The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City was founded in 1986 as the first and only citywide LGBT Democratic organization in New York City. We continue to advocate for legislation that guarantees equality and fairness for the LGBT community in NYC, representing the political ideas, ideals, concerns, and priorities of the LGBT community of New York City and New York State.
The organization achieves these goals by supporting well qualified candidates for local, state, and national office, and by supporting and lobbying for our civil rights, legislative agenda, healthcare, information and education, and for funding for our institutions and organizations.
Meetings are the 4th Wednesday of every month at 8PM. Unless otherwise specified, or for special events, club meetings are usually at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West Thirteenth Street between Seventh and Greenwich Avenues. Click here for information about SDNYC's next meeting!
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President: Rose Christ
1st Vice President: Robert Atterbury
Vice President: Bryan Ellicott
Vice President: Melanie LaRocca
Treasurer: Rod Townsend
Secretary: Jimmy Rivera
Kenny Agosto - At Large Board Member
Richard Allman - Tenured Board Member
Matthew Carlin - Tenured Board Member
Chap James Day
Paul Delduca - Tenured Board Member
Saul Fishman - Tenured Board Member
Gabriel Lewenstein - At Large Board Member
Joe Hagelman - Tenured Board Member
Aubrey Lees - Tenured Board Member
Matthew Lesieur - At Large Board Member
Dirk McCall - Tenured Board Member
Blaise McNair - At Large Board Member
Elizabeth Monterrosa - At Large Board Member
Connie Ress - Tenured Board Member
Barbara Russo - Member of Board of Governors
Mark Thompson - Member of Board of Governors
Justin Westbrook Lowery
Frank Wilkinson - Tenured Board Member
Bob Zuckerman - Tenured Board Member
On a cold night in February 1986 ...
Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City was founded in February 1986 as the first and only citywide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Democratic organization in New York City. The first event was a small cocktail party held at The Ballroom in Chelsea. Little did we know that this new organization would grow to be the largest LGBT Democratic political club in the City and State of New York.
The organization is named in honor of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. In 1969, New York’s gay community decided to fight back against the ongoing routine of police harassment and arrest of gay men, lesbians, and transgender people in Greenwich Village. On the night of June 27-28, 1969 a conflict erupted when the patrons of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, decided to stand up and fight to defend their rights to congregate at a gay bar. The battle with police went on for nearly a week and it eventually led to a new policy by New York City and the police department to stop harassing and arresting LGT people. The LGBT community burst out of the closet and this pivotal moment became known as “the hairpin heard around the world”. There was no looking back.
The Stonewall Democratic Club was founded to continue to fight for those rights. The founders wanted to create a strong voice within the Democratic Party that would represent the interests and concerns of the LGBT community within the party. The goals were to influence elections, legislation, and policy on the city, state, and national levels of government. The most important issues of concern in 1986 were our civil rights and our health.
In New York City the year 1986 was mementous because it was the year the New York City Council finally passed the “Gay Rights Bill”. The bill was introduced every year for 15 years until it finally passed in 1986. That year, Peter Vallone Sr. was elected Majority Leader, later to be renamed Speaker, of the Council. Although he personally did not support the bill, he appointed enough Council Members to the General Welfare Committee who did support the bill so that it could be brought to the floor for a full vote of the Council. He agreed to allow members to vote their conscience. On March 20, 1986 the full Council passed the bill by a margin of 21-1.
This new law prohibited discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation based on a person’s sexual orientation. Mayor Ed Koch, a supporter of the bill, signed it into law a few days later.
The year 1986 was also the height of the AIDS epidemic. New York City became and continues to be the epicenter of the epidemic in the United States. In 1986, gay men in New York City were being decimated by this new disease. Many men became ill and very quickly, often within weeks or months, died terrible, painful deaths. AIDS forced our community to start to confront many difficult issues, life and death issues, including: health care, health insurance, domestic partner’s rights, hospital visitation, discrimination against people diagnosed or perceived to be infected with the HIV/AIDS, grief, and funerals, many funerals. AIDS forced even the most non-political people in our community to become political activists. Government and politicians held our survival in their hands and our community began to understand that voting, elections, government funding, and laws did matter.
