Marriage Equality USA issued the following press release today. I can't agree with its statement more, as I and many in the community, are calling for unification as key before heading to the ballot. We have to trust each other, and in order to trust, we have to heal. Once that's accomplished, we can do anything.
San Francisco, California: "It is fitting that on this International Day of Forgiveness, Marriage Equality USA declares that the key to moving forward is not a timing issue as much as it is about forgiveness and coming together," said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA Media Director. "We just completed over 40 'Get Engaged' community gatherings across California. At these Get Engaged events, the most recent polling results were shared and community feedback was solicited on WHEN and HOW to launch a campaign to restore marriage equality. Though there was no clear consensus from the grassroots community on whether to go back to the ballot box in 2010 or 2012, what was clear is that many people are still trying to heal from the deep anger and sadness of having their civil rights stripped away by a mere majority of Californians, as well as a lingering sense of betrayal and disappointment both towards the people who voted 'Yes on Proposition 8' and the shortcomings of the No on 8 campaign that must be addressed before we can successfully move forward towards creating a new campaign." The Get Engaged Tour report can be found on Marriage Equality USA's website. (You can also download a PDF here.)
"In the words of esteemed Christian theologian and marriage equality supporter, Lewis Smedes, 'When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner we set free is us,'" said McKay. "We must forgive and release the past in order to create a new future. We need to learn from past mistakes, but more importantly we must create and foster an environment of trust between our allied organizations. We need to release the blame for losing Proposition 8 so that we can be open to creating new relationships, new possibilities, a new campaign team with everyone – old and new- at the table. We will also need to get grounded in a space where we are ready to go out and engage with people who didn't 'get it' the first time, without anger or judgment, and with an open heart and compassion for their conflicted feelings on the issue of marriage equality. This is challenging work – but it is critical to any successful campaign – be it public education or ballot measure."
"Through our Get Engaged Tour gatherings, there was uniform agreement that our organizations and community must come together today and agree upon a campaign plan that addresses the lessons learned from the Prop 8 campaign and empowers local coalitions and communities to play a leading role in a future campaign," said Pamela Brown, Marriage Equality USA Policy Director. "As a national, all-volunteer, public education grassroots organization, Marriage Equality USA recognizes we do not have the resources to launch a ballot measure campaign. However, we are committed to ensuring that the grassroots community are full partners in any future campaign. We are further committed to creating a new coalition and leadership structure that is inclusive of the entire community of supporters of marriage equality and offers the opportunity for all supporters to bring their creativity and resources to help restore marriage equality in California and secure marriage equality throughout the country."
"To secure love, fairness, equality and justice in our community, we must embody those values in the way that we treat ourselves and others as we engage and grapple with how and when to restore marriage equality in California," said McKay. "Marriage Equality USA will continue to be a leader in supporting this respectful, collaborative decision making process. We will continue to expand the ever-growing statewide rolodex of organizations and leaders dedicated to marriage equality and help build infrastructure and provide resources to support this coalition statewide and at the regional level. We will continue to make every moment a marriage equality moment. There is no waiting, we all can start today to reach out and heal ourselves, heal our relationships and build bridges to the moveable middle and our future allies. We are all in this together and together we will prevail."