Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

CA Gay Groups Advise Waiting, Waiting

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin

Timothy Kincaid

July 14th, 2009

Those gay organizations that led the disastrously ineffective campaign against Proposition 8 are sharing their wisdom again. According to the LA Times,

“Going back to the ballot . . . in 2010 would be rushed and risky,” read a joint statement issued Monday by three gay-rights groups and signed by more than two dozen other groups and individuals. “We should proceed with a costly, demanding, and high-stakes electoral campaign of this sort only when we are confident we can win.”

Personally, I suspect some organizations have ulterior motives behind their opposition to moving forward.

Take, for example, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. This organization is primarily a health organization – with a few other worthwhile programs. I have long pointed out that this organization is far removed from gay men and women in the community and no longer provides any services to gay men and women other than those narrowly defined by their state-funded programs (they dropped the word “Community” from their name years ago).

Yet Lorri Jean, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Executive Director, was one of the small number of individuals calling the shots during the campaign. Lorri was so concerned about Prop 8 and took her job so seriously that she decided to take a month long vacation in Alaska. In July 2008. Three months before election day.

But the Center has an opinion is back with an opinion about the next election date, and it takes little to see their motivation for delay.

Jim Key, spokesman for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, also worried that a 2010 political campaign might tap the same donors that service organizations rely on to fund HIV care, services for homeless youths and other programs at a time when, because of the economy, those programs are needed the most.

In other words, your fight for equality cuts into donations for our programs. And so you should wait.

Another group counseling waiting is Equality California, another prime player in the 2008 losing game.

“We initially said we believe 2010 was the right time to go back to the ballot,” said Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, one of the state’s biggest gay-rights groups. But he added: “We’ve also made it very clear we will only move forward if we have a clear road map to victory. . . . The last thing we want to do is go back to the ballot and lose.”

He said his group has sought advice from political consultants and polling experts and would present it publicly later this month.

This is the same group that kept quiet about their “inside polls” that showed the campaign behind and instead let gay folks – who might have walked precincts and held house parties and talked to their church – believe that we were ahead and their efforts weren’t needed.

We don’t have to wait for next month to know what they will say. EQCA will give us a slicing and dicing of the demographics of voters who vote in gubernatorial elections and tell us that there is a tiny advantage to avoiding the older voters now in order to chance it with higher black turnout in 2012. And in 2012 we’ll hear that 2014 is really, really even better.

I think that all of these organizations miss the big picture. Because they are all motivated by fear.

They fear a decrease in donations. They fear a repeat of the loss of position they felt after Prop 8. They fear losing by a bigger margin. They fear that they may upset the establishment or the connections or the money guys or the Party or any of a number of others who can give them goodies, enhance their image and influence, and prop up their resumes.

I fear too, but my fears are different.

I fear that we are fighting a battle of retreats. I fear that we capitulate, give up territory, and let our enemies define the frontier.

We are accepting the declarations of our enemies that the battle is over. We are conceding defeat.

In every instance in which a state has passed a discriminatory amendment to deny gay couples equality under the law we have stood back, said, “oh well”, and waited for the next battle. What we should have done is collected the signature to reverse that vote, put it back on the ballot, and fought in every state in the nation.

I’m not saying that we should have committed huge sums or that we should have exhausted our resources, but we should have made the citizens of those states face this question for the rest of their long-lasting lives until they tired of their own bigotry and – faced with scorn from their children – reversed their position and removed discrimination from their constitution.

Had we been battling in other states, I believe that the tide would have already turned. And Proposition 8 would never have happened. They would never have dared attack us in California. And faced with the prospect of voting until equality wins, Californians would have voted for an end to the war.

We should go back to the ballot in 2010. And should we fail, go in 2012. And if that doesn’t work, we’re back in 2014.

We need not put $40 million on the line. We need only push Gay, Inc. out of the way and run a grass roots campaign that ignores the “political consultants and polling experts” and speaks to our neighbors and our churches and our communities. We build coalitions that include churches and civil rights fighters and ethic interest groups and Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian activists and Susan who picked up a flyer at her yoga session and Gilbert who saw a table in front of a bar on Saturday night.

