On Saturday, the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) met in Montgomery, and for the third meeting in a row, members of the committee put forward an amendment to ensure the Party welcomes diversity and inclusion. Once again, the diversity amendment was discarded without debate or a direct vote.
Dr. Amy Shadoin of Huntsville, the sponsor of this recent amendment said after the meeting, “The goal of the amendment is to bring representation of Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Youth and others onto the State Executive Committee. My amendment was designed to help engage all Alabamians in our party, and to ensure everyone a voice.”
The amendment would have aligned the state’s bylaws with those of the Democratic National Committee regarding the inclusion of various minority groups. Advocates for the amendment started an online petition which has garnered hundreds of signatures to call for the state party to allow debate and a vote.
The SDEC voted to table the amendment until the next meeting, as they have done twice before. Party leadership agreed that the timing of the amendment submission complied with the Party’s bylaws (by email and fax), but the majority of the committee voted to table the amendment over the shouts of the opposition.
The rationale given for tabling the amendment was that members of the committee didn’t receive a copy of the proposed amendment in advance of the meeting, although Party bylaws require distribution of proposed amendments forthwith upon receipt by the Party.
After the amendment was discarded, diversity supporters moved to form a special committee to review the bylaws and to discuss possible avenues to solve the Party’s diversity issue and report back to the SDEC by the next meeting. This too was tabled without debate or an up-or-down vote.
Maitland Adams, a member of the Alabama State Democratic Executive Board representing the 4th Congressional District, was vocal in his opposition to how the Amendment had been handled, “If anyone sincerely believes the reason the diversity amendment was discarded is because of timing problems, they haven’t paid attention. Similar diversity proposals have now been filed three times, and at each meeting, the proposed amendments are tabled without allowing debate or an actual vote on the amendments themselves.”
Proponents of the diversity amendment issued the above press release last night and say they aren't backing down. Good for them. The State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) has a history of refusing to allow votes on matters that would allow increased grassroots participation and inclusion in party decision making.
For instance, the committee has also refused a request that all county party chairs (the grassroots people working in the trenches at the county level) be given seats on the SDEC.
And the Alabama Federation of Democratic Women (AFDW) has for years requested a seat on the SDEC's Executive Committee, only to have the issue “tabled” indefinitely. Learn more here:
- Women's Suffrage & the Alabama Democratic Party
- Jim Spearman at the AFDW Dinner
- Nancy Worley Quashes AFDW Amendment
- An Amendment to Give Alabama Women a Seat at the Table
If this sort of behavior sounds familiar, it is. We see it all the time in the US Senate as GOP senators use delaying tactics, “blue slips,” “anonymous holds,” and threats of filibuster to stifle debate and votes on important issues.
Surely, the Alabama Democratic Party can behave better than that.
Note: Some members of the LGBT community have contacted us to say that they withdrew their support of this revised amendment because it dropped mention of LGBT Democrats from the list. We'll post a copy of the proposed amendment when we get a copy.