Saturday, July 25, 2009

Leadership Summit Video Recordings (More to Come)

Hello All - Part 3, unfortunately may never arrive. When trying to save the recording through UStream, I clicked on a tab to get info on the video for tags and description, and when I clicked back, it disappeared. I'm hoping all is not lost due to the fact it was a large video and takes processing time. In the meantime, here's what was recorded below.

If the visual doesn't work in the embed below, you can watch them on UTF's channel on UStream.

There's a gap here due to timing out on my recording, a restriction from UStream.

Check out one of the first reports on the Leadership Summit from SF Gate. (Hey, and it links to here!)

Unite the Fight Streaming CA Leadership Summit on Marriage Equality Now!

Unite the Fight will provide a live stream of tomorrow's Leadership Summit in San Bernardino, CA. The summit will be a large gathering of California LGBT organizations' leaders, individual activists, community organizers and allies. Many items will be discussed, but most prominently, next steps towards winning marriage equality back in California. (I will provide an agenda once it becomes available.)

Bookmark this post so you can return tomorrow to watch the live stream. You will be able to chat with fellow viewers, Twitter and ask Unite the Fight questions during the Leadership Summit. This post will also be put at the top of the site when the summit begins.

Please be patient as technical problems are always sure to arise unexpectedly.

When: Saturday, July 25
Time: Approx. 10am PST through 4pm PST


You can view the recorded Live Leadership Summit here.

Expert Panel Consists of . . .

Richie Ross, who has long history with United Farm Workers and has lots of experience with ballot initiatives in California. Brought to the panel by EQCA.

Paul Mandabach, brought to the panel by Yes on Equality! and is considered a major political consultant.

Sheri Sadler, media planner brought to the panel by Love Honor Cherish.

Sarah Callahan, COO of Courage Campaign.

Steve Caplan, brought to the panel by Yes on Equality!

Will add more information when available.

Leadership Summit Agenda

Just got the agenda. Here it is.

Process Used to Devise Agenda

· Survey went out to the participants of the Fresno Leadership Summit, the Poll4Equality group, OUTWest, Q*POC, and other places to solicit input from many parts of our movement about what should be on theagenda. Upwards of 50 people responded to the survey.

· A conference call was held on Wednesday, July 15 from to get more feedback and input on the agenda. Over 25 people representing a cross-section of groups from across the state participated.

· Several task forces were created to make recommendations about how specific portions of the potential agendamight be handled. They met between the July 15-July 20

· A group of people from the July 15th call volunteered to be on a drafting committee. Those people met on July 20th in person and on the phone to bring together the recommendations from the task forces, the input from the call, and the data from the survey to craft the proposed agenda below.

· A second conference call was held on July 22nd for anyone to give their feedback, comments, and suggest edits to the agenda proposed by the drafting committee. Those edits were sent back to the drafting committee and what you have before you is the final product of an open, transparent process.

Drafting Committee: Ari Gutierrez (Latino Equality Alliance), Chaz Lowe (Yes on Equality), David Fleck & Mike Bonin (Courage Campaign), Marc Solomon (EQCA), Robin McGehee (Meet in the Middle), Sara Reece (The Task Force), John Lewis (Marriage Equality USA), Doreena Wong (API Equality LA), Tom Watson & Lester Aponte (Love Honor Cherish), Elizabeth Gill (ACLU of Northern California), Vincent Jones (Liberty Hill), Josh Einshorn (OUTWest &

Summit Goals/Expectations

· Discuss pros & cons of various strategies to regain marriage equality

· Seek consensus on a process for the marriage equality coalition to decide which strategy to employ

· Seek consensus around a date by which the marriage equality coalition will make a decision

· Gain an understanding of how ready our movement is to wage a campaign

· Develop strategies to improve campaign readiness

· Foster community building among the movement

Summit Values

· Inclusion

· Assume that we have the same goal: regaining marriage equality

· Leave with clear next steps

· Enable community input as much as feasibly possible

Summit Agenda

10:00 Setting the Tone

10:05 Welcome


Review Goals/Expectations

Review Suggested Rules of Engagement

Review Agenda

10:20 Ballot Timeline/Process

goals: (1) educate attendees about basic process to put initiative on ballot; (2) share various thoughts about potential timelines; (3) acknowledge that more discussion is needed about which provisions to include in ballot language; (4) explain general consensus that drafting should be entrusted to a small group with specific expertise who consider community input

10:30 Voices from Experts

Goals: (1) provide attendees an opportunity to understand what benchmarks experienced campaign consultants use to determine campaign readiness; (2) provide attendees an opportunity to get an expert analysis on where we stand with those benchmarks