Screw the pointless tepid advertising. Away with the carefully crafted (and stupid and offensive) scripts for volunteers to follow when calling specifically filtered phone lists. Be gone with centralized “messaging” and selected media access. Done with the elimination of anything that will remind the voter that we are actually talking about real living breathing gay people. And enough with the pussy-footing around about who is funding the anti-gay efforts and their motivations.

Our cause is right. Our cause is just. Our cause is moral.

And the battle is in our own states, cities, and communities. We aren’t going away. Our need for equality isn’t diminishing. So why have we let our “leaders” convince us that the battle is over in Oregon or Arizona or Colorado or Wisconsin? The question is not whether we should be putting this back on the ballot in California in 2010, but why we aren’t putting it back on the ballot in every state in which discrimination has been enacted.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

Burr
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t see what losing again really hurts.

We’re always going to get enough signatures to put it on the ballot again regardless of how “tired” of it people might be on either side of the issue. Let’s wear down the opposition. The more the issue is debated, the more bigotry loses. It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN.

As long as money isn’t wasted on the long shots, it shouldn’t hurt much. I’m not sure we should be fighting back everywhere, but certainly states besides California should be considered, and especially if the bans were enacted farther back as time has probably changed views (so even then a loss would show a significant gain in support for equality).

Andrew
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

You’re right. There isn’t much to say beyond that.

M3
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

I agree wholeheartedly. Put it back on the ballot this year and every year until justice is achieved.

darrel cummings
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

There is enough wrong with Mr. Kinkaids criticism of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center that I find it necessary to respond. First, the Center does not have a position on whether a 2010 or 2012 ballot and were not one of the three gay rights groups referenced in the article supporting 2012.

Kinkaid’s asserts that the Center is “primarily a health organization with a few other worthwile programs”. Those “few others” include a youth center for homeless youth open seven days/week for some 60 young people per day, a program serving the community needs of thousands of lgbt seniors every day and evening, a families program, a 24 bed 18 month 24 hour transitional living program for homeless youth, a support program for lgbtq youth in the foster care settings, a ten bed overnight emergency bed program, a nightly series of educational classes, support groups serving the many varying needs of our commmunity, two theatres, an art gallery, a cyber center, a computer training lab, an employment program, a transgender economic empowerment program, a lesbian conference, a transgender pride celebration and conference, an anti-lgbt violence program, a legal program, an in-court representation program for victims of same sex domestic violence, a youth menotring and leadership development program and many other non-health programs and services. In addtion to these, we do also offer a large array of medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment services as well as a health promotion and educuation services. Collectively, these programs provide services to more than 20,000 lgbt people a month and we are in communication with thousands more. The programs are delivered by 300 full time staff and 5,000 volunteers. The very idea that we are “disconnected” from our community with the exception of “narrowly defined state funded programs” as Kinkaid claims is without merit and contradicted by the facts. In fact, the Center’s funding is from all levels of governement and combined with substantial amounts of privately raised resources . These programs may not seem important to Kinkaid and those served by them may not be a part of his lgbt community but they are certainly part of ours. The Center services are provided for free or at low cost so they can be available to all, not simply those who can afford to pay. We talk to these members of our community every day and are very connected to them. That Mr. Kinikaid then thinks we are not connected to our community must mean that either he is ignorant to the facts of the Center or does not consider these people part of the community. We do.

Mr. Kinkaid may not be aware but the budget crisis in California is threatening the entire health and human services safety net as it is with education and other vital services to people in great need of government support. This is not hyperbole but a very real and yet unsolved danger. It is in this context that Jim key’s statement was made. We all know that a ballot measure campaign, whether in 2010 or 2012 will drive private funding from lgbt service organizations to the campaign and Jim was simply pointing out a valid concern that is unique to this particular recession and is to be considered when making political decisions of this kind. does Mr. Kinkaid believe that a decision on going again to the ballot box should not take into account the potential consequences having nothing directly to do with marriage? If not, why not?