Also in 1986, a major political loss for our community was the Bowers v. Hardwick decision by the United States Supreme Court. This decision upheld the constitutionality of the Georgia sodomy laws which criminalized oral and anal sex in private, by consenting adults of the same sex. This was a terrible defeat for the LGBT community. It adversely influenced LGBT rights for the next 17 years. In 2003, the Supreme Court reversed Bowers v. Hardwick in the Lawrence v. Texas decision, when it struck down the Texas sodomy laws as unconstitutional.
ARTICLE I NAME
In recognition of the major event in the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”)
rights, we proudly named this organization the Stonewall Democratic Club in 1986 (the “Club”). This Club
is now named the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City (“SDNYC”).
ARTICLE II PURPOSE
The purposes of the Club are:
1. to promote political undertaking and action within the Democratic Party around issues that
primarily affect members of the LGBT community;
2. to promote participation by members of the LGBT community in politics and issues including
social justice, civil liberties, and good government;
3. to promote participation by members of the LGBT community in the Democratic Party;
4. to seek, encourage, and support candidates to public and party office, including qualified members
of the LGBT community, who will publicly support and promote issues affecting the LGBT community;
5. strive for gender, ethnic and racial parity in the Club.
ARTICLE III MEMBERSHIP AND DUES
Sec. 1. The Executive Board (“Board”) shall establish and may change from time-to-time the rates of
dues to be paid annually by members.
Sec. 2. The President may, with the consent of the Board, waive any requirements for membership
Sec. 3. Members who have been members in good standing at least 90 days immediately prior to a Club
vote, may vote at general membership meetings, club elections, and endorsements.
Sec. 4. Members who were in good standing within the previous two calendar years may pay the
current year’s dues and be members in good standing, including the right to immediately vote in general
membership meetings, club elections, and endorsements.
Sec. 5. The expulsion of any Member of the Club, for conduct inimical to the best interest of the Club
or contrary to the purposes of the Club, may be proposed by a petition enumerating the reasons therefore,
signed by at least five members of the Board or twenty-five Members of the Club and submitted to the
Secretary. The Secretary shall present the petition at the next meeting of the Board. At that meeting, the
petition may be dismissed by a majority vote of the Board. If the petition is not dismissed, the proposal
shall be tabled until a subsequent meeting of the Board to be held not less than two weeks thereafter. The
Secretary shall give the person in question at least seven-days notice by electronic mail, whenever feasible
hard copy by regular mail of the time and place of such meeting, the charges and the right to make a
statement in person or in writing to such a meeting. A vote of at least two-thirds of the Board Members
present where a quorum is met shall be required for expulsion or removal. A decision unfavorable to the
person in question may be appealed by said person or by any other member at the next meeting of the Club,
provided that such person or such other member notifies the Secretary or the President of the intention to
make such appeal at least twenty four hours in advance of the meeting. If such appeal is taken, the
determination of the Board shall be inoperative unless and until ratified by a vote of the majority of the
members present at such meeting.
Sec. 6. Membership shall run from January 1 to December 31. A person joining the Club for the first
time, if paying membership dues at or after the Club’s October meeting or if no meeting is held in October,
on or after November 1, shall be considered a member in good standing for the remainder of the current
and following calendar year.
ARTICLE IV BOARD
Sec. 1. The Board shall consist of the members of the Executive Board, Tenured Board and At-Large
Sec. 2. All Board Members must be Members in good standing of the Club. No person shall be eligible
for nomination as a member of the Board unless they have been a Member in good standing for at least 90
days prior to the date of the nomination.
Sec. 3. There shall be an Executive Board that shall serve as the administrative and governing body of
the Club and serve as the nominating committee for Executive Board elections approved by the
membership at the annual meeting (“Annual Meeting”) defined in Art. VIII Sec. 1.a.
Sec. 4. The Executive Board shall consist of no more than twenty-three (23) and no fewer than eleven
(11) Executive Board Members elected by the Regular Membership.
Sec. 5. The initial Executive Board Members shall be the same as those elected or appointed in the
previous three calendar years before ratification on this constitution under the rules of the previous
constitution then in effect. The Executive Board Members shall be elected for alternating terms of three (3)
years at the Annual Meeting of the Club by a majority of the Members in good standing then in office.