11:40 Voices from the Community: Get Engaged Tour Report

Goals: (1) share feedback and findings from the statewide “Get Engaged Tour”

11:55 Voices from the Field: Canvass Report

Goals: (1) Inform attendees about some ongoing canvassing operations; (2) share findings from canvassing;

12:10 Lunch

Goals: (1) facilitate networking and conversations among activists in the same region; (2) stimulate conversation about “the movement & the campaign”; (3) enable attendees to build community

12:55 Youth, families, schools & marriage equality

Goals: (1) introduce people to the particular challenges faced by youth in the movement to regain marriage equality in a manner neutral to a particular view about when to return to the ballot; (2) let attendees know how they can participate in the ongoing discussion to overcome those challenges and protect gay youth as we work to regain marriage equality

1:10 Community Decision-Making

Goals: (1) share results of community survey on potential processes/methods for the coalition to decide how/when to return to the ballot; (2) seek consensus around a date by which a decision will be made; (3) seek consensus around a process to decide when to return to the ballot as a coalition

1:55 Regaining Marriage Equality

Goals: (1) discuss pros of returning to the ballot in 2010; (2) discuss pros of other strategies to regain marriage equality; (3) gain a sense of where organizations/individuals in the marriage equality coalition stand on returning to the ballot in 2010

2:55 Final Questions

Goals: (1) enable attendees who haven’t asked questions to ask questions of any presenters from the day

3:30 Next Steps/Wrap Up

Goals: (1) Ensure that attendees are on the same page about next steps from previous conversations throughout the day; (2) Enable attendees to suggest and agree to additional next steps; (3) Provide attendees an opportunity for some group reflection over the day; (4) Tie-up any loose ends

3:55 Conclusion
Goals: (1) End on a happy note…YES WE WILL!!!;

4:00 End

Friday, July 24, 2009

UPDATE: San Francisco Has Filed to Intervene in the Olson/Boies Federal Case Against Prop 8

UPDATE: The amazing Therese Stewart, San Francisco's Chief Deputy Attorney, is more than happy to contribute to the "factual record" that Judge Walker is asking for in this case. Why? "Stewart’s been trying to get a judge to look at the facts about sexual orientation and discrimination for about four years," reports Legal Pad. And boy, does she got a record to give! Read more.

San Francisco has followed ACLU, NCLR and Lambda Legal in filing a motion to intervene in the federal case challenging Prop 8, the case headed up by power team Ted Olson and David Boies. (Read brief.) With Judge Vaughn Walker wanting to fast track the case while keeping a very thorough record for appellate courts, this new motion could possibly slow the process down while adding to the already building tension surrounding the case. Yet at the same time, it will add to the record.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which currently has the sole right to direct the case and is funding the lawsuit, filed as plaintiffs along with two same-sex couples. Its president, Chad Griffin, sent a letter to the three organizations accusing them of trying to wrestle control of the case, or in the very least, take credit for its possible success. AFER had reached out to the groups before filing, but they declined to be involved.

In its filing, San Francisco said it would add "a unique local government perspective" and extensive LGBT rights experience to the case, if allowed to intervene, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The city pledged to cooperate with the attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker scheduled a hearing on San Francisco's motion to intervene for August 19. A hearing is still expected on the earlier motion to intervene filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Roots of Equality Dodgeball FUNdraiser

Roots of Equality is putting together a LGBT history exhibit this fall. What does that have to do with dodgeball? This exhibit is going to cost an assload of money. So, they’re going to FUNdraise for the costs of this upcoming exhibit with some fun times for all, DODGEBALL!!!

But you have to register TODAY to play!

Roots of Equality Dodgeball Fundraiser

Sunday July 26th, 2:00 pm
West Hollywood Park Basketball Courts
647 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 9006 (Map)

Sign up your team of six (at least one female please) or sign up as a free agent and we’ll hook you up with a team. There will be a trophy, and prizes, and god-willing there will be hot dogs. So strap on your high socks and your sweatbands and toss some balls!

Get more information and register at Roots of Equality! And check out their Dogdgeball Facebook Page!

CALL TO ACTION: Opponents of California Bill Recognizing Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages Flooding Capital Phone Lines

California Senate Bill 54, sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno and Equality California (EQCA), would rectify one of the many inequities caused by Proposition 8 if passed. It would allow the state to recognize as marriages same-sex couples who legally got married outside of the state before the initiative passed and would extend all the rights and benefits to couples married after Proposition 8's passage, except their relationships would not be given the name "marriage."