Mr. KinKaid is wrong when claiming “ulterior motives” to such comments. And, it is unfortunate that he could not be bothered to even call to learn a little more. Those in California who provide health and human services when others will not are genuinely outraged by the potential and likely state budget decisions that will have very real and dire consequences on the health, well being, and even very lives of lgbt and other Californians. I know that we will win the marriage battle and I hope that it will be soon but the effort to win marriage should not so overwhelm our thinking that we cannot also consider the threat to the health and well being of those in our community who deserve to live long enough to enjoy the rights we all seek.

Darrel Cummings
Chief of Staff
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

tristram
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

The NEXT BATTLE is happening right now, and it is called MAINE. Sorry for shouting, but we – queer folks everywhere – need to give all possible support to our friends there who are fighting to defeat the upcoming referendum that would wipe out the gay marriage law that the legislature courageously passed and the governor signed. This is a winnable battle, and we need to mobilize now. First Maine, then California – equality coast to coast!

Penguinsaur
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

I have yet to meet a person who voted for prop 8 who wasnt a complete ass or ashamed of their vote. Hell the mormon church is still being attacked for its involvement. It was a close race last time and the lies and fearmongering used get less effective every day.
PS: frankly the ‘we cant do anything because of the economy’ line got old long ago, it might be true but alot of people dont care anymore.

Richard W. Fitch
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

@Tristram – what aid will be useful from those out of state? I’m aware of the battle from a variety of sources. How soon will the petition signatures be validated?

Jason D
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

yes, because 40 years is too soon for equality.

Zeke
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

Notice that EQCA is basing their new opinion on “polls, focus groups and advisors”. Are these the SAME polls, focus groups and advisors that showed them the most effective and efficient way to snatch defeat from the jaws of almost certain victory the first time around?

Why does, and why would, ANYONE listen to ANYTHING these people have to say?

The last people I want advice from on when and how to win the marriage fight is people who have proven that they are only experts in losing such campaigns.

The Golem
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

The reality is that there will be an attempt to place a repeal on the ballot in 2010. Too many people just feel to strongly about this to let it go.

The big boys can either help us or become irrelevant. The community can certainly use their expertise and fund raising ability. Some of them are even personal friends of mine.

I don’t want to discount the time, energy and resources that many of them have put in, but they also made many mistakes. It’s time to stiffle the Egos and get to work, the whole community pulling together.

Patrick
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

@tristram – in addition to Maine, Washington state is facing an immediate battle as well with Referendum 71. Our domestic partnerships, which give all the state’s rights that come with marriage, are potentially going to be voted on. It might not have the label ‘marriage’, but it is significant nonetheless.

Larry McD
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

Folks… we do not need to collect signatures if we can get the CA legislature to place the amendment on the ballot.

Dan
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you Tim for mentioning the appalling incompetence of Prop 8 leaders who went on vacation weeks before Election Day. Ms. Jean was not the only one. Geoff Kors went to Spain. Given the close margin, it is not a stretch to conclude that the loss of 2 leaders during a critical period may have made the difference. We’ll all be paying for their extended vacations for years to come.

I disagree with Tim’s other conclusions. If we go to the ballot in 2010 and lose, it puts us back. Positions solidify and CA voters resent having to vote and re-vote on the same issue. Further, if we win by 1%, that will only lead to another Prop 8 shortly thereafter. It is far better to win with 55%-60% in 2012 or 2014 than to lose outright or to score a vulnterable win with 51% in 2010.

tristram
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

RWF and Patrick – here’s the link to my info source (if BTB allows these things):
http://mainefreedomtomarry.com/

The couple of people I know who are involved with mftm are top notch. It’s a coalition of groups, some local, some national, and they have a strong campaign started. Maine is a place where the voters will listen; so this is a chance to do the “impossible” and win at the ballot box – something that would reverberate across the nation.

Patrick – if you post a link to the Washington campaign, maybe btb will help us get some bi-coastal action going this fall. As the man Sean in the movie ‘Shelter’ (a great plug for gay marriage, btw) said – ‘You’ve got to fortify the corners!’

Timothy Kincaid
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

Darrell,

Thank you for for your comprehensive itemization of your non-medical services and for reminding us that your government contracts are not limited to state funding. What you failed to show is how the Center is uniquely qualified to speak on matters of gay civil rights.

