Guest Blogger

Same-Sex Marriage in 2012? That'll Be the Day

Filed By Guest Blogger | April 14, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, EqCa, Equality California, gay marriage, Geoff Kors, Joe Solmonese, marriage equality, Patrick Conners, repeal Prop 8, same-sex marriage

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Patrick Connors is a self proclaimed uppity fag living in San Francisco that is legally married to a man. He is a freelance writer for The Snitch, a blog for SF Weekly. He is tired of being polite and patient and waiting for the Democratic Party to deliver on their promises to the LGBT community and he's also tired of the gays that enable the Democrat's foot dragging.

patrick.jpgMonday Restore Equality 2010 announced it was abandoning its efforts to repeal Prop 8 on the November ballot.

The not-unforeseen announcement was also posted at a handful of blogs on Monday: Autumn Sandeen reported at Pam's House Blend, Towleroad posted it, as did Karen Ocamb, and SFist. These blogs all repeat the undisputed and unexamined meme that the real repeal effort is coming in 2012.


The repeal plan was debated at length last summer at venues across the state. Lots of people ranted and raved. The California big-name gay rights organization, Equality California (EQCA) kept its tasseled loafers above the fray and announced that it wasn't going to participate in a 2010 repeal effort. Instead, it would get strategic and raise funds and knock on doors to change hearts and minds one by one throughout Orange and Fresno counties in preparation for a 2012 repeal effort.

That sounds nice and prudent but really it reeks of self-preservation. Like the Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese, Geoff Kors from EQCA runs a gay ponzi scheme. Trust them! Invest in the organizations that provide their leaders with fat paychecks and watch the social justice trickle down back to the community. Unfortunately they are gay versions of Bernie Madoff. No on 8 was a multi-million dollar disaster. Why would any sane person support a repeal effort in the hands of EQCA?

Frankly, how can anyone contemplate a repeal effort in 2012 -- no matter who is in charge of the campaign? Not only would we be faced with the dubious leadership of EQCA, but the ballot will also be shared again with Barack Obama. That didn't work very well for us in 2008. He didn't give much of a shit about Prop. 8. Sure he wrote a letter to a gay Democratic Party club in San Francisco, but that minuscule gesture was mishandled.

Face it -- in 2012 Obama is not going to be any more helpful to us than he was in 2008. In fact, his re-election is liable to be more of a distraction than his first election. The right wing is throwing every weapon in its arsenal at him now. After the Democrats lose scores of seats this November the momentum will be on the side of the Republicans. He will need the undivided attention -- and dollars -- of all Californians. LGBT leaders in the Democratic Party will become very conflicted as 2012 approaches. All the "good gays" will line up to sacrifice the repeal at the altar of Obama -- a man whose administration has done excruciatingly little for us.

EQCA thinks the key to a successful repeal is to go to the doors of the people that hate us most and beg them for mercy. If they want to succeed they need to get tough with our own allies - gay and straight - that avoid confrontation and conflict with the Democratic Party. EQCA must make an unambiguous statement that unless Obama himself appears and campaigns in support of a repeal, there will be no support for his re-election. We need to play the game that is always used against us. Sharing the ballot isn't enough.

The mainstream gay rights establishment might have been right about the poor odds of a successful repeal in 2010, but they are also wrong that a failure in 2010 automatically results in a unified and consequently problem free effort in 2012. Pushing for repeal two years after Prop 8 passed was too soon. Trying to repeal again in 2012 simply because more people vote during presidential elections, isn't a reliable plan either -- not when we know the problems of sharing a ballot with Obama and certainly not under the management of EQCA.

Without an acknowledgment that we are facing far too many similarities to 2008 and that tactics must change in 2012, there should not be a reflexive move to join EQCA for a repeal of Prop. 8 in 2012. To do so would only enrich and elevate the organization that failed us bitterly in 2008. We need to take off our white gloves and get serious about exercising our political clout.