“Proposition 8 not only creates a separate and unequal category for one minority group of Californians, but also creates confusion for same-sex couples who married outside of California,” said Senator Leno. “Since we cannot remedy this confusion by restoring full marriage equality for all Californians, we are forced to clarify the rights and protections afforded to these couples and their families in state law. As defined by the Court, Proposition 8 only denies same-sex couples the official designation of the term 'marriage.'”

However, supporters of Proposition 8 are having a fit over the bill.

Marc Solomon, Marriage Director for Equality California told Unite the Fight, "Our opponents are barraging the legislature, and especially the governor, with phone calls to the point where the governor's office has a phone line set up to handle calls about this bill specifically (as well as the Harvey Milk Day bill). So calls are really necessary right now!"

Another pressing issue. EQCA has learned that the Governor may use his line-item veto power to cut funding for essential HIV/AIDS health services. If he does, thousands of people will be left without the care their lives depend on. Contact the governor and urge him not to! Tell him not to “blue pencil” any funds that would support state HIV/AIDS programs.


You can take action by contacting the California legislature and Gov. Schwarzenegger and expressing your support for SB 54 through EQCA's Action Center.


Contact the legislature and the governor directly.

Gov. Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160 (new number)
Email Form

Contact your legislature

Speaking to the Experts: Courage Campaign's Sarah Callahan Takes on 2010 and 2012 and Beyond

As the debate continues about when to return to the ballot to repeal Prop 8, more important questions simmer beneath the surface. What should the campaign itself look like? What will it entail? What will it require of the LGBT community in California and beyond in terms of resources, and can we pull those resources together?

Sarah Callahan, Courage Campaign's new COO, has some of the most extensive field experience in California and has worked on numerous campaigns. After hearing Sarah speak at the Leadership Summit in Fresno the day after Meet in the Middle, Unite the Fight decided to ask Sarah to speak from her pool of knowledge on the challenges facing the LGBT community and its next campaign.

In a combination of emails and phone calls, Unite the Fight was able to get from Sarah a broad glimpse of the campaign to come, who characterized its complexity as "threading a needle" by being "super, super targeted" or by "micro-targeting", which she described as ID'ing the voters and where they stand on marriage equality, finding out what messages resonate with them, breaking that information down, then going back and persuading them to vote in our favor.

And "if you are able to persuade, it's a flag to go back" and talk to that voter again.

(Sarah's responses are italicized for clarification.)

QUESTION: With the Simon/Binder (Poll 4 Equality) poll showing 48% opposed to same-sex marriage in CA (47% support, 3% unsure), how many people do we need to reach and convert for marriage equality?

ANSWER: Hard to answer in voter specifics, but the short answer in either 2010 OR 2012 would be this basic formula:

Build a micro-targeted precision persuasion campaign with the goal of changing the minds of at least 5% of swing voters AND change the electorate (by turning out more “base” voters than would vote normally AND register more voters).

2008 was one of the highest turnouts in presidential history, and by motivating these younger, base voters, we can begin to make up for a highly polarized electorate that will naturally vote in either election.

However, to be clear, in ANY year, we would need a combination of both in order to win, as the polling currently tells us we do not win in EITHER 2010 OR 2012 with the current persuadable universe alone (even if we persuaded all of those that are considered truly “swing”).

Persuadable Voters

1. More research (polling and focus groups) is needed to build our true universe of persuadable voters. It will need to be a highly targeted “micro targeted” campaign (like running multiple smaller grassroots campaigns). I believe we would need to build a persuadable universe in excess of 5% in order to build a universe that could change the outcome of the election.

“Swing” demographics (as determined by the may 2009 poll)

a. Non-whites under 30
b. Democrats over 65
c. Female democrats in Southern CA
d. Declined To State's (DTS's) living alone
e. People that consider themselves “moderate” or “liberal”
f. People that attend church services LESS than once a week
g. Republicans under 30 (some considered base)

2. We need to turn out “unusual voters” – people who are likely presidential only voters that would be unlikely to participate in 2010. For marriage equality, the universe of voters under 30 (who regardless of party are more supportive of marriage equality) will be critical. This would also include a combination of voter registration and turning out those who may have turned out once for Obama, but are not necessarily regular voters.

Base Voters

a) Democrats and Decline To State (DTS) who consider themselves “liberal”
b) Democrats and DTS under 30
c.) Voters who do not consider themselves religious

The Simon/Binder poll backs what Sarah says about micro-targeting. It indicates that this is not a partisan issue, or a liberal versus conservative issue (many self-identifying liberals oppose sames-sex marriage) - but that marriage equality is a polarizing issue equal to abortion or the death penalty, but along many different, complicated lines. And many people don't plan on changing their minds.