I appreciate the dissatisfaction that might arise from convincing potential non-governmental funding sources that they should prioritize your programs over their own rights and freedoms. Surely the notion of dipping into reserves is not something you wish to do. And I’m sure Lorri would find it a great hardship to even fathom a reconsideration of her mid-six figure salary.

But I can’t help but think that if the Center and Lorri had granted the campaign a higher priority than a month long vacation in Alaska, then you wouldn’t need to send your spokesman to the Times with the complaint that my fight for freedom and equality is cutting into your budget considerations.

Scott
July 14th, 2009 | LINK

As an LA County Resident I’m no friend of the LA Center. Lori Jean makes over $300,000 a year. That would be great if she confined her actions to homeless youth, HIV education and GLBT elder care. She didn’t. She saw Prop 8 as a stepping stone to a bigger paycheck. Swing and a miss Lori. You messed it up.

Movement Guy
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy –

Your accusations are so over the top and off the mark, that anyone reading this diatribe should be offended.

You accuse those who don’t want to launch a 2010 campaign that is nearly certain to lose, because it threatens vital social services to the most vulnerable members of our community (poor, homeless, youth, PWAs without insurance, etc.), of having ulterior motives. Since when is wanting to take care of the most disadvantaged among us wrong?

Apparently, you think YOUR rights (particularly the obsession with marriage) are more important the health and well-being of tens of thousands of people to whom our community centers provide life-saving services every day.

Am I right in assuming that once you can get married, that you’ll advocate (as Andrew Sullivan once did) that we shut down the movement and call it a day? How self-involved and short-sighted are you?

TonyJazz
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I am offended by the criticism of the no-on-8 campaigns in California. I volunteered (as did many, many people) and observed the good work and hard work that was done on our behalf. I watch Dianne Feinstein’s very good advertisement of support on television many times. …and I saw an effective ad featuring Gavin Newsome that did us much harm.

But the key thing was money: exorbitant sums were raised by the Mormons and Catholics attacking our rights.

It’s the money, stupid.

Ken in Riverside
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

False choice is false.

darrel cummings
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy: Your arguments are getting more confusing but I will try to respond to a couple of your questions/statements. I never said that the Center was “uniquely qualified to speak on gay civil rights matters” nor did I suggest that private funding sources should “prioritize our programs over civil rights and freedoms”. These are viewpoints of your own invention.

That being said, the Center, as is the case with many individuals and organizations, does have the right to speak about issues of importance to teh lgbt commmunity. The L.A. Center, in particular, recognizes a responsibility to speak based on the very real consequnces of homophobia and transphobia we see every day. When parents, schools, religious institutions, etc., abuse and make homeless young lgbt people and when we see this happening day in and day out, we feel a respionsibility to speak about the civil rights and freedoms of our community and to do so forcefully. I could site a multitude of circumstances that are not theoretical to us but are cases in which real harm is inflicted upon members of our community that are entirely related to bigotry and discrimination. Marriage discrimination is but one example. Are you suggesting that our experience and knowledge of these matters have no place in policy discussions or that we do not have a responsibility to speak about these things? Perhaps your qualifications are far greater but even so, I think we maintain that responsibility regardless. Failure to advocate based on our the actual experiences of those in our midst would be, in my opinion, a grave deriliction of our duty.

We have not argued as you have claimed that “private funding sources should prioritize our programs over civil rights and freedoms.” This is again an invention of your own making and a bad misreading of what civil rights and freedoms really are. while I believe that achieving legal equality is vital, I do not think that Marriage is the be all end all of the work. I believe, for example, that housing, food, healthcare, employment, and the ability to simply walk down the street without fear of attack are civil rights and freedoms worth fighting for. These are some of the things our programs represent in addition to the freedom to marry. And, the issue that we raised in teh LA Times is not about the support for “our” programs, it is about support for our community and those who depend on programs like ours.

We have not forwarded any opinion on the wisdom of a 2010 or 2012 campaign as you imply. We have only asked that the economic reality that we and others have noted be one of the many factors considered when making this decision. Do you think that this reality should just be ignored? Are individuals or organizations not permitted to raise these kinds of issues in our collective discussions about how to proceed if they in any way work against your view? I would instead hope our community would allow and encourage a full and robust airing of issues and concerns, views and hopes, as such important decisions are made.

