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05/07/2009

Because it was so fun the first time

by Jeremy Hooper

If Prop 8 is upheld by the court, are we going back to the California ballot sooner rather than later? It's looking that way:

“We’re hoping the court rules the right way, but we’re not counting on it,” said Marc Solomon, Equality California’s newly hired marriage director. “And we believe that 2010 is the right time to go back to the ballot.”
...
Frank Schubert, a spokesman for Protect Marriage, the leading group behind Proposition 8, said he had expected that the measure would eventually be challenged at the ballot box but was surprised that it could come so soon. “But,” he said, “if they think it’s right for them, we’ll meet them on the field of battle.”
Group Renews Fight for Same-Sex Marriage in California [NY Times]

So this means that soon enough, both sides might be contributing another $80 million for the sole purpose of making California as progressive as/less progressive than Iowa. All because certain people view court-mandated civil freedom as a "battlefield" rather than a crucial element of fair-minded society, and view their own senses of faith-based morality as the only acceptable course on which to pilot one's plane.

::sigh:: California parents, please protect your children. Protect them from the idea that the anti-gay side's wasteful bastardization of equality was either fiscally or civically responsible.

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Your thoughts

On the plus side, in the aftermath of prop8, we definately freaked out a lot of people who likely would've donated this time.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | May 7, 2009 9:09:26 AM

This is, I think, an important illumination of one of the less-mentioned problems caused by the continued fight over same-sex marriage. While such notions as justice and equality are surely important, and to be held in high regard, it's also important to note that this entire ordeal costs a great deal of money. Spending thusly by choice is irresponsible; but, unfortunately, spending to defend basic rights is unavoidable. Pragmatic issues are, despite their less romantic tint, important too.

Posted by: aBeecher | May 7, 2009 9:25:19 AM

I'm rather uneasy about this decision. I think its possible to win in '10, but it will be a difficult/expensive fight-and risky as well. It will be an off-year, low turnout election and we may actually lose by more than we did in 08, which would send the message that we are losing ground.

Gay couples in CA are still better off than most in the country so I don't see what the emergency is. Why not wait until 2012 when we are pushing at an open door?

Posted by: Phil | May 7, 2009 9:50:35 AM

Your final comment (including the sigh) would make a GREAT commercial. This IS about protecting children, after all: protecting the next generation of LGBT and allied citizens and leaders in this country and around the world. It's the same thought Lance Black expressed in his Oscar acceptance speech.

Posted by: Doug in Chgo | May 7, 2009 10:16:25 AM

Are we sure the other side can fill their coffers the same way as last time. I mean I know that FOF and their crew has no problem with the fundraising, but will the Mormons play as pivotal role this time? Last year their were only two states to focus on and in one a fight was impossible. California looked like a stronghold, which if toppled, could send the whole movement scrambling. But now that Iowa and most of the North East is on our side, will California really be such a smart place for Utah to invest, especially since equality looks more inevitable than ever? The Mormons can be a little loopy, but at the cost of possible losing their tax exempt again even they should think twice about massive spending.
But I guess on the note of things that might be different, anyone want to speculate where Obama will fall in all this? I mean supposedly part of the reason it passed in 08 was that he stayed out of the fight and the other side were able to lie about his stance on the issue. Any chance of him, if not supporting nation wide marriage equality, supporting this state issue?
This is going to be one exciting year! And Phil, the way New England is going, by 2010 we might already have an open door.

Posted by: Patrick | May 7, 2009 10:36:12 AM

Patrick: I'm not so sure either side will have an easy time raising money. But I do think we would have an easier time, since many folks who have never paid attention to activism now clearly see that WE are the ones with something to lose here.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 7, 2009 10:48:33 AM

"The Mormons can be a little loopy, but at the cost of possible losing their tax exempt again even they should think twice about massive spending."

I think "a little loopy" is being rather charitable imho :)

Seriously, I would imagine/hope that after the serious blowback after prop 8 they would be hesitant to be involved to the extent they did in 08.

"anyone want to speculate where Obama will fall in all this?"

Technically, Obama did oppose prop 8, though he certainly was not a leader on the issue. Based on his behavior on our issues since taking office, I wouldn't count on him at all.

"This is going to be one exciting year! And Phil, the way New England is going, by 2010 we might already have an open door."

I hope you're right. I guess we'll have to see how the Maine referendum pans out.

Posted by: Phil | May 7, 2009 10:59:42 AM

Prop H8 was the most expensive ballot initiative in the history of ballot initiatives. And, if we do end up back on the ballot (I'm still holding out hope for a unanimous decision from the court that invalidates prop H8), then the next drive will probably dwarf the expense of prop 8 in comparison.

We outspent them the last time, but did it too late, and too lackadaisically imho. I'm fully behind letting the Courage Campaign lead the next ballot initiative, and I have a lot more confidence that they would be successful. In terms of expense, I would be very surprised if the costs the next time around aren't double what they were on prop 8.

But look at the bright side.. even though FOF only kicked in about $600k last time, it nearly broke their back (could also be that the cesspool from which they draw their money is drying up too). Next time, maybe half of their staff will end up with pink slips! But more than that, maybe they will simply discover that theirs' is a losing proposition in every possible way.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 7, 2009 12:45:14 PM

Can I just say I really frigging HATE Frank Schubert? The man most responsible for prop 8's passage seems to get a free pass from us while the Carries and Maggies receive the brunt of it.

Anyway, the 2010 ballot question would be a close one...it may not go our way, but by 2012 we will ultimately prevail for sure.

Posted by: Bruno | May 7, 2009 1:58:27 PM

The best way to assure victory would be getting new voters on our side. Older people aren't likely to change their position on the issue. I say we invest on promoting the benefits of marriage equality to high-school seniors, college freshmen, and other potential voters.

Posted by: ---- | May 7, 2009 2:06:57 PM

The obvious question: Even if we were to win in 2010, what happens in 2012? And 2014? And 2016...?

Until we attack the problem at the root -- reforming this ridiculous voter initiative process we have had in California for more than 100 years, as well as eliminating the unfathomable idea of allowing anyone to vote on the civil rights of other people (think: five wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner) -- I foresee this back-and-forth every single election cycle, forever (or for as long as the money holds out, or until all the bigots are dead -- and I doubt I'll outlive the majority of them).

I don't want to spend the rest of my life being married for two years, being forcibly divorced for two years, being married for another two years...

I support the Courage Campaign's efforts ONLY because A) I trust Rick Jacobs' judgment (so far) a hell of a lot more than I do Geoff Kors', and B) we're not being offered any other options. (And no one is making a concerted effort to reform the California voter initiative process, which must be addressed before we can ever hope for "permanent" marriage equality is this insane state of mine.)

Still, I've been against putting marriage back on the ballot at all, no matter what year we're talking about, because you just don't vote on civil rights. Well, we do, but it runs counter to everything a Jeffersonian democracy stands for. (I know, it never was a Jeffersonian democracy. But it should be.)

By the way, I can't imagine either side being able to match the donations received next time around; the economy has taken a nosedrive in the year since the CA Supremes made their first decision. (In fact, in researching Prop 8 donors, I'm finding more and more have left their places of employment, leaving no trace of a new job, anywhere. I imagine the job losses on our side are similar.)

Posted by: Sapphocrat | May 8, 2009 2:06:40 AM

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