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That sounds nice and prudent but really it reeks of self-preservation. Like the Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese, Geoff Kors from EQCA runs a gay ponzi scheme. Trust them! Invest in the organizations that provide their leaders with fat paychecks and watch the social justice trickle down back to the community. Unfortunately they are gay versions of Bernie Madoff. No on 8 was a multi-million dollar disaster.

Ok this is just total bullshit. Equality California maybe disorganized and dishevled, but the vast majority of those working for Equality California and HRC and the likes are not just in it for "fat paychecks" as you call it.

The vast majority of workers at these organizations are making barely enough to scrap by- entry level organizer positions are paid less than $30k a year, and it is not unheard of for people to work at these organizations for ten years and still be paid under $40k.

Having many friends that have worked at organizations including, EQCA, HRC, the Task Force, Pride At Work, PFLAG, NCTE, Family Equality Council and such- none ever did it for the money- none.

Maybe Joe S. and Geoff K, are making six figure salaries, but 99% of the other folks are lucky if they bring in $50k or above. And if they are bringing in that- it is probably because some staffers fought to have a union contract just to get the pay up to that level.

They do it because its a labor of love- because they want to see LGBT equality become a reality. Never once have I ever heard one of them say, hey let's lose this campaign because I need to keep this job.

It would be nice to see them stop being maligned in LGBT blog world- and appreciated for doing the work, that is beyond difficult, frustrating, and demoralizing at times- all because they want the same things that you do- equality everywhere.

The vast majority of workers at these organizations are making barely enough to scrap by- entry level organizer positions are paid less than $30k a year, and it is not unheard of for people to work at these organizations for ten years and still be paid under $40k.

I've never made more than $20k in a year in my life. Congrats. My partner and I are currently scraping by on $400 a month.

I wonder if they'll need anything done in Del Norte County. eh, no one lives here.

I would imagine that $20k would go a lot further than it would in a place like SF, DC, or NY, where most of the workers are located.

According to Wikipedia, Del Norte County has about 22,000 residents- so I would bet that any campaign would not put a lot of resources into the area as it would not produce much in a cost / benefits analysis.

That said, I bet if you wanted to volunteer they would love to have you.

Thank you for informing me of my county's demographics. Hey did you also get unemployment rate? Did you also find out how gay friendly it is out here?

Ignoring the rural areas is why Prop 8 passed. It's also why they lost out in Maine. Activists just stay in their already gay friendly urban bubbles. It's not about going where the most people are, but going where the anti-gay people are.

You know why the CA LGBT orgs should care about Del Norte county? Because there are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people here.

We lack even basic resources so marriage isn't really the priority for us. We don't have bars and community centers or any of that. All the money goes straight to the urban areas and we don't see crap from it. Cities are gay money black holes, sucking it all in and not really distributing it very far out.

I can already hear it, "But you benefit from the legislation and that's the big picture." No, we'd benefit from a community that provides itself jobs. At least they have jobs in SF.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 15, 2010 6:02 PM

Patrick said "Like the Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese, Geoff Kors from EQCA runs a gay ponzi scheme." That's a brilliant analogy.

But missing the point entirely you replied "Ok this is just total bullshit... the vast majority of those working for Equality California and HRC and the likes are not just in it for "fat paychecks" as you call it."

Is Jeff Cors part of that vast majority. Solmonese? Are the other self appointed leaders of 'Gay, Inc.?

How much are these failures worth in your humble estimation. $100 K a year? $250K? $300K? $500K?

How much should KORS get for a pattern of failures.

As much as Solomonese whose $307K base salary plus add-ons from the HRC foundation bring it close to $500K.

Should other ECQA staffers get paid like HRC staffers for being failures:

"The HRC's IRS 990 report, on page 7, shares this info on what other executives at the org made last year:

Cathy Nelson

David Smith

Martin Rouse

Susanne Salkind

Alison Herwitt

James Rinefierd

Robert Falk

Christopher Speron

Elizabeth Pursell

Andrea Green

Kevin Layton

Ann Crowley

Halcyon Mathis

Total: $2,185,803"

Was Kors or for that matter anyone else on staff at EQCA nominated by local groups and then elected in a statewide poll of GLBT Folks? No, and that's the problem.