Once elected, each Executive Board Member shall continue in office until a successor is elected following
the completion of a Member’s 3-year term, or until a Member’s death, resignation or removal from the
Executive Board following the protocol stipulated in Art. IV Sec. 5 of the Constitution.
Sec. 6. The election of members of the Executive Board shall be by the Regular membership at the
Annual meeting, which shall take place in January of each year. Prior to the Annual meeting, the Board
shall serve as the nominating committee for Executive Board elections. The nominating committee shall
nominate candidates that shall be presented to the Regular membership at the Annual Meeting. Nothing
shall prevent a Regular member from nominating from the floor alternate candidates. A minimum of one
third of the Executive Board shall be subject to election each year for a three-year term. Each candidate
must receive a majority vote of Members in good standing in attendance at the Annual Meeting of the Club
to be elected to the Executive Board.
Sec. 7 Removal of Executive Board Members shall be done by the same procedure as removal of
Members in Art. III, Sec. 5. Unless it is done at the same time, removal as a Board Member does not
revoke Membership in the Club.
Sec. 8. If there is a vacancy on the Executive Board, the Board shall have the power to fill the vacancy
for the duration of the remainder of the 3-year term of the vacating Member.
Sec. 9. The Board shall study and recommend questions involving political action. Such questions shall
include, but not be limited to, Club endorsements of candidates, nominees, judicial appointments,
legislation, and the Club position on primaries and controversial public questions. All recommendations of
the Board on political action questions as defined above shall be referred to the membership. The Club
shall take a position on a political action questions only by a majority vote of the Members of the Club
voting in a membership meeting where a quorum exists. However, when in the opinion of the Board it
becomes necessary to take immediate political action and it is not feasible to await a general membership
meeting before taking such action, the Board shall have the power to take such action, but in no instance
shall the Board delegate to another group or any person the power to take such action. Endorsement of
candidates can never be deemed an emergency except in the event of a special election, or if a previously
endorsed candidate loses a primary or withdraws from the election too close to Election Day for there to be
an endorsement vote by the Members.
Sec. 10. The Board shall have final authority over all financial matters pertaining to the club, including
revenue generation and expenditures.
Sec. 11. There shall be an annual audit conducted by the President, Treasurer and Executive Vice-
President, and a report shall be made to the Board at the Board meeting following the audit.
Sec. 12. Upon serving on the Board for a period of no less than ten (10) years, if a Board Member is
unable to fulfill the responsibilities of Board Membership, the Board may appoint such member as a
Tenured Board Member by a majority vote. Tenured Board Members have the same rights as Board
Members, but are not required to attend meetings, or fulfill other obligations of Board Members or stand
for reelection. Tenured Board Members do not count towards the total number of Board Members or
towards a quorum. Tenured status may be removed by the Board by a majority vote. The initial Tenured
Members shall be those voted as such under the previous version of the club’s constitution.
Sec. 13. The Board may appoint Members as Board Members At-Large. At-Large Board Members have
all the rights and privileges as Board Members, but may not vote at Board Meetings or serve as Officers
and do not count towards a quorum of the Board. At-Large Board Member status shall be confirmed by the
Executive Board every three years following the initial appointment during the Annual Meeting closest to
their date of appointment. At-Large Board Members will be considered first to fill out the terms of Board
Members who have left the Board before the end of their terms. At-Large Board status may be removed by
the Board by a majority vote. The initial At-Large Board Members shall be those voted as such under the
previous version of the club’s constitution. Unless it is done at the same time, removal as an At-Large
Board Member does not revoke Membership in the Club.
Sec. 14. Any Executive Board Member or At-Large Board Member who is absent without good cause
from three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the Board, or four regularly scheduled meetings in
one calendar year, shall forfeit Board Membership, upon a vote of the Board. Notice of good cause for an
absence must be given to the President in advance of the meeting.
Sec. 15. The Board may require Board Member participation in Club events outside of regularly
scheduled meetings by a majority vote, as expressly stated in the by-laws.
Sec. 16. The Board may appoint from time-to-time individuals outside of the Board important to the Club
and its interests, with their consent, to serve on an Honorary Board, including LGBT elected officials. The
Honorary Board serves at the pleasure of the Board.