Lorri can speak for herself if she so chooses about the issues you raise but I hope this will put to rest your mischaracterizations of the Center or our public statements. I would again encourage you to contact me should you want accurate information or a point of veiw in the future. Darrel

Paul
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

The only way we are going to win this is to wear down the opposition.

Go to the ballot every chance we get, win or lose. Let them know it’s not going away. Make them cry “Uncle” and give in just to get rid of us.

Equality WILL be won and discrimination is wrong.

Civil rights have never been won by waiting. Just read your history and it is painfully clear.

EQCA is c@ck-blocking efforts and momentum by giving the false impression that we are actually doing more than just waiting.

I can’t believe some political whores would sell others equality for handouts. Cut and dried, that is what the argument for “lets not piss off the donors and play nice” is all about. The morons who do that are worse than the opposition, they are sabotaging and stagnating the effort from the inside. Shame on you whores!!!

The time for action is now!!! DO NOT LET THE FIRE DIE DOWN!!! If you want equality, stand up, write letters, talk to friends, talk to strangers, do something.

Marriage is not a Christian nor religious invention. The Greeks invented it for the purpose of a dowry and property rights. It has since evolved into more. Into a dream, an ideology of the ultimate expression of love, a fairy tale for kids and one of the biggest ambitions of our lives. How dare they try to deny someone the right to that dream because their “fictitious god of love” made them different? This is America, a place where people are supposed to be equal and anyone can realize his or her dream.

Do not waste a second in waiting. No one joins a movement of people sitting around hoping to grow stronger and gain momentum by doing nothing!!! Waiting leads to complacency and that complacency is the cancer of any movement. We lose strength, momentum, and inertia with every wasted minute.

Joe
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I often question how bad groups such as Euality California want success. I live in Florida and it seems that many times Florida Equality stands in the way of progress. If equality is reached, what is the reason for these groups to exist. Here in Florida tons of money was raised last year for our own ammendment and it is truly amazing to see salary amounts of these “activists”, then there is the consulting fees, lunches, dinners, etc. Very little was spent on actual advertising and education. The expenditures are public knowledge and can be viewed by all. It is time for grass root activists to put these people out of a job

Ron
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

That’s right. Put the ballot on every two years. 2010, 2012, 2014 until we win. That’s approximately $40 million per campaign. So we’ll put in $40 million every ballot initiative until we win. So who’s going to put ul the $40 million. Anyone? @M3, you have $40 million to spare?

It so easy to see this issue and not see anything else. But look at the political landscape of 2010: there’s going to be an anti-immigration ballot initiative in California. You think that’s going to pull out the progressive folks or the conservative folks? Midterm elections have historically been marked by older, white, conservative voters. Its ridiculous to think that this issue stands untied to anything else politically.

And so much commentary about Equality California et al, but once again the voices and concerns of the queer people of color organizations are being left out. Once again, people who think they know communities of color, when they’ve never stepped foot within an enclave, are telling people of color what to do. If these are legitimate concerns of communities of color, why not listen to them instead of jumping to the defensive. It was people of color orgs who were shut out from the original Prop 8 leaders.

Ben in Oakland
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I have said repeatedly that the prop8 people didn’t win– we lost. A closeted campaign full of focus groups and nothing else. It was disgraceful.

i won’t go into the whole thing right now, but i will say this. I would rather losr because we told the truth than lose because we particpated in a closeted, fear-ridden lie.

Paul
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Approximately $40 million per campaign???

Where are you pulling that number from???

We don’t need 40 mil to get it back on the ballots…

Someone is selling you a bridge and you are buying it… For 40 million dollars.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

Timothy Kincaid
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Darrell,

Failure to advocate based on our the actual experiences of those in our midst would be, in my opinion, a grave deriliction of our duty.

I couldn’t have said it better.

When Lorri chose to spend a month on vacation in Alaska in the middle of the campaign, she chose to not advocate for those in our midst who actually experience marriage inequality. She was in grave deriliction of her duty.

And now the spokesman for the Center is “worried that a 2010 political campaign might tap the same donors”. And you are telling us that marriage is not “the be all end all”.