Without democracy, stipends for salaries and massive volunteerism we'll never win. Without a militant program that reject any semblance of dependence on our enemies like Obama, H. Clinton, Biden and virtually all Democrats in Congress we don't have a chance.

If I were back in LA or in the Bay Area I'd be happily agitating for a LGBT party or for voting for any leftist party with a good program for equality and liberation.

Our goal has to be to break the Democrats and Republicans and create our own left parties and use elections as a platform for education.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | April 14, 2010 12:53 PM

And, what exactly would "the problems of sharing a ballot with Obama" be? If you are talking about the expected increase in African-American voters, you'd better think again before going there because you are not the only "self proclaimed uppity fag" and I have no problem calling out the knee-jerk racist rantings of white gay men.

Not to mention that at least with Obama on the ballot he will bring out a whole slew of younger voters that don't tend to vote on off year elections.

If we have a chance at all its with Obama on the ballot.

Tho of course we can never know someone else's true motivation (mostly we prolly don't even know our own!), I thought Patrick meant b/c every right-winger in the state will get out and vote against Obama, and will vote against gay rights while they are already there.

I am guessing that the liberal and 'young ppl' votes will be less heavy than before, b/c lots of those folks has lost a lot of enthusiasm for Obama (count me in the unhappy liberals who are *not* young, lol). Of course, if may be that Sarah Palin or someone else that scary will be running against Obama, and the non-right-wing turnout will be high, which would favor gay rights maybe?

There are so many variables, it seems pretty hard to know what is the best approach. To me, tho, the thing that would have by far the biggest influence would be to find some way to counter all the out-of-state hate groups, who killed same-sex marriage in CA, and in ME...

Carol :)

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 14, 2010 4:36 PM

The 'problem', as you well know, is that Obama is rightwinger who's on the wrong side on every question.

I understand that it's a bitter pill for an admitted Obamaholic but Obama is a functional bigot who torpedoed our chances to defeat Prop 8 by galvanizing bigots with his contemptible justification that "gawd's in the mix". His DoJ consistently uses sick bigoted language to defend Clintons DADT and DOMA in . And etc. The list of his assaults on our communities is long and bitter.

His DNC leaders are anti-GLBT and anti-choice bigots.

He has no friends among those who blundered and helped elect him. He betrays everyone.

He's an environmental disaster all by himself. and

He busts unions.'s_car_czar_plotting_to_crush_the_auto_unions/

He's continuing the illegal Clinton and Bush policies of using kidnapping. murder and torture as state policies. The life of every American soldier and South Asian civilian killed in the war for oil belongs to Obama and those who urged his election.

He opposes health care reform.

His cabinet is infested with members of the looter class.

Under his sponsorship the rich get richer while the poor get poorer... much poorer.

Why would we want to be associated with a bigot, a war criminal and a lapdog of Wall Street.

Um, I don't think I said anything about a racial component involved in the passage of Prop 8. That is Dan Savages turf

I have never veered from the belief that white people are far more culpable for their ignorance and cowardice than the small AA population
in California. That's why I think we need to be reaching out to our supposed allies before we try to "convert" (to use the word discussed in the post Prop 8 town hall meetings) our opponents. Our allies failed us in 2008. Our opponents did what we thought they would do.

Athough, Obama - as a supposed ally but also as an African American - is not excused from avoiding the issue.

Who would have guessed that the first black man elected President would be a passive witness to a state exercising it's perceived right to strip a minority group of its civil rights?

All those "younger voters" didn't stop Prop 8 in 2008. Take a look at the numbers of Democratic and/or liberal leaning voters that voted Yes on 8. Those are the people that Obama should have been trying to reach - I don't care what color they are. He didn't try and they voted for him but against us.

