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11/30/2009

8 - '10 = Negative 2 everyone

by Jeremy Hooper

It's been a year and change since California voters ushered in the Prop 8 error. It looks ever-more-likely that these same state voters are going to have wait an even longer period of time before they get the chance to fix it:

The effort to get same sex marriage on the California ballot in 2010 took a hit Monday. Rick Jacbos, the leader of the 700,000-member Courage Campaign just told us that after spending more than $200,000 on "qualitative research" into the issue in California that "We do not see a path to victory."

So, the Courage Campaign sent a note to its supporters Monday calling for "for more research and time to change hearts and minds before returning to the ballot." Lambda Legal, a LGBT legal organization, said largely the same thing Monday.

Keep reading: After major same sex marriage research, liberal CA org says: "We do not see a path to victory." [SF Chronicle]

The working theory is that 2012 will be a better shot, and we don't disagree with that point of view. But still: It's hard to sit back and enjoy the ride when you know that a biased baby shat forth a steaming load that will only grow more rancid with time. Sure, it might make more sense to wait until you can pull over to the stable rest area that your carefully studied roadmap says is more likely to be safe and clean. Yet when it comes to unconstitutional caca that's this rank, you can't blame anyone for seeking out a detour.

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Your thoughts

At some point, I suppose that we must realize that the only way we can win is if we work together; it's pretty clear that that won't happen in 2010. The fact that 'no on h8' underestimated the task, and then proceeded to squander the available resources (where at least half came from major donors), and then went down in flames, is probably the biggest reason that those donors are skittish about staking another wager on the same old nag. So, I get that too... major donors = campaign. Without major donors, without the support of everyone involved, and without a "winning" plan we have no chance (whatever a "winning" plan is).

And, I get that getting out the younger voters is crucial to our success (which is most likely in a presidential election year). And, that the longer we wait, more younger voters will be eligible to vote, which only benefits us. Also that the longer we wait, more of the over-65-ers who voted most heavily against us in 2008 will have died off, and that only benefits us.

And I get that we're tired; we've been beaten up pretty badly over the past two years. Not the least of those beating has come at the hands of those that we wholeheartedly and ardently supported; those who determined that it was politically expedient to court us; those who also determined that it was political suicide to reciprocally support us in turn.

We also have the Olsen/Boies case working through the courts that may (or may not) effectively make moot the argument for an additional run at putting the civil rights of a suspect class up to a public vote. It's anyone's guess as to the outcome of that court case. As it is equally anyone's guess as to whether we will ever be successful at gaining (or retaining) marriage equality at the ballot box.

But if we don't pursue 2010, are we sending the message that marriage equality isn't important enough... if not entirely unimportant, then certainly not important enough to muster the effort to fight for it. In 2008, hatred, ignorance and bigotry prevailed against us. But the H8ers pulled out all the stops to do it, and part of me wants to believe that their victory was much more Pyrrhic in nature than they would ever admit (perhaps even more than they realize). Their supporters blissfully assumed they could contribute to the promotion of hate with impunity... just ask Doug Manchester how well that worked out for him. The longer we wait, the more time they have to recuperate – and potentially recover.

There may be a lot of reasons for waiting until 2012. HELL, we'll probably come up with many more by then for waiting until 2016. 2020 is a nice round number! I mean really, what are we doing today to ensure that we win in 2012? If we don't have a campaign forcing us to CAMPAIGN, then will we? If we don't have a campaign forcing us to raise the money to accomplish all of these intermediary “goals”, then will we? If we don't have one single/organized/focused campaign working toward these “deliverables”, then will they magically appear as the result of some haphazard, disjunct effort?

I understand the difference between pragmatism and idealism. But I can't understand this... to me waiting until 2012 is right on the borderline of resigning ourselves to defeat. I guess that my unbridled, optimistic idealism just isn't ready to do that.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 1, 2009 12:42:05 AM

I don't think we're necessarily sending a message that Marriage Ain't Worth It by not putting it on the 2010 ballot. It's sociopolitical pragmatism.

They can still spend money right now: building up the networks that can be activated in 2012; dispelling the falsehoods promulgated by the intentionally bigoted to the unintentionally misinformed masses; gathering and disseminating information that can be used to discredit the intentionally bigoted, without abusing those misinformed masses.

Then, come 2011, there will be the grassroots network and the energy and the funders needed to launch an effective public campaign. NOM didn't spring into existence fully formed and funded; it did previously what we're just doing now, constructing a grass roots initiative to complement the more traditional political lobbying efforts (at which groups like HRC, Lambda Legal, et al are so effective).

Posted by: Dave | Dec 1, 2009 12:23:05 PM

I was fairly gung-ho about a ballot initiative in 2010. Until Maine. I just think our community is suffering from all the defeats at a ballot box which just won't work in our favor for awhile. I think the Maine loss, unlike California, actually served to temper the energy in the community instead of galvanize us. We need to wait until it's worth our money and time. We need to wait until we will win.

Posted by: Bruno | Dec 1, 2009 2:21:05 PM

Dave, I agree that we could be spending money now, educating the masses, and sponsoring PSAs (which is what our ads have basically been for the past two campaigns). But, we aren't raising money now for that effort... And, as far as I can see, we haven't been working toward achieving any pre-2012 goals. I fully expect that we will wait until 2011, and then start "campaigning" in California, and the years between 2008 and 2011 will have accomplished nothing. other than the fact that more old racist/homophobic bigots will have died off - and hopefully enough to make a difference. That may be pragmatic, but then waiting until 2020, then, would be much more pragmatic...

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 1, 2009 3:25:02 PM

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