Why YOU should care: Pro-LGBT citizen activists needed for new redistricting commission

(I wrote about this last week, but moving beyond partisanship, this is important.  I would argue that we should be looking for progressives to fill those non-partisan seats, and maybe even a centrist Republican for those seats. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Drawing our legislative districts used to be the job of elected officials, but now it’s up to YOU. That’s because of a voter-approved measure last year that called for the creation of a new Citizens Redistricting Commission.  Last Thursday, the State Auditor launched a new website for the effort: http://WeDrawTheLines.ca.gov.

It’s absolutely critical that pro-LGBT citizens apply for the commission to ensure that the new boundaries are drawn to empower our community–not gerrymandered to divide us.  

Thanks to your hard work and support, California has some of the strongest laws in the nation to protect LGBT people–including anti-discrimination laws, domestic partnership, and anti-bullying protections for our youth. However, if we don’t have a strong voice in the redistricting process, there’s a chance we’ll start losing ground. Those who oppose our equality are looking for ways to take over the legislature, build political support and roll back our hard-earned gains. We have to make sure that these laws stay in place.

In 2010, California will be starting the process of drawing new legislative district lines. Thanks in part to the advocacy of Equality California, for the first time ever in our state’s history, sexual orientation will be considered as a factor for how districts are drawn. This change increases the possibility of electing even more pro-equality legislators, provided that sexual orientation is truly taken into account. To make sure our needs aren’t ignored, we need pro-equality people to join the Redistricting Commission. Almost anyone who has voted in two of the last three statewide general elections can apply.

Stand up and use your voice! Starting December 15, you can apply to be on the Redistricting Commission. We must all take action to preserve and keep advancing our equality.

Alice Kessler is the Government Affairs Director for Equality California. www.eqca.org.