That dynamic will repeat itself if we just wade in to 2012 blowing sunshine up each others asses. We lost in 2008 and unless we are more aggressive in 2012 we will lose again and all the good hard workers at EQCA will be colored by the shadow of Kors.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | April 14, 2010 1:28 PM

You need to go back and really reread what happen because you are jumping to false conclusions. Don't blame Obama because those of you in California ran a losing campaign.

Jump up and down and scream all you want its not going to do one thing to build the majority need to restore marriage in California.

And, while you are pointing the finger at everyone under the sun for the passage of Prop 8, you might want to start by pointing the finger at yourself.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 15, 2010 6:18 PM

He most definitely shouldn't point the finger at himself or any other honest activist because they're not to blame.

Obama is.

His Homohating comment 'Gawd's in the mix', was gleefully used by the bigots to whip us. He never took it back or apologized for it. What he did take was money we need to defeat Prop 8.

The field poll, which showed us winning late in the fight, reversed. Obama deliberately inflamed and galvanized christer bigots to get their votes, especially Rick Warrens southern baptist cultists, leaders of the child raping roman cult and mormons leaders.

Don't let the fact that you're a self-confessed Obamaholic confuse you about the needs of the GLBT movement.

Thanks, Bill!

And thanks for the salary info above too.

That info makes a difference whether or not some people want to pay attention to it.

Lots of people get rich being a professional gay...and they don't have a problem feeling indignant when someone that isn't getting rich off the plight of others asks them to defend their privilege.

It's actually pretty disgusting when you think that anyone would think it is imprudent to expect 6 figure salary earners (not for profit and based on donations) to explain themselves.

The height of gall...why it's practically Bushian.

Chitown Kev | April 14, 2010 1:20 PM

Patrick, I believe that the numbers were 22% of self described liberals (~1 in 5) and 36% of all Democrats.

And while I understand Michael's defensiveness, the fact is not only will Obama probably not help us too much (though he did give the No On 8 people something to work with) he damn sure hurt us.

Not that EQCA's ineffective campaign didn't also heart, not given the bigoted ad campaign of the Mormons, etc.

capatilist piggy is correct about Obama's younger voters, though.

Thanks, Chitown Kev.

Your numbers reflect what I read in the CNN exit poll:

36% of Democrats and 46% Independents voted YES.
White Democrats 21% YES
Liberals 22% YES

Even if this poll is skewed, if only one fourth of those categories of people voted NO we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Those people are our allies - presumed Obama supporters - most likely Democrats - and they all voted Yes on 8.

We cannot succeed at a repeal with that kind of support and unless EQCA challenges OUR OWN allies to get on board they will fail - again.

Chitown Kev | April 14, 2010 2:32 PM

Yes, and Democrats were 42% of the electorate in California on Election Night 2008.

Great column. To counter those puppets who support EQCA as merely a disorganized organization, I was happy to see that someone else has had it with Kors and company.

After the election I did some research to see if EQCA could have done a better job. In a nutshell, yes, definitely, had decent leadership been in place we would have won in2008. Remember what Harvey Milk said about the gay leaders such as Geoff Kors: all you will get is shit and masturbation.

If you'd like to read my article that was printed in The San Francisco Bay Times and the Sacramento, Mom Guess What, here is a link:

I'm very pessimistic unfortunately about gay marriage being legalized anytime soon. Most people are taught growing up that gays are bad and they reflexively continue to promote this belief without ever questioning why...

Jst the other night, I was doing some clean up in my computer files and came across Prime Minister Paul Martin's speech (no relation, BTW) when he told Parliament in no uncertain terms that Canada was passing a same-sex marriage law. It was an eloquent but very straight-forward speech in which he basically said (1) it was the right thing to do and (2) he would not allow any dissension, for any reason, within his party.

The bill passed... easily. No thunderous debates, just a simple acknowledgement that, yes, it's just the right thing to do, period, end of story.