Sec. 17. The Board may appoint from time-to-time such employees and other agents as it shall deem
necessary, each of whom shall hold office during the pleasure of the board, and shall have such authority
and perform such duties and shall receive such reasonable compensation as the Board may from time-totime
determine. Any employee or agent of the Club may be removed with or without cause by a vote
of the majority of Board Members present at a Board meeting where there is a quorum.
ARTICLE V OFFICERS
Sec. 1. The Board shall strive to ensure appropriate representation in the officers of the Club, including
gender, ethnic and racial parity.
Sec. 2. The officers of the Club shall be:
(b) Executive Vice-President;
(c) Vice-President (1);
(d) Vice-President (2);
(e) Treasurer; and
Sec. 3. The duties of the officers shall be as follows:
(a) The President, consistent with the Constitution, shall:
• Preside at all meetings of the membership and the Board.
• Prepare the agenda for such meetings.
• Represent the Club in such matters as are necessary for the Club.
• Exercise such powers and carry out such tasks as directed by the Board.
• Appoint the chairpersons of all committees.
• In conjunction with the Treasurer prepare an annual budget.
• Distribute an electronic copy of this Constitution prior to the Annual Meeting, by electronic mail
or link to the Club’s website.
• Assign duties and responsibilities to other officers of the Club.
• Authorize expenses and reimbursements incurred on behalf of the club under $1000.00, seeking
Board authorization when appropriate.
(b) The Executive Vice-President shall assist the President in carrying out their duties, as well as those
assigned to them by the President, and shall preside in the absence of the President.
(c) The Vice-Presidents shall assist the President in carrying out their duties, as well as those assigned to
them by the President.
(d) The Treasurer shall maintain the financial and membership records of the Club, shall present an
annual written financial report, and shall provide access to financial statements or list of members to any
Board Member. Board Members shall maintain the confidentiality of such lists and use them only for
activities authorized by the Board. Violation of the aforementioned shall be cause for immediate Board
membership suspension, pending dismissal.
(e) The Secretary shall maintain all non-financial records, including this Constitution, and shall take
minutes of all Membership and Board meetings. These minutes shall be available to all Members at the
next regularly scheduled Membership meeting.
Sec. 4. Each officer shall be elected by the Board and from the Executive Board in an open meeting.
Sec. 5. The regular term of each elective office shall be one year commencing with the first Board
meeting following the Annual Meeting.
Sec. 6. If the office of the President shall become vacant during the regular term, the Executive Vice-
President shall assume the role of President for the remainder of the term, with the consent of the Board at a
special meeting called at the time of vacancy. If the Board chooses, it may select one of the Vice-Presidents
to be President for the remainder of the term instead of the Executive Vice-President. If there shall be a
vacancy in any other elective office during the regular term of that office, it shall be filled by the Board for
the remainder of the term.
Sec. 7. Removal of Officers shall be done by the same procedure as removal of Members in Art. III,
Sec. 8. Unless it is done at the same time, removal as an Officer does not revoke Board Membership or
membership in the Club.
Sec. 9. No present candidate for elected office (not including unpaid or party position such as District
Leader, State Committee Member, or Judicial Delegate) may be elected an officer of the Club.
Sec. 10. Any Club officer who declares a run for office must immediately take a leave of absence until
the end of their campaign. The Board shall appoint an interim replacement until such time.
Sec. 11. If any officer is elected to office (not including unpaid or party position such as District
Leader, State Committee Member, or Judicial Delegate) they must resign as an officer. Sec. 10. Any
officers leaving a position shall make themselves available to their successor and assist in ensuring a
ARTICLE VI CLUB EXPENDITURES
Sec. 1. No individual or recurring expense totaling greater than $1,000.00 shall be authorized by the
President without the prior approval of a majority of the Board.
Sec. 2. President, Executive Vice-President, and Treasurer shall be authorized to sign Club business
Sec. 3. All Club business checks must be endorsed by two authorized signers; for any electronic funds
transfers that do not require signatures to be sent, transfers must be noticed to at least two authorized
signers. No individual shall be authorized to endorse checks alone.