Clearly, marriage equality is not a high priority of the Center, Lorri, Jim Key, or you.

You don’t have to care about marriage. You can think that other issues are more important to that segment of the gay community that you serve. But let’s leave decisions about the battle for marriage equality up to those who actually want to win it.

Kindly keep your spokespeople out of the press; they don’t speak for us on this issue. You can focus on the areas in which you find concern, but stay out of the way of those of us who consider equality under the law to be our priority.

----
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Just let this issue be handled by Olson-Boies at the SCOTUS. If we win, we won’t ever have to spend millions of dollars every 2 or 4 years to secure our rights.

Brad
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

I have tried, but have not been able to say it any better than you have, Timothy. I often wonder if the “Gay Leadership” are afraid of actually winning at the polls… because if gay marriage is legalized, and society comes to accept gays and lesbians as their friends and neighbors (which we already are), the ones who lose the most are the “Gay Rights Groups” who need our donations to support their income. It’s a cash cow that they’ve been milking for years. I’m even beginning to wonder if they didn’t tank the No on 8 campaign on purpose.

Movement Guy
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy –

You didn’t address any of Darrell’s actual points. If you want to keep building up a straw man argument to make you feel better about prioritizing your right to gaudy wedding over the life and death services provided by OUR community centers, that’s your choice. Those of us who ACTUALLY CARE about our community (even the poor folk), know that during the WORST ECONOMIC CRISIS since the Great Depression choices have to made. So, feel free to attack Lorri Jean and the LA Center – and I have my own misgivings about her vacation and the No on 8 campaign in general – rather than actually do something that would help your fellow queers.

Brad –

I’ve worked in the movement on- and off in my career. I spent the rest of it at an academic medical center where I made a significantly higher salary than I do now that I’m back in the movement. But, when Bush was reelected and we lost marriage fights across the country, I thought my community could use my skills and passion. A lot of our leaders and organization managers – Lorri Jean, myself, our legal groups – could make A LOT more money at non-gay organizations or in for-profit companies. So, this tired canard that we’re afraid the movement will shut down and we’ll be out of jobs is absurd. You do the entire movement a huge disservice when you devalue the work we do and, yes, the sacrifices we have made by choosing to put our skills to work on your behalf.

Timothy Kincaid
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Darrell,

Can you please provide either a link to the Center’s 6/30/08 Form 990 or just email me a pdf copy?

It isn’t currently posted at GuideStar or Foundation Center.

Thanks.

darrel cummings
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy: I have tried to provide facts and perspectives that would presumably be of help to this dialogue. I have also tried to respectfully correct mistatements you have made and offered myself as a resource to you in future articles regarding the Center. Now, you claim that I do not consider our fight for marriage equality a priority and that I care more about other issues and therefore we should stay out of the press on marriage matters. This line of attack is reprehensible and inconsistent with what I have said, what I have done, and who I am.

I am sorry that we could not have a more respectful exchange. I have tried and now I am done.

Movement Guy
July 15th, 2009 | LINK

Darrel –

You’ve been more than courteous in the face of nasty attacks by Timothy, who apparently refuses to actually engage in a conversation about his over-the-top accusations. Keep up the good work.

Timothy (TRiG)
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’m not going to take sides from the far side of the Atlantic.

Marriage is not the most pressing social inequality in the world, or even in the Western world, or even among gay people in the Western world. Other things matter more. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again.

Other things, however, are more complicated. The world is a messy place, and social problems cannot be solved easily. On questions of government policy to fix these problems, there are usually strong (or, at least, non-whacky) arguments on each side. Marriage equality, by contrast, is simple. There is a straightforward, conceptually easy fix to this glaring inequality. And there are absolutely no good arguments against it*. To some extent, then, we are right to focus on marriage. Rarely are issues of right and wrong quite so clear.

But only to some extent. Those messy social problems often cause greater harm to the community than marriage inequality does, and they too deserve focus. Of course, Timothy Kincaid is a right-wing thinker. Right-wing thinking does not have solutions for messy social problems, so right-wing thinkers often pretend to themselves that these problems don’t really exist.

What was that I said about not taking sides? Oh well ….

TRiG.