Pity that a country that the teabaggers and the right wing consider "second-tier" can get it done so easily, while we seem to almost wallow in the debate over something that should be a non-issue. And here we are, the supposed "leader of the free world", a title that IMHO we should have abdicated a long time ago.

I agree with Patrick that 2012 is looking dicey -- not for the same reasons, tho. My impression is that it's such a hot-button issue that no politician is going to go near it and expect to keep his/her seat. That's a harsh reality, but I'm not sure we hve a lot of choice right now. And this is why I think that any kind of marriage act has to come from Washington, not the states on an individual basis... and without any kind of opt-out clause. We dont need a checkerboard of rights.

Just my 0.02. YRMV

Sean said:

"Pity that a country that the teabaggers and the right wing consider "second-tier" can get it done so easily..."

To the Teabaggers, same-sex marriage is prolly just yet another reason to consider Canada 'second-tier.'

Juston Thouron Juston Thouron | April 14, 2010 3:37 PM

Over the last several months, anytime I read a blog article about state ballot initiatives for gay marriage and its comments section, whether regarding Prop 8, or initiatives in ME and NJ, on every single occasion, the same conflicts erupt. Conflicts between those who fault the state LGBT organizations for lack of organizing and political prowess, those who blame national LGBT organizations for not being involved enough and those who blame the President for a perceived or actual lack of leadership in state-level, Democratic Party politics.

Given the enormous fight we have on our hands I do not see how blame could not attach to "all of the above." Does anyone here honestly believe that if HRC pulled out all of it's CA clout and put it into the effort to defeat Prop 8 it wouldn't have had a large impact? Does anyone not think that EQCA failed to sufficiently motivate Democratic allies in CA? Does anyone believe that if the President had spoken strongly on the subject, spent two days in CA campaigning for it's defeat that Prop 8 would have been more seriously challenged and that EQCA at least would've had an easier time of it?

We are a small minority with a small base of regular, voting, straight allies. The inertia we are up against is greater than we think, and we are headed for more defeats unless we unify all of the above when it counts most. The question in my mind is not "who's to blame?" It's why is there a lack of coordinated effort amongst leaders in the LGBT community and our straight allies in the Democratic Party.

Until I start reading in-depth articles informing me as to why these different organizations have a pattern of not working in concert together, which must include behind the scenes knowledge of what happened, I am forced to consider LGBT politics a morass of blaming, self-serving and self-elected experts and cliques incapable of reconcilement. Because that is the only conclusion the facts seem to represent. And until something fundamental changes, more of the same seems to be on the way.

What the hell are we going to do when we actually gain full equality? Just because a law is on the books doesn't mean LEO and DA's will enforce/prosecute violations. We will have to push them to do so even then, just as the African American community has had to do for the last 45 years.

We have a lot of work to do and it appears that much of it is within our own family.

Great comment, Juston.

For the record, I think a repeal effort should happen but I do think that there needs to be an exploration of HOW that repeal happens.

I do think we need to start addressing the lack of support we get from our supposed allies - straight and gay Democrats.

Too many people are just ready to leap into Repeal in 2012 mode without thinking about how hard it's going to be. Sharing a ballot with Obama guarantees more voters will show up. But it also means that people supposedly sympathetic to a repeal will have to choose between giving his re-election financial and moral support and doing the same for a repeal of Prop 8.

When push comes to shove resources can only be shared to an extent. And although many people that support a repeal of 8 will also support Obama's relection, there is a lack of the reverse support. Obama doesn't address that disparity. We don't address that disparity. EQCA isn't talking about it.

No one talks about that dynamic. Obama will need more support than he had in 2008. So will we.

Who do you think is going to get it?

Patrick, I really appreciate your concern for restoring marriage equality in California. It’s what I work for day in and day out as EQCA’s marriage director. We really appreciate the work and passion of Restore Equality 2010 and are glad to hear they are going to keep working to build support.