Even more complicated but extremely important, are the POC communities. Different messages hold different meanings for difference races and elicit various responses. Even within the API community, different parts of this community respond differently from each other. You simply cannot group them together. As for the African American community, you simply cannot approach them without talking about religion. So how you approach one voter can be completely different on how you approach another.

Micro-targeting is key to reaching people's "heart and minds."

Q: Given the amount of people we need to reach, how many doors or knocks does that represent? How many times do we need to go back and knock?


A: Can only ballpark – persuadable universe by density x 3 knocks.

On the phone, I asked Sarah for some more clarification for us laymen. She said that density referred to precincts with the highest persuadable voters within a walkable area.

So to emphasize, this is a ballpark. But in clarification of her formula, in areas where high amounts of persuadable voters are ID'ed in dense areas, they need to be approached individually through canvassing at least three times. Once these voters are ID'ed, then we'll know how many knocks are needed in total, and as a result, how many more volunteers.

Sarah reiterated that at this point in time, it can be misleading to give any specific number on voters, knocks and volunteers since once in campaign mode, numerous variables can easily change. However, other various groups have estimated 300,000 more than those who voted against Prop 8 will be needed to repeal it.

However you look at it, that's a lot of knocking. That's a lot of volunteers needed.

Q: How many volunteers is that going to take?

A: More than we could ever have will need to be a blend of volunteer and full time canvasses.

Love Honor Cherish's Blueprint, which was developed completely separate from Sarah and the Courage Campaign and in detail outlines what's needed for a 2010 campaign, calculates that 12,500 volunteers will be needed.

Q: How much time will be required per volunteer?

A: Best case, 15 – 20 hours a week for AT LEAST the last 12 weeks.

Wow! So if you're supporting a return to the ballot (no matter when), you better get prepared! You're going to be needed, and you're going to be put to work!

(You're needed even now! Check out this post on how you can get involved immediately. Help start the conversations with voters and with ID'ing them.)

Q: How will phone banking be best utilized in a repeal Prop 8 campaign?

First (in any year) – the most important task is to screen (ID) voters in the persuadable universe. This task is happening now with the grassroots equality work. To maximize the value of a grassroots persuasion, it would be most appropriate to do a paid ID sweep first and send a volunteer with personal story to those that are identified as persuadable from the ID. Also, a separate phone bank operation would need to focus on “unusual” base voters. (See above on voters.)

Q: Marriage Equality USA states that for 2010 we'll need to convert 999 voters a day, and for 2012, it will be 453. What do you think of these numbers? Given the amount of time we have left for 2010, is this plausible? What do you think is our best strategy to gain these conversions?

A: I think for the purpose of grassroots planning, this number is valid and makes sense. However, in the heat of the campaign (no matter what the year), we would essentially need to begin over again in the window of an actual campaign once things like ballot language, other items on the ballot, the position of the top of the ticket and how rigorous the campaign is, what the opposition is saying play out.

If for example, we were to go to the ballot in 2010 or 2012, the most valuable thing we can all do now is to ID the persuadable voters and provide the “story of self." No matter what a voter tells us now based on our persuasion at the door – that voter is likely to revert back to previous long held beliefs once the other side presents its information and arrives at their door. We need to be talking to them in the window that they will be making a decision. All the more reason, that no matter what the year, we need a targeted, grassroots, well executed, disciplined campaign.

Q: Given the hurdles facing us for both 2010 and 2012 - volunteers, time, money and economy - what will be more costly over all: a 2010 campaign or a 2012 campaign?

A: The main difference between 2010 and 2012 on cost is the size of the universe that a campaign will need to go after (far more voters to reach out to in a presidential year). Otherwise it’s really apples and oranges. 2010 will have a smaller universe, but money will need to be spent on vote by mail and turning out unusual voters. 2012 money will need to be spent talking to a larger pool of voters (plus insuring they vote).

Q: Keeping in mind your past campaign experiences, have you ever participated in a California initiative campaign with similar factors facing you, especially similar factors to a 2010 campaign? Did you win or lose?