* I don’t count “My imaginary friend doesn’t like it” as a good argument.

Timothy (TRiG)
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

And I’ll echo Movement Guy in saying that Darrel Cummings has been courteous and patient.

TRiG.

Al W.
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

2010 is absolutely the best time to do this thing. Why?

BECAUSE there’s less time to gather money.

The less time to gather big huge war chests, the more this thing banks on what’s in the hearts and minds of people. The polling in the runup to the Prop 8 vote was showing us ahead, right up until the anti-gay side ran the ads saying we were going to indoctrinate the children and all the other crap. It takes big lethargic organizations a lot of time to establish operations, a network, etc.. I think a quick run-and-gun type grassroots operation could successfully overcome the juggernaut of the Mormon Church and their ability to coverty establish solid networks and operations.

Christina Suk
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

Major media FAIL. The groups that issued this statement were three LGBT groups that work in communities of color: API Equality-LA (Asian & Pacific Islander), Jordan Rustin Coalition (African-American) and HONOR Pac (Latino/a). They have been working in their communities for YEARS and they know what kind of strategies work best people in their communities. You want to run them over and say that their work isn’t valid and they shouldn’t have a say (like what happened in the no on 8 campaign)???

Get off your high horse and look at the bigger picture. 2010 bandwagon jumpers claim that momentum with will help us win. Are you kidding? Momentum within WHICH groups? Certainly not the non-English speaking population…because the POC groups weren’t given enough resources by the larger campaign to reach out to their communities. Get out of the fantasyland and realize that everlasting change needs to be worked on. It’s not just about changing the minds of a few swing voters by a certain deadline.

Movement Guy
July 16th, 2009 | LINK

@ Al W. –

The right will always have the money. To put this in the cross-hairs during the mid-terms would be a huge mistake.

Get it on the ballot in 2011. That would make sense.

Aaron Bloom
July 17th, 2009 | LINK

Two comments: one about 2010, and one about Darrel Cummings and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

1. GOING BACK TO THE BALLOT IN 2010:

I believe we should go back to the ballot in 2010 for a whole host of reasons. Here are just a few:

First, it is the right thing to do. As MLK said, “A right delayed is a right denied.” I am a straight ally, so the issue doesn’t affect me on as deep of a level as my LGBT friends and family, but I felt like my rights were also taken away on November 4th — my right to live in a California where everyone is treated equally under the law, allowed the same opportunties, and given the same level of respect. We have the moral high ground, and we should not be afraid to speak up (and continue speaking up) until these rights are restored. It kills me every time I meet someone who wanted to get married in December or January (and had booked a venue, sent out invitations, etc.) and had to cancel. My heart goes out to those people, and my heart goes out to all the LGBT kids who, in May of 2008, dreamed of getting married one day only to have those dreams shattered on November 4th.

Second, the time is right. I remember fighting with people who were going to other states to campaign for Obama instead of staying home to fight Prop. 8. Many of those people won’t be there for us again in 2012 when Obama is up for re-election, and some of them feel guilty enough to work really hard to restore marriage equality in 2010 (and to work hard between now and then). I don’t like the idea of competing with Obama for fundraising, and I don’t like the top of the Democratic ticket not being on our side. Obama may be a really good advocate for some things, but he is not the fierce advocate for which we had all hoped. I hope he redeems himself, but I feel much better about all of the likely Democratic candidates for Governor. As far as I can tell, every single one of them is on our side with respect to this issue. Plus, activism is at an all time high. There is no way that all of these people are going to continue at this clip between now and November 2012. They may continue between now and November 2010 — but if we give up 2010, a huge number of them will take a vacation from now until July 16, 2011 or later (and some may never return — after all, they may view a decision of waiting as a message that this issue really isn’t that important to us).

Third, fundraising is going to be difficult for everyone. The people on the other side live in the same economy that we do. Plus, thanks to some really effective boycotts (Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate is amazing), many of the really big donors may think twice about giving large donations to the other side again. Doug Manchester (owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego) gave $125,000 to help qualify Prop. 8 for the ballot, and he has apparently lost over $7 million in business as a result of that boycott. And let’s not forget that media, materials, etc. are all less expensive now than they were in 2008.

