Advocates seek to preserve gay-friendly political districts
July 13, 2011
California’s Redistricting Commission may draw its new political districts with an eye toward protecting the voting power of “gayborhoods.” [MercuryNews]
Advocates for gay and lesbian groups have petitioned the commission to preserve or expand the number of gay-friendly congressional or legislative districts. They have provided maps that show gay-friendly neighborhoods in areas from San Francisco to the Oakland hills to downtown San Jose.
Commission members have indicated in public hearings that they will respect their boundaries where they can.
“Communities of interest such as Latinos and African-Americans are protected to ensure proper representation,” said Mario Guerrero, government affairs director for Equality California, a gay advocacy group, to the Mercury News. “We want the same opportunity to elect representatives from our community.”
One panelist on the 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission described the maps as “making the invisible visible.” A national redistricting analyst said the campaign was unprecedented.
“I haven’t heard of this level of involvement by an LGBT group in state redistricting anywhere else, which is probably due to California’s new independent redistricting process,” said Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures to the Mercury News.