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Hey, Geoff Kors, don’t lie to me and try to use my orientation for your partisan agenda

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

Timothy Kincaid

September 16th, 2010

I’m gay. That means that my romantic, affectionate, and sexual attraction are towards persons of the same sex. It does NOT mean that the Democratic Party has the right to expect my loyalties, my money, or my vote. And it especially does not mean that self coronated gay leaders have the right to lie to me and try to use my affiliation with my community as a tool to advance their own personal power or the candidate of their choosing.

I am annoyed to the point of venting (obviously) with leaders of gay organizations who think that they can “deliver the gay vote.” But I’m a bit used to it.

What I am not used to, and refuse to become used to, is being lied to in the process.

But that is what Geoff Kors, the Executive Director of Equality California, is doing. A few weeks ago I got this from Kors:

Yes on 8 supporter Meg Whitman has stepped up her anti-marriage equality campaign.

Late yesterday, she joined Attorney General Candidate Steve Cooley by saying that, if elected, she will use the state’s vast resources to defend Prop. 8 in court.

But it simply isn’t true. Whitman did NOT say that ” if elected, she will use the state’s vast resources to defend Prop. 8 in court” and what is more, she couldn’t if she wanted to. The date to appeal Perry v. Schwarzenegger has passed and the court has said that it will not be making exceptions to its deadlines, so unless Whitman has a hot tub time machine she can’t do anything about it.

The case will be heard in early December and Whitman would not be sworn in until late January. My prediction is that the appeal will be dismissed due to lack of standing. But assuming that it goes forward, and assuming that it drags on for two months, the most Whitman could do is file an amicus brief, something she can do today if she wishes.

What Whitman actually said is:

“The issue right now is, as I understand it, is ‘Will Proposition 8 have the appropriate support to actually make an appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals?’

“I think the governor of California and the attorney general today have to defend the Constitution and have to enable the judicial process to go along … and an appeal to go through,” Whitman said. “So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court.” [emphasis mine]

But that is a long long way from “if elected, she will use the state’s vast resources.” And while I disagree that the governor and attorney general have an obligation to appeal, that is hardly an outrageous, homophobic, or bigoted position. And further Whitman made no reference to resources but only to “give that ruling standing.”

While Kors is stretching the truth there, it at least has a passing relationship to the facts. But then yesterday this showed up in my email:

Dear Timothy,

Meg Whitman made history today in her attempt to buy herself the governor’s office. She has now spent more of her own money than any candidate in our nation’s history: a whopping $119 million!

We have to fight back!

Not a dime of this money is going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality. In fact, she is spending all this money so she can then spend your and my taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit to overturn the Federal District court decision that declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

Equality California Political Action Committee is working to defeat Whitman, Cooley, Fiorina and all candidates who would stand in the way of full equality. We can win these races if we can turn out the vote. But we can’t do that without your support.

Help us fight Whitman’s checkbook by contributing today.

The cost of having Meg Whitman as our next governor is too great.

In solidarity,

Geoff Kors
Executive Director
Equality California PAC

What a great big pile of steaming partisancrap.

First off, not a dime of ANY CANDIDATE’s election fund is “going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality.” Not Jerry Brown’s campaign, not Kamala Harris’, not even a cent of the money that he raises through this email will be “going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality.” But while that’s deceptive and petty, at least it isn’t a blatant lie.

This is:

In fact, she is spending all this money so she can then spend your and my taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit to overturn the Federal District court decision that declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

Really, Geoff? That’s why she’s running?

When, exactly, did Whitman say that she was seeking “a lawsuit to overturn the Federal District court decision”? Oh, she didn’t.

And when did she make opposing Prop. 8 a central part of her campaign? Oh, she hasn’t.

And will she be spending a cent of taxpayer dollars to defend Prop. 8? Oh, she can’t. Nor did she say that she would if she could.

But Kors feels perfectly entitled to try and deliver my vote and my dollars by lying to me.

Look, I don’t mind when a partisan group (which EQCA clearly is) seeks to support their party’s candidate. That’s expected (though it annoys me to no end when they pretend to be a non-partisan gay group rather than a partisan advocate).

If Kors wants to promote Jerry Brown on his merits, then he should do so. If he wants to oppose Meg Whitman due to inadequate support for gay Californians, more power to him. But don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

I am suffering from no delusions. There is no question that Jerry Brown is more supportive on marriage equality than Meg Whitman. But let’s be truthful about what she has said, what she has done, and what she can and will do.

