Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Democratic Delegate Removed by Other Delegate For Anti-Kerry Sign?

From the Boston Globe I read this article and decided to make some calls. Allow me to print a portion of that article so you can see what I find interesting:

"Aaron Toleos, co director of the gay advocacy group KnowThyNeighbor.org, said he was physically assaulted during the incident and is considering legal options. He said he has the incident on videotape and planned to post it on YouTube." -By Matt Viser Globe Staff / June 8, 2008

Aaron Toleos and Tom Lang are people I have worked with before, so I decided to call Tom Lang and ask for a clarification as to what was happening. The answers I got were both disturbing and intriguing. It seems that it was another delegate that had removed Toleos by force, not security.

"Does a delegate have the right to physically lay hands on another delegate and remove them from the convention because they don't agree with the sign he was holding?", questions Tom Lang in a phone interview.

When Lang called officials of the democratic committee they first responded by telling Lang that it was a security guard that removed Toleos for his sign. When Lang told them that he had both photos and video footage of the entire incident, as well as of the person in question wearing a delegate badge, the conversation ubruptly ended. One would ask, who is this mysterious delegate that has the power to police other delegates in this manner?

Toleos was originally told that the reason he was removed was that his sign was hand written, yet when he asked if he could correct this with a printed sign he was still told the sign was out of question. Toleos was also denied a clarification while within feet of the rules table. Are dissenting voices being silenced in an above the law fashion?

The civil rights department of the Massachusetts Attorney General's office has taken information regarding this incident, and is in discussion over civil rights violations.

I am a pretty vocal civil rights activist. It amazes me that John Kerry has been able to keep his anti-gay marriage policies under the radar for so long, even in the state where gay marriage began, even from activists like me. I have to thank Aaron Toleos for bringing this to our attention. To make sure there is no confusion let me clarify; Aaron Toleos is not someone that snuck into the convention, he is an invited delegate who was holding a sign as other delegates were.

I'm no legal eagle like some of you out there, and I consider myself also a novice in the realm of politics. I welcome all opinions to come in and bring their own light to this situation.

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