Fourth, the recent polling shows we can win in 2010. Our group helped co-fund a poll that shows that 50% of likely 2010 voters are already with us (without any campaign or work) and only 42% against — once we clarify in the ballot language that allowing same sex couples to marry will not affect churches or other religious institutions. So, the people who say that we need to change 300,000+ hearts and minds in order to win are ignoring the shift in public opinion since November 4th and the impact of progress in other states. We just have to keep those that we have already won since Prop. 8 passed and win just a small percentage of the undecided voters. The poll is really bringing out who views the glass as half empty and who views the glass as half full. I obviously view it as half full and those of us who have that view have a powerful advocate on our side — hope. Plus, polling is not the be all and end all. If Barack Obama only listened to the polls in July 2007, John McCain would be President.

Fifth, avoiding an initiative battle in 2010 is impossible. People who think that we can avoid dealing with the 2010 election by announcing that we are waiting until 2012 to restore marriage equality are forgetting about the other side’s agenda. If they are not having to fight us on the marriage issue again, they will be putting forth their own ballot initiative to get rid of domestic partnerships, or to try to retroactively take away the 18,000 same sex marriages that were performed, or to try to prevent same sex couples from being able to adopt. The earlier poster got it right. We need to stop being on the defensive. We draw the line here.

2. DARREL CUMMINGS AND THE L.A. GAY & LESBIAN CENTER:

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center does some truly amazing things. The scope, breadth and quality of their services enrich (and save) lives. I think it is fair to be critical of the decisions made by the Center (and others) during the NO on 8 campaign, but we need to move past that and even I (a straight guy who never even knew about the Center until I got involved in the fight for marriage equality a little over a year ago) was quite offended by the characterization of the Center as “primarily a health organization – with a few other worthwhile programs.” I have met so many people now who rely on programs the Center offers that I am amazed that I never knew about the Center before a year ago (I guess I didn’t have enough LGBT friends before then).

I have also met Darrel Cummings on a few occasions now — and I don’t just mean a “hello” at an event. Rather, we have sat down and discussed the issue of marriage equality in small group settings on a few occasions. I am not going to pretend that he and I are best friends because we just don’t know each other that well. That said, you don’t have to be around Darrel for very long to realize that he is as decent of a person as you will ever meet and he has clearly dedicated himself to making sure that the needs of the LGBT community are met.

Has the Center made the issue of marriage equality enough of a priority? I think that is a fair question, but I also think it is fair for the Center to express its concerns about the economy and the effect of another ballot initiative on the Center’s ability to continue providing vital services. Of course, as I stated earlier, I believe that a 2010 ballot initiative is inevitable (the only question being whether we are on the offensive to regain marriage equality or on the defensive, fighting an initiative designed to take more rights away from the LGBT community, such as domestic partnerships or the right to adopt), so I hope that the Center realizes that soon and advocates that we draw the line here. Not only do I believe that it is the right thing to do, but I also think that it is in the Center’s best interest to do so.

Aaron Bloom
Chair, Ballot Initiative Committee
Love Honor Cherish

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lester
July 17th, 2009 | LINK

I am so tired of a handful of professional activists claiming to speak for all LGBT people of color. They don’t even speak for the entire boards of their organizations and have ignored the opinions of the people they claim to represent even after they polled them. The clamor for taking action is coming from our entire community, not just white folk. I myself am Hispanic and I haven’t stopped working for marriage equality every day in over a year. The Latino Equality Alliance and the Mexican American Bar Association are on record in support of taking back our rights in 2010. Somos Familia has joined LHC’s statement in response to the “We have to wait” manifesto. Other organizations are joining every day. The people who excluded the grassroots movement from the last campaign and lead us to disaster still think they are in charge and they want to stop us from standing up for ourselves. If we let them, it will be to our eternal shame.

Equality California Says WAIT Until 2012 For Prop 8 Ballot Measure. Actually Though I Am Surprised They Were Able to Come To A Decision At All | Back2Stonewall.com
August 12th, 2009 | LINK

[...] have to agree with Timothy Kincaid over at Box Turtle reveiw some organizations have ulterior motives behind their opposition to moving forward. EQCA will give [...]

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.