ARTICLE VII COMMITTEES
Sec. 1. The President, subject to the approval of the Board or the Board on its own, may create ad hoc
or standing committees as deemed necessary. Chairpersons of all committees shall be appointed by the
President subject to the approval of the Board. Committees shall only have the powers specifically
designated to them by the Board.
Sec. 2. The President and Executive Vice-President are ex-officio members of all Committees.
Sec. 3. Club Members in good standing may serve on Committees.
Sec. 4. There may be additional standing committees consisting of the membership, audit, campaign,
policy, filling of vacancies on the Board, amendment, repeal or addition of by-laws, resolutions, and other
committees as from time-to-time shall be deemed necessary.
ARTICLE VIII MEETINGS
Sec. 1. General Membership
a. There shall be an Annual Meeting held during the month of January, at which regular elections
shall be held for members of the Board.
b. Meetings of the general membership may be called at any time by the President, a majority of the
Board, or upon written request by 30 members in good standing. There shall be at least nine meetings of the
general membership, including the Annual Meeting, throughout the year.
c. Notice of the time and place of each regular, special, or annual meeting of the Board, and to the
extent possible a written agenda stating all matter upon which action is proposed to be taken, shall be
mailed to each Board Member via electronic mail, and/or postage prepaid addressed to their residence or
usual place of business (or at such other address as they may have designated in a written request filed with
the Secretary), at least eight days before the day on which the meeting is to be held; provided however that
the notice of special meetings to discuss matters requiring prompt action may be sent to such address by
email, no less than twenty four hours before the time at which such meeting is to be held. Notice of a
meeting need not be given to any Board Member who submits a signed waiver of notice whether before of
after the meeting, or who attends the meeting with out protesting, prior thereto or at its commencement, the
lack of notice received.
d. Twenty-five members in good standing or 20% of the general membership, whichever is fewer,
shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
e. All questions, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, shall be decided by a majority
of those voting. Every Member in good standing shall be entitled to one vote, which must be cast in person
and not by proxy.
Sec. 2. Board
a. There shall be at least nine regularly scheduled meetings of the Board in each calendar year on
dates to be determined by the President, with the approval of the Board.
b. The President may call special meetings of the Board.
c. The President must call a special meeting within 7 days upon receipt of a petition for a meeting
signed by at least 1/3 of the members of the Board.
d. All meetings for the purpose of transacting business shall be open to the general membership,
except when the Board votes to go into executive session.
e. One-half of the Board membership plus one of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum for the
transaction of business.
f. All questions, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution shall be decided by a majority
of those voting. Every member of the Board shall be entitled to one vote, which must be cast in person and
not by proxy.
ARTICLE IX ENDORSEMENTS
Sec. 1. Endorsement of candidates for public or party office shall be made by the Regular membership
at any membership meeting on the agenda of which the Board shall have determined to include such
endorsement. Recommendations for endorsement for all elective positions may be made by the Board. The
Board may present its recommendations to the regular membership prior to the election. Nothing shall
prevent a Member from nominating an alternate candidate.
Sec. 2. Endorsements shall be made in accordance with the by-laws of the club.
ARTICLE X AMENDMENTS
Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by the Board or by written petition signed by twentyfive
members in good standing or 20% of the members in good standing, whichever is greater, and
submitted to the Secretary. To become effective, any amendment so proposed must be approved and
adopted thereafter by two-thirds of the members present at two meetings of the Club that shall be at least
one week apart. The substance of the change to be affected by such proposed amendment or amendments
must be included in the notice of each aforesaid consecutive meetings and the notice of the second meeting
shall further state that final action will be taken upon amendment or amendments to this constitution. Said
amendment or amendments shall become effective as part of the constitution upon the date of final
approval and adoption on such other date as the amendment or amendments shall specify.
Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the parliamentary procedure, the duties of the officers and other
aspects of a legally constituted organization in the absence of specific provisions in this Constitution or in
the by-laws of this Club to the contrary.
ARTICLE XII BY-LAWS
The membership may from time-to-time adopt and amend By-Laws, as recommended by the Board, to
implement the constitution by majority vote of those in attendance at a general membership meeting where
a quorum exists.