Here is how Whitman describes her position:

So as you know I am pro-civil union and not for gay marriage. And just for me, that term marriage, for me needs to be between a man and a woman.

And while “Yes on 8 supporter Meg Whitman” did not campaign for Proposition 8 or in any other way support Yes on 8, she did vote for the initiative. And when Proposition 8 passed, she took a bit of a middle stance. (LA Times)

Explaining her support for Proposition 8, the November measure that banned same-sex marriage, she called it a “matter of personal conscience and my faith.”

But Whitman, a Presbyterian who supports gay civil unions, said the thousands of same-sex marriages that took place last year before the ban should be legally recognized — a sentiment opposed by many Proposition 8 backers. Moreover, she said, gay and lesbian couples should be able to adopt children.

When Perry v. Schwarzengger found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, her response was rather bland:

Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

What I see is a woman who is less supportive than Jerry Brown, but not an ardent foe of gay equality. She has pandered to the right in her statement on the appeal, but has not made anti-gay positions a part of her campaign. She was the most preferable of those running in the Republican primary, but falls short of seeing gay people as fully equal in society. She is not (as some partisan hacks have taken to calling her) homophobic, but her views are not as evolved as they should be and she is not an ally of our community.

Based on her positions on the issue of marriage equality, I could not endorse Meg Whitman.

But let me be perfectly clear: while I know that I’ll be accused of “defending” Meg Whitman, that is not my intent. Really, this commentary isn’t about Whitman at all; rather, it is about being lied to.

I hate being lied to, I really do. But I especially hate having my sexual orientation manipulated dishonestly by “gay leaders” for partisan gain.

It’s almost enough to make me vote for a third party candidate.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

I received that email myself, and i had exactly the same thoughts.

EQCA blew the prop. 8 campaign, pure and simple. I’ve seen nothing from them since that even remotely calls to me to renew my support.

Though I don’t care for Meg whitman or her attempt to buy an election. I don’t care for her “civil unions are good enough for you” stance. but engaging in the same sort of lies, distortions, and half-truths as Ms. Maggs doesn’t make appeal to me either.

Matt
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

Right on!

Just want to say how much I appreciate your nonideological, nonpartisan, thoughtful posts on this site. I don’t know how much your readers tell you this (hopefully often!) but in the sea of mouthpieces for various dogmas that is the internet, you are a breath of fresh air.

Matt
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

(Apologies for the very mixed metaphor. I blame enthusiasm.)

Ray
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

It seems to me that Courage Campaign’s Prop8TrialTracker pulled some similar sh!t by associating anti-Prop8 sentiment with some other political aim. That’s when I tendered my subscriber credentials and told them they’re not going to drag me away of the marriage equality issue into foreign territory. I guess I’m old and fed up with being played like a fiddle. Sorry. My eyes are on, and will remain on – THE PRIZE. Equality is my **only** focus. I’m not going to vote for *anyone* making vague noises about equality any more.

Bruno
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

As a constituent or part of the LGBT community (or whatever other community I fall in), I get lied to all the time. That’s not surprising. But I don’t really care if Kors lies about Whitman…she’s anti-equality, and therefore needs to be thwarted at all costs. Not that I’m expecting she will be, as I’m sure she has a lot more money left with which to continue buying this election.

Herman
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

As reported by Michael Petrelis, Geoff Kors went on a 3-week vacation to Spain only a few months before the election of 2008 and the passage of Prop 8. When he got back from sunny Spain, he provided incompetent leadership, resulting in the greatest political loss in the history of the gay rights movement.

For that he was paid and is being paid approximately $300,000 per year.

As he might say: “Not a dime of this money is going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality.”

Grant
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks Timothy for highlighting this. I receive those emails all the time as well. I don’t bother to read them (I already know as much as I need to know from the subject line).

While I too will support Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman, I also resent partisan organizations using blatant scare tactics and falsehoods to increase donations. It’s cynical and counter-productive. And it gives true activisim for LGBT causes a bad name. We all become associated with this behavior.

Kudos to you for bringing this to light.

Pender
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

I appreciate and agree with 99% of this post, but I came to a screeching halt here:

She is not (as some partisan hacks have taken to calling her) homophobic

Opposing same-sex marriage is self-evidently homophobic, with no exceptions. I’m sure she doesn’t think of herself as homophobic. I agree that there are a lot of folks out there who are MORE homophobic than her. But her official position is that, as a matter of conscience, my family and I do not deserve equality under the law.

