Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Equality California Announces Support for 2012 Ballot Initiative to Win Marriage Equality Back in California

UPDATE 2: Log Cabin Republicans respond to EQCA's announcement.

UPDATE: EQCA's Marriage Equality Director Marc Solomon posts on their blog.

Related news: San Francisco Gate reports that Mayor and California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom, is "not convinced" challenge to Prop. 8 will succeed in 2010.


In a conference call with reporters and bloggers (which is still going - live blogging here!), Equality California's Executive Director Geoff Kors and Marriage Equality Director Marc Solomon announce the organization's support for a marriage equality ballot initiative in 2012.

Marc Solomon stated that they considered four different options when making their decision.
  • Return every two years until we prevail.
  • Wait until we know we can win.
  • Use November 2010 as deadline and engage 14 month campaign.
  • Use November 2012 deadline and a 38 month campaign.
Some of the reasons cited for their decision to support 2012:
  • 30 month campaign gives time to launch an educational campaign
  • 60% of those younger than 30 are solid supporters for marriage equality. Those who are 16 or 17 now will be able to vote in 2012, shifting the demographics in our favor.
  • Major donors are more interesting in supporting a 2012 campaign and not interested in contributing to a 60 million dollar 2010 campaign.
When asked about Courage Campaign's announcement today that they will move forward with a 2010 ballot initiative since they have raised enough money for ballot language testing, Geoff Kors said, "It’s great to see that they’re moving forward with research."

He said they reached out to support research and would like to see many LGBT organization, including allied organizations, coordinate their efforts in regards to research.

In regards to timing, he said, "If people want to move forward with 2010, they’re welcome to. It's a democracy . . . if something qualifies, we will support it . . . This is our view that we’re sharing."

Addressing the momentum for 2010, Kors said if we lost, we don't have the resources the keep returning to the ballot every two years.

Solomon said, "I wouldn't feel comfortable leading people down that path." He went on to say he felt more confidence in a 38 month campaign in which he could do more one-on-one work with organizations and volunteers so that they could win more voters with a strategic plan.

"We support committing our energy, resources and leadership (for) the November 2012 election," he said. "The work is slow-going but doable." He added, "Donors want to make sure their investments to win back marriage are wisely invested. Monolithically, they are not supportive of returning to the ballots right now."

Recently, Steve Hildebrand said that if he had listened to the pollsters and the pundits who were saying Obama would never be in the Oval office, he would never have committed two years of his life to helping being Obama's Deputy National Campaign Manager. With that in mind, he asked a group of marriage equality activists this past weekend, with 47% in support for marriage equality in California, what are they waiting for?

When asked about this quote, Marc Solomon said that a social issue campaign is completely different from a candidate campaign and that it must be handled and approached differently.

Reporter Rex Wockner pushed Kors and Solomon, asking how they could stand by and watch the many grassroots activists work hard for 2010, saying that it would be a PR disaster. Kors was adamant that he didn't see it that way and that they do support any effort to bring marriage equality back to California.

Kors announced that EQCA will be donating to the NO on 1 campaign in Maine and asking its members to do the same. They will also be urging volunteers to go to Maine in October for the last stretch of the campaign. "Having our rights taken away in a second state ... would really be harmful to the movement."

Below is the just released Equality California road map and time line to winning marriage equality back in California.

Equality California Winning Marriage Back Plan

A one-on-one interview with Marc Solomon to come very soon.

Equality California will continue soliciting feedback from community members and will hold a virtual town hall via livestream moderated by Bay Area Reporter Editor Cynthia Laird on Thursday, August 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. PDT. To join the town hall, visit at that time.


  1. Marc Solomon: "I wouldn't feel comfortable leading people down that path." That is very telling of the real calculus here. Marc Solomon and Geoff Kors would like to lead this community but they have now abdicated whatever standing they had left.

  2. This is a wise decision. We need time to build strong, long-lasting, cross-movement coalitions that can bring about a victory the right way. We need to also focus on the infrastructure of our community which is crumbling due to budget cuts. Thank you EQCA.

    Check out's statement on 2010/2012 debate today.

  3. This is an enormous gift to our enemies. It is like writing a $20,000,000 check to Focus on the Family or NOM. Thanks a lot, ECQA, who have received the last check from me that they will get.

  4. I am so glad we have groups like Love Honor Cherish, Courage Campaign, and Yes to Equality that actually are listening to the people. I don't know why we would think EQCA would listen to us this time...they definitely didn't listen in 2008.

  5. California's for EqualityAugust 12, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    Thanks EQCA for getting out the way. Now you can be truly irrelavant in California. EQCA might as well change there name to Equality Maine. They do not deserve California in their name.

  6. The good news here is that ECQA will not be able to botch the campaign in 2010 the way they did in 2008. But I am profoundly depressed at the fact that we have such poor leadership. To paraphrase Steve Hildenbrand, sif you begin with 47% support (and maybe more), and you refuse to pony up, you really don't deserve to win. I think the problem is that the well-paid leaders of ECQA are just too comfortable.