The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, named for the legendary gay rights pioneer Jim Owles, was formed in 2004 as a citywide political activist club with a mission to secure human rights, dignity, and freedom for all people. We believe that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community can no longer support candidates who are not willing to recognize our basic rights and freedoms. We need to speak out strongly in favor of issues concerning us.
As a multi-issue, progressive Democratic club, we also call for an end of all wars, increased AIDS funding, universal health care, expect continued protection and expansion of reproductive rights. We also demand economic justice, abolition of the death penalty, to name just a few of our other vital concerns.
Jim Owles (1946-1993), Activist
Jim Owles was one of the pioneers of the gay rights movement in the 1960s and his influence and spirit can still be felt today. In 1969, Jim was the founding president of the Gay Activists Alliance of New York, the largest militant gay rights organization in the United States, and in 1973 was the nation's first openly gay person to run for public office.
As president of GAA, Owles advocated anti-discrimination bills in Albany and New York City. Known as a man of noticeable calm and civility, a quiet but keen thinker who, when he spoke, commanded almost immediate allegiance from hundreds of GAA members. Owles once said, “Gays must redirect anger that has been largely inward, outward—where it belongs. That doesn’t mean smashing windows. It means confronting people who do have the power and saying, ‘Look here, ours are not ridiculous or frivolous demands—they’re something every American should have!”
In 1974, Jim Owles founded the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, which was the first gay political club in the city. In 1985, he was one of the seven founding members of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which monitors the coverage and depiction of lesbians and gay men in the media. Mr. Owles was a special assistant and liaison to the lesbian and gay community for the State Senate minority leader, Manfred Ohrenstein.
Jim Owles sought "to secure basic human rights, dignity, and freedom for all gay people.” This has become the guiding principle of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club today.
Jim passed to AIDS in 1993 after years of dedicating his life to the causes of the gay community.
JIM OWLES LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB
Our mandate is, in the words of Jim Owles, “to secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people" through organizing, lobbying, political action and campaign work. It is a foundation of democracy that all human beings are created equal. Accordingly, we believe that neither the United States nor any individual state may legitimately deny or abridge equality of rights under the law on account of sexual orientation or gender identity; that no just political, corporate, cultural or religious institution may compromise the self-esteem of any individual on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; that homophobia, transphobia and hatred are unnatural perversions; and that heterosexist paradigms must never limit the freedom of human beings to pursue their hearts’ desires.
We are not beholden to, any politician or candidate for any office. We are associated with the Democratic party. All politicians, especially those seeking office as Democrats, should speak out strongly in favor of the GBLT community, and we can no longer support any candidate who is willing to compromise our rights for political gain. We support a progressive agenda, dedicated to the principles of political and economic democracy and to the achievement of freedom, justice, economic security, and peace for all people everywhere.
Section 1. This organization shall be known as Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club (“JOLDC”).
Section 1. Any person who accepts in good faith the basic principles of JOLDC may become a member by contributing at $25 a year.
Section 2. The Board of Governors and officers are automatically members.
Officers, Board of Directors, Administrative Committee, Standing Committees, Ad Hoc Committees
Section 1. The standing officers of JOLDC shall be a President, two Vice Presidents, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Additional officers can be appointed at the discretion of existing officers according to the needs of the organization.
Section 2. The officers shall exercise the powers and discharge the duties customary to their offices and shall have such additional authority as may be conferred upon them from time to time by a vote of the officers.
- There shall be a Board of Governors which shall direct the affairs of the organization.
- The Board shall consist of: the officers and 100 members of the Board of Governors. New Governors shall be elected by the then-sitting Board. A majority of the board shall consist of members of the LGBTQ community.
- The immediate past President shall be an ex officio voting member of the Board for a two-year term.
- No person is eligible to be elected or designated to any position in absence of a vote at a meeting of the Officers or Board of Governors.
Section 4. The Board of Directors shall hold at least six meetings in each calendar year at such times as the Board or officers shall determine. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the President at her or his discretion and must be called on the petition of five Board members. Written notice of all Board meetings shall be given at least seven days in advance.
Section 5. The Board of Governors shall establish such standing committees as it deems necessary and proper. The Officers shall appoint and remove chairpersons of standing committees and the chairperson of each committee shall appoint the members of each committee after consultation with the President. Membership on all standing committees shall be open to all JOLDC members.
Section 6. The Officers may establish such ad hoc committees as may be necessary from time to time. The Officers shall appoint the chairpersons of such committees and the relevant chairperson shall appoint the members of the ad hoc committees after consultation with the President.
Section 1. Dues shall be as set by the Board. The dues paid by new members joining after October 1st in any year shall be for the balance of that year in which they joined and for all the next calendar year, otherwise for the calendar year in which paid.
Section 2. The fiscal year for JOLDC shall begin on a calendar year.
Section 3. The organization shall hire outside consultants when necessary to oversee compliance with all governmental election entities to ensure finances and reporting of finances are in compliance.
Section 4. The authority to approve the budget is vested in the Officers.
Section 5. The treasurer shall be sole signatory of checks disbursed with a second authorize signer if the treasure is unavailable. The president will not have check signing authority,
Endorsements and Campaigns
Section 1. The word "candidates" and "campaigns" as used in this Article shall include candidates and campaigns in all primary, special, and general elections for party or public office, or on referenda for which the voters in New York State cast ballots. This Article shall not be construed to require that JOLDC consider an endorsement in each and every such election.
Section 2. Endorsements:
- Endorsements of statewide, citywide and candidates and referenda shall be made by meeting of the Board of Directors with seven days notice. Endorsement in local races may be determined by a majority vote of the officers when a Board of Directors meeting is not feasible due to time restrictions.
- A vote can be taken by hand Statewide, Citywide and referendum shall be by secret ballot. A majority of those present my require that a secret ballot take place for any race. A ballot shall contain the names of all candidates and also lines where a vote for "abstain" or for "no endorsement" may be cast. Any candidate or position receiving a plurality of the total vote cast shall be considered the endorsed candidate or position of JOLDC. (Blanks and abstentions shall not be counted as votes cast.)
- Only candidates who have presented before the JOLDC or directly asked an officer of the club for an endorsement are eligible for endorsement.
Section 3. At a meeting, the call for which contains seven days prior notice of the proposed action, the Board of Directors may, by a two-thirds vote, revoke any endorsement made by the Board of Directors.
Section 4. The Political Action Chair can carry out endorsement activities and expenditures only after discussion with the officers and consent of the president.
Amendments and By-Laws
- The officers may amend this constitution by a two thirds vote of those present.
- A motion to table an amendment requires a simple majority of those present.