Geoffrey Kors certainly goes overboard in attacking her, but you go overboard in defending her. Someone who thinks gay people should be denied the right to marry — WHATEVER the reason — is just as homophobic as a person who said that Jews or blacks should be denied the right to marry would be antisemitic or racist.

Why would you give cover to the all-too-common refrain, “I’m not a BIGOT, I just believe that marriage is between a man and a woman”?

Titus
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with Pender.

It is important to recognize that we do not vote for politicians based on their being *personally* homophobic or non-homophobic. Rather, we vote for politicians based on their *political positions*. Regardless of how comfortable Ms. Whitman is with gay people, her political positions are clearly homophobic (though to be sure, about as homophobic as Obama’s political positions).

Timothy Kincaid
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

Pender,

Which of the following people are homophobic:

Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Joe Biden
Harry Reid

Because for some strange reason I get emails talking about “homophobic Meg Whitman” yet I’ve never gotten one talking about “homophobic Hillary Clinton” or “homophobic Harry Reid”, yet all of them support civil unions over marriage equality.

They are all wrong on their positions. And all of them have their views based in prejudice (or political pandering). But I would not call any of these people (or Meg Whitman) homophobes.

Ben Mathis
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

Then you’re blind Timothy, because all 4 of those listed are homophobic and are called that by GLBT all the time, even within the comments on here.

I don’t like the guy or his lies, but Whitman is absolutely a homophobe.

hb
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

If your argument can stand on the truth, using lies simply detracts from it. When will they understand. Some of us REALLY don’t like being lied to, and will (occasionally) vote against the biggest liar, just because we REALLY don’t like being lied to.

TampaZeke
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

I call all four of those people homophobic all the time and I here them trashed as homophobic on gay blogs from coast to coast.

Sorry Timothy, I’m with Pender. You are going overboard, as usual, to positively spin a Republican. Can’t help but notice that you are ranting and raging about Kors (who makes my flesh crawl) but not one mention of GOProud endorsing the crazy Teabagger O’Donnel and Barney Frank’s very homphobic opponent or Log Cabin, who filed suit against DADT endorsing Mary (DADT supporter) Bono.

You would think that these things would at least warrant a mention.

TampaZeke
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

Here = hear

truthteller
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

She is clearly saying if she were governor she would appeal the decision. Prop 8 is now part of the constitution and she is in fact saying she would defend the constitution and fight to defend prop 8. How much more clear can this be?

“I think the governor of California and the attorney general today have to defend the Constitution and have to enable the judicial process to go along … and an appeal to go through,” Whitman said. “So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court.”

The Liberals have been getting their ass kicked at every election by the right wingers with lies, stretching the truth and dirty tricks because the Democrats have not fought back with the same weapons.

The Courage campaign is finally fighting back with the same tactics and whether you like it or not, it is the reality of politics today. You either beat them at their game and with the same tactics or take the high road and get your ass kicked and keep GLBT as subhuman under the law.

Politics is a dirty game and playing nice will get you second class citizenship.

truthteller
September 16th, 2010 | LINK

I meant to write Equality California, not the Courage Campaign.

Other Fred in the UK
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

Whilst it might be technically correct to call anyone who does not support full, absolute and complete lesbian and gay equality homophobic or bigoted, doing so creates a number of problems. It drains those words of any impact, leaves us without words to refer to those who oppose and lesbian and gay rights and, finally, insults and alienates those politicians and voters who agree with us on most issues and might be persuaded on full equality.

customartist
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

There are two valid points here:

First, that lies serve to discredit and undermine integrity,

and the other side:

Which says that war is war, that you cannot fight fire with toothpicks, that when your enemy uses lies, and uses any other means against you, do you then return it with civility? or kindness??

I say no.

Yes, one must balance all of this, and Kors must be very careful in his rhetoric, but as imperfect as his organization may be, I thank him for his efforts which are intended to help us all.

Whether Whitman actually said this or not is moot in my estimation. She WOULD say it, she DOES think it, and she WILL legislate against Gay Equality.

Scooter J
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

Thank you for your position and eloquence on this matter. I could not agree more in either mind or emotion with regards to the various LGBT organizations who will say anything to raise funds.

Question first: can someone please tell me what Meg Whiteman’s record was on gay/lesbian issues during her tenure at EBay? Is there behavior there that would support or refute the homophobia issue?