We are running a tight field campaign. In the past year, we’ve had more than 709,000 conversations about marriage across the state. Our 15 organizers are based out of nine different offices, with more people power in Southern California where the yes on 8 vote was concentrated. These organizers are going out with volunteers every weekend, reaching out door to door in neighborhoods that supported Prop. 8. They typically influence between a quarter to a third of the people who don’t yet support marriage equality to become more supportive. Our aim is to sustain this work (among other public education efforts) over the next couple of years, as we can influence more people outside of a divisive, heated political campaign.

We didn’t recommend 2012 because of Obama’s re-election campaign. A presidential campaign year generally turns out more voters, especially young voters who support us. Picking a date a few years out also gives us time to build more support among voters. It’s not about the candidate. We are working hard to reach out to African-American communities and supporting LGBT organizers from these communities in their work. But African-Americans are a fairly small minority in California, and if every single African-American voted for marriage equality it wouldn’t guarantee us a win. The challenge is bigger and broader than that.

One last thing… EQCA’s Political Action Committee is doing a lot of endorsements this year, and we only endorse candidates that are 100% for equality, including marriage equality. Elections are a critical time to hold politicians accountable. Regardless of where you live, use your vote to get the best people in office. It’s the most important step in getting political parties and the political establishment on board.

How will EQCA handle the competition Obama's relection will present to a repeal effort in 2012?

As a political consultant you must be aware of the incredible challenge Obama will face in re-election. Even if nothing major happens to make him look bad, he is already facing stiff competition from the radicalized right wing.

Obama and his party will need Californians to devote themselves to his re-election. LGBT people will undoubtedly choose to help him instead of contributiing to a repeal.

Obama will distance himself from us, but he will gladly take our money and support even when it means our repeal will suffer.

How does EQCA intend to raise $50 million again when they have a damaged reputation from 2008 and once again will have to compete for attention, dollars and support?

How much are you paid?

I think you’re right that Obama probably has a tough re-election campaign before him. But what happens in 2012 is up to us – both now and in 2012.

Did you see the recent PPIC poll that shows marriage equality gaining six points of support in the past year? This poll showed majority support for marriage equality by just a hair. What we have to do now is keep building support by talking to our family, friends and neighbors and sharing our stories. If we can build strong majority support, it will be much more difficult for the opposition to use their lies and distortions to keep denying us equality. But we have to do that work now; we can’t wait until 2012. If we wait, we won’t have time to build the level of support we’ll need.

People tell me all the time that they wish they had spent more time fighting Prop. 8 in 2008. I don’t think it’s a question of us versus Obama, though. Our major donors see marriage equality in California as a priority. So long as we build support now and look strong going into 2012, we can count on their support. Plus, an effective get-out-the-vote campaign around marriage equality will help the candidates who are the most supportive of LGBT rights by turning out pro-equality voters.

The most important thing we can do now is unify and put all of our efforts towards a win in 2012. I hope you’ll pitch in. We need everybody.

Mr. Solomon -

I mean no disrespect.

My husband and I are one of the 18,000 couples married in the state before Prop 8 passed. We asked our few wedding guests to contribute to No on 8 instead of buying us gifts we don't need. It seemed much more important at the time to contribute to the effort to stop the 30th state from amending it's constitution against same-sex couples - and from piercing a hole in the equal protection clause.

I gave $100 at a time whenever I felt I could and when I was afraid we were losing.

My brothers and sister and father and his partner all sent checks from New York State.

I watched the advertisements from Yes on 8 go directly for the jugular and waited - held my breath sometimes - hoping that there would be an equally honest blunt courageous response to the ignorant manipulative hateful defamation that was disseminated on television. And in the mail.

I received the flier in the mail with the pictures of Obama and his quotes in opposition to marriage equality that was mailed to Californians from the Yes on 8 campaign exploiting his incomprehensible position.

