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2010 or 2012: Which vision is 20/20?

by Jeremy Hooper

This weekend, New York Times writer Jesse McKinley looked at the current debate about whether California's equality advocates should go back to the polls in '10 or '12. Here's a snip:

Earlier this year, many supporters of same-sex marriage seemed eager to mount a 2010 campaign to overturn Proposition 8, which was passed by California voters in November and defined marriage as “between a man and a woman.”

But the timing of another campaign has since been questioned by several of the movement’s big donors, including David Bohnett, a millionaire philanthropist and technology entrepreneur who gave more than $1 million to the unsuccessful campaign to defeat Proposition 8.

“In conversations with a number of my fellow major No on 8 donors,” Mr. Bohnett said in an e-mail message, “I find that they share my sentiment: namely, that we will step up to the plate — with resources and talent — when the time is right.”

“The only thing worse than losing in 2008,” he added, “would be to lose again in 2010.”

*KEEP READING: Backers of Gay Marriage Rethink California Push [NYT]

The truth: Nobody's ever going to know for sure when is the perfect time to go back to the polls. This whole activism thing is always largely uncharted, and in this new post-Prop 8 world, the marriage equality fight holds even more unknowns than usual. We are galvanized, yet still shocked. Committed, yet still not as organized as certain faith communities. We have some money to throw around, but certainly not as much as we've had in past years. And while we have won several states in the days since Prop 8, along with those victories comes inevitable backlash from certain sets.

We look at the polls and we make the most educated guess possible. But in some ways, it's always going to be a guessing game. When it comes to begging for the rights that you've already won, it's not going to be a perfect system with a perfect time to act. If the world were anything close to perfect, then the rights wouldn't have been stolen from us in the first place.

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Your thoughts

Tough as it might be to stomach, a push in 2012 might be the best option. This gives proponents of same-sex marriage more time to study California voters and adapt their campaigning techniques likewise. By 2012, there would also (likely) be more states in the same-sex marriage camp, giving external pressure to California voters. With California such a key battleground state, it would be foolish--damaging?--to jump the gun.

Posted by: Brian | Jul 27, 2009 2:46:41 PM

One word to David Bohnett: Bullshit.

Posted by: Jon | Jul 27, 2009 3:31:15 PM

We have to grow a thick skin here. We have to keep trying. Just because there's a good chance we might lose in 2010 doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Posted by: Bruno | Jul 27, 2009 6:15:06 PM

The only thing worse than losing in 2008, is not fighting back in 2010. And it appears that is exactly what is going to happen.

Posted by: Ken | Jul 27, 2009 11:02:40 PM

I think that if we have real leadership (ie: Courage Campaign), 2010 becomes a genuine possibility. If we give it our all in '10, and we somehow lose at the polls, we go again in 2012. And 2014. And 2016. History IS on our side and we WILL have our rights. We are not going to sit back and do nothing this time around.

Last year our community was *not* energized. We felt it couldn't happen here, but it did. We have a purpose -- we just need leadership.

I wish the organizations would stop their infighting -- especially since several of them were responsible for the debacle that was the No on 8 campaign -- and work together with common purpose. Is that too much to ask? (and yes, I AM doing my part)

Posted by: Drew | Jul 28, 2009 2:14:59 AM

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