A: The closest I can come to describe a similar situation was in 2005. The Governor called a special election as a springboard to his re-election. The cornerstone of that election was Prop 75 that specifically curbed the political power of state workers. Going into the campaign, the Governor had positive ratings and the polling showed that the general public did not have a high opinion of state workers (portrayed as overpaid and underworked union members that were part of an unpopular and bloated bureaucracy.) The labor community in CA was able to beat back the Governor's slate of propositions in two ways: 1) By educating voters about who the workers actually were, people like teachers, nurses and firefighters (held in very public high esteem) - by humanizing those impacted and by having them speak in their own voice, the campaign was able to come from behind and beat back all of the Governors propositions. He then went on to admit that he made a mistake in holding that election. 2) By running an extraordinary grassroots effort to turn out a high number of voters (exceeding 40 percent turnout, unheard of in a usually low special election with no candidate on the ballot). Although marriage equality is a more polarizing issue, there are lessons to learn. -- That Grassroots and turning out base voters that might not turn out naturally can help win an election. --- The Grassroots can change "hearts and minds" by putting names and faces to those who have been denied the right to marry and humanizing the issue for voters.

Marriage equality is a far more polarizing issue, but I think there is a lot to be learned.

Q: Do you think that the 1-3% difference of winning in 2012 is worth waiting until then given that the numbers are so tight?

A: There is a path to victory in each year, but we do not win in any year without the most disciplined, targeted, grassroots, professional well resourced campaign in California history. That is the real question - rather than “which year” but instead “can we put together the resources and the right campaign?”

Q: If the community chooses to go back in 2010, do you feel there's a enough time to pull off such a complex campaign?

I asked this question over the phone, and Sarah was quick to reply, "You don't want the clock to decide for you."

In other words, if it's right and we're all up for it - do it.

So, are you up for it?

Sarah Callahan will be at the Leadership Summit in San Bernardino tomorrow, July 25. At the summit, many hope a decision will be made on when to return to the ballot and what that will entail. Unite the Fight will attend and will report. Be sure to follow on Twitter for continual updates.

VIDEO: Another Great PSA from Australia's Equal Love Campaign for Marriage Equality

Read more about Australia's Equal Love campaign and view more videos on their You Tube Channel!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CA Grassroots Organization "Love Honor Cherish" Releases Blueprint for Successful 2010 Campaign to Repeal Prop 8

Love Honor Cherish, a California LGBT grassroots organization known for its strong support for a 2010 campaign to repeal Prop 8, has released a 21-page outline of a future campaign entitled "Blueprint for Equality: How We Will Restore the Right to Marry in 2010."

The Blueprint shows how activists can gather the 1 million signatures needed to place a new ballot measure on the November 2010 ballot and then prevail at the ballot box. It projects that, over the next 15 months, a winning campaign will need to enlist 12,500 volunteers and raise $31.3 million to repeal Prop 8, which passed last November with 52% of the vote.

Love Honor Cherish - Blueprint for 2010 Campaign

John Henning, Executive Director of Love Honor Cherish, recognized that some in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community have reservations about moving forward in 2010, but said that much of this sentiment is based on misinformation. "According to a recent poll by David Binder Research, already 50% of likely voters in 2010 say they would vote to repeal Prop 8," said Henning. "The Blueprint debunks the myths about 2010 and shows a clear path to victory."

What are you thoughts on the Blueprint? Does it convince you that 2010 is possible and feasible? Do you feel it fully addresses the concerns of the consultants who advised Equality California that 2012 is the best way to go?

This Saturday, July 25 is the Leadership Summit where many are hoping a final decision will be made on when to return to the ballot. It is open to the public. Please RSVP!

Walter Cronkite, Adamant Defender of Marriage Equality - He Will Be Missed

Walter Cronkite died on July 17, 2009 at the age of 86. With his passing, it wasn't only the nation as a whole who lost a friend and ally, it was also specifically the LGBT population.

Thanks to Edge Boston, I was made aware of an op-ed Cronkite wrote at the time when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize marriage equality. He was an advocate for the separation of church and state, and as a result, avidly against DOMA.

Cronkite wrote the succinctly title piece "Marriage and Abortion" for Kings Feature Syndicate in 2003. Here are a few excerpts:
Conservatives, particularly those of the Christian right, are determined that gay marriage and all abortions must be banned by federal law, even perhaps by amendments to our Constitution. They, of course, are entitled to their beliefs, which many of the religious feel are embedded in their religions. However, there are many other Americans who are equally adamant in their contention that the conservatives have no right to impose their version of morality on the rest of the population. Conservatives are inclined to call these protesters "liberals," a not-particularly accurate designation, but a useful label to identify them here.

The liberals include many who consider themselves good and faithful members of their churches, mosques or synagogues. They resent this dogmatic right-wing portion of the Christian community trying to force their ideas upon them.


It certainly is the right of the anti-