I read the letter he sent to a small targeted audience (Alice B Toklas club) on blogs and in the local gay newspaper but I never heard it used by the No on 8 campaign nor did I receive a flier promoting it in the mail. Nor did Obama himself ever say anything to a non gay audience during his campaign.

I was let down by both Obama's promise of change and hope and by EQCA. And the disappointment in EQCA increased after hearing at the town hall meeting in SF about how inept and disorganized the campaign was in the final weeks when the big push for last minute dollars was in full force and the total contributions had exceeded $50 million.

I can't listen to platform speech sounding platitudes and calm rational strategies full of dispassionate reason and cool calculation.

It's April of 2010 and I already know that this isn't going to go very well just by the "business as usual" responses.

EQCA - like HRC - is a lobby group that is good at behind the scenes deal making. I have no faith in you otherwise and there hasn't been much cause for me to change my mind.

How much money are you making courtesy of the ongoing battle to repeal Prop 8?

How much more more do I have to give you and others and how will I know that you are going to honor my sacrifices in a way that far exceeds what happened in 2008 - both by EQCA and in the lackluster track record of the king promise maker, Barack Obama?

Steven Garret | April 14, 2010 5:32 PM

This post made a lot of different points and jumbled them all up into one rant.

Given EQCA's failure in 2008, they shouldn't lead the repeal - Agree. Hopefully, their leaders won't take long vacations 10 weeks before Election Day like they did in 2008.

EQCA is a ponzi scheme - Disagree. Don't understand the analogy, substantively or structurally

2012 will be a challenge - Agree

2012 will be a challenge b/c Obama is on the ballot - This is a matter of some debate. Generally, we do worse on lower turnout elections, as Maine proved last year and as the Knight Initiative demonstrated in a June election in 2000. On the other hand, all national and local polls I have seen show a higher anti-marriage sentiment among African Americans, so doing this on an Obama year might hurt. All in all, I believe EQCA's polling that shows 2012 to be preferable over an off-year. The only alternative would be to wait until 2016, and that is too long.

More to the point, what exactly does the author suggest?

I agree with Patrick. I went to a EQCA/Marriage Equality meeting where 2010 v. 2012 was to be discussed. I also used to volunteer at EQCA before I saw how mismanaged it was.
At this meeting at SF's LGBT Center last year, what was presented as a "dialogue" was really a spin for 2012. We were shown polling data that didn't include likely candidates and were told that "our" issue would be overshadowed by the presidential race (when it came to available money).
Marc, I find your analysis suspect and deeply flawed when it comes to the demographics that are against us, in droves actually.
Why should we put our faith, volunteerism and dollars into an organization with such a poor track record? And, yes, how much do you make?

First, we have to agree that EQCA is FIRED from leading the 2012 repeal effort. AND, that Geoff Kors, the incompetent, not be allowed anywhere NEAR the repeal leadership. We need new, effective leadership, and it's not from these defensive, rich, self-serving figures. They proved they can't do the job, so it's on to identifying others who can. They will try to grab the leadership to satisfy their own egos, but we must -- MUST -- resist, or 2012 will just be a repeat of 2008. I don't know who could do better, but we, as a community, had better find out, and not just let some other self-serving incompetent appoint themselves in charge of another losing campaign. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me!

sorry, but this was a pretty worthless piece.

it might be salvageable if you were to focus simply on the failures of the "mainstream" lgbt activism establishment, but then you go ahead and write, "Frankly, how can anyone contemplate a repeal effort in 2012 -- no matter who is in charge of the campaign?"

the only really unassailable facts about the movement to repeal prop 8 are pretty much:

1) time is on our side--with each year, success at the ballot becomes more likely.