In either case, her homophobia or lack thereof is not what Tim’s article was about for me. It was about the professional organizations in the “LGBT business” who seem to be taking all measures necessary to raise funds to keep their organizations and salaries intact.

I imagine that in the day following the successful conclusion of the marriage equality issue we will all get mailings from the HRC, from EQCA, and a number of other organizations taking credit for the victory and asking for money to tackle other LGBT issues.

The reality is that none of these organizations have been effective in the legal push for equality. We will owe a great deal of gratitude to the young, open-minded generation of Glee-loving, voting citizens for whom this issue is just no big deal, for our victory.

Keep up the provocative commentaries Tim, I enjoy and am often challenged by your points of view.

If it walks like one
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

Please – Whitman, Obama (“God is in the mix”), Biden, H. Clinton (quite the hypocrite about marriage), and Reid ARE homophobes.

You don’t think gay people should be allowed to get married? You’re a homophobe. Period.

Donnchadh
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

“Homophobia” is an deeply-ingrained fear of homosexuality (though its etymology is “fear of the same”), so it is purely emotional. It is possible to be homophobic yet support gay equality in more rational, detached moments.
An opinion, however irrational, is not a phobia any more than it is a fetish or a hallucination. Making assumptions about gay people (and more specifically their behaviour) is not homophobia, it is prejudice.

Amicus
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

I still don’t understand California’s set-up, with an elected AG and an elected Governor, both of whom have standing in court, based on some of the phrases I’ve read, so I have to pass…

But, those thinking that the issue of standing will keep it from appeal could be wrong. And, pending that appeal, it’s not clear that Whitman couldn’t indeed start *new* litigation – she certainly hasn’t ruled it out, has she?

Anyway, as far as being lied to, one appreciates that. But, let’s not be too hard on our own. Why, here’s something in my inbox, distributed by Townhall, for

“Dear Fellow Sitting Duck:

As Obama’s spending orgy [??!!] sinks America deeper into financial turmoil [!!??], he is about to turn Uncle Sam’s acute funding crisis into YOUR problem.

In fact, THIS WEEK Obama’s Treasury and Labor Departments are holding outrageous, executive branch hearings on nationalization of retirement accounts.

Your nest egg is in their cross-hairs; you know, to “protect you” from losing your own money.

That’s why it’s absolutely vital you take a quick moment today to sign the Keep Obama’s Hands Off My Retirement Account petition to Congress.

In my 23+ years of exposing government attacks on assets for discerning Americans, trust me when I tell you that we ALL need to tell Congress in no uncertain terms:

DON’T LET OBAMA GET HIS GRUBBY HANDS INTO MY RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS!!!!!
Here’s what is going on.

The cash-strapped Obama Administration’s unofficial 401(k) nationalization czar is utopian New School for Social Research academic Teresa Ghilarducci — who was dubbed by U.S. News and World Report as “the most dangerous woman in America” after she appeared before Congress to testify in favor of government seizing 401(k)s and other retirement assets.

It is vital you sign our grassroots petition right away! Obama administration officials and their leftist allies in Congress have zeroed in on over $15 trillion in 401(k)s, IRAs, 403(b)s, and other accounts – and only a grassroots bonfire of opposition will ultimately stop them.

Why? Major state pension funds, state governments, and the entire federal entitlement program structure are on the verge of collapse and in need of bailouts due to collapsing tax revenues.

This Massive Theft is Underway —
Help Me STOP Them!

Today, I am sounding the alarm because millions of Americans stand to lose TRILLIONS OF THEIR OWN DOLLARS.
I DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP THEM. Your assets and your financial future are directly on the line!

Don’t wait for this freight train to hit you. Make your voice heard now. Sign and submit your petition now, before a new financial crisis gives the Obama administration the cover it needs to ram this outrageous retirement nationalization scheme through!

Lee Bellinger, Publisher
Independent Living”

Pender
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy:

They are all homophobic, because they all believe that gay people do not deserve the right to marry. That their views are in the mainstream doesn’t matter — if it did, that would mean that the Nazis weren’t antisemitic.

TonyJazz
September 17th, 2010 | LINK

Tim seems to be splitting hairs in this article, much to our disadvantage.

Meg is seeking the homophobic vote, no matter what her personal views may be.

That makes her scum, in my view….

If she were in office today, she would be supporting Prop 8—causing us significant harm.

(At least Arnold managed to do one thing right, after he bought his governorship….)

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