admirers, it was clear Drinkwater wasn’t the only one who felt that way.