2) big turnout helps us.

given that 2012 will be a high-turnout year, and that three polls in a row have now shown a majority in favor of gay marriage in CA (most recently 52% to 40%, a margin that is sure to increase over the next two years), it would be utterly foolish NOT to consider a 2012 campaign to repeal prop 8. granted, circumstances could change (such as a potential supreme court ruling on the Olson & Boies case which you neglect to even mention), but already the odds are looking to be on our side.

factor in also that EQCA won't be the only group working on such a campaign (there's no law saying they're the only ones who can be involved, and grassroots/networking campaigning is growing more and more), and that they do indeed know they botched the 2008 campaign and just may have learned a thing or two from the experience. factor in that another two years will have passed in which to show that disaster has not befallen the children and churches of massachusetts, connecticut, iowa, new hampshire, vermont, DC, spain, south africa, canada, etc. factor in that even if we try and fail in 2012, marriage equality in the long term is still an inevitability. factor in that every year that goes by without fixing prop 8 deprives thousands of vulnerable californian families invaluable rights, protections, and dignity, and also undermines our capacity to teach equality and justice to our state's population.

in short, your analysis of the situation is glib and pretty one-dimensional. i understand being bitter about the Obama administration (which, you have to admit, has still done more for us than any other presidency in history, however little that is), and being bitter about EQCA (hindsight is 20/20). but come on, do your homework! a 2012 effort to restore equality to our state constitution is about so much more than blaming Obama and EQCA; it deserves a measured and thoughtful recommendation, not a rant.

May I point out that the only win for marriage equality happened in Washington DC, a city which is 61% AA?

But the undeniable fact is that marriage equality votes have an 0-31 record.

And the mistake many people make when they longingly look at Canada as an example of how to pass marriage equality is that one, they have a parliamentary system, and two, they don't have organized right wing nutcases and a 24 hour cable network broadcasting lies on their side of the 49th parallel like we do.

From where I sit, what have you done in Cali to assure a better result than 2008?

First order of business is repairing the damage with AA voters. We AA's in Cali and across the nation WERE paying attention to the racism aimed at AA's after the 2008 Prop 8 loss.

As I have stated numerous times here on the Project an my own blog, the more you attack President Obama, who is still immensely popular in the AA community, you poison your chances of improving your vote totals in the AA community in Cali and beyond.

Yes, in your mind it may be legit criticism and in some cases he deserves it, but in the minds of many AA voters it's seen as an unfair attack by predominately white people on his presidency.

And we do use Dummya as a litmus test as to what is and isn't fair criticism.

And to be honest, many AA's, myself included, haven't or will not forget the crap many white gays spewed before he even took office that he would be 'the worst president on gay rights.'

What has been done to at least run even in rural areas so that the big cities decide the election? GLBT peeps live in rural areas too.

And have you closed the minister gap? You need to find two supportive ministers for ever hate minister they throw at you.

And are you willing to pull out the brass knuckles? If that Mormon ripping up the marriage license ad had run a month earlier, and had been done with an AA and Latino couple as well it may have flipped enough votes in minority areas to turn the tide in 2008

Chitown Kev | April 15, 2010 9:29 AM

Monica, I agree with most of this but...

As far as attacking President Obama, I get very, very queasy at the very thought and idea that President Obama is considered above criticism in the black community for ANY reason much less by gay rights advocates.

It just doesn't sit right with me for a lot of reasons; one being that I personally feel that Obama is taking the AA vote for granted.

Also, I wouldn't necessarily use Dubya as a litmus test for criticism because the Republican Party made no promises and spouted no gay positive rhetoric; there was nothing there.

Presidentr Clinton is fair game, though.

I guess then I have to ask you, in what ways does President Obama deserve the criticism?

The above posts neglect to mention a key point:
The huge bulk of the garden variety LGBT and ally communities have no problem with EQCA. In California, it's the primary rights group folks are familiar with, and come 2012- they will write checks to EQCA.
The details and analysis that full-time activist/organizers thrive on, are largely unknown to the giant middle of the bell curve.
If we think getting something like gender inclusive ENDA or a repeal of DADT is difficult, think about the job of shifting an enormous, somewhat fixed, population.
It would likely be easier, and less alienating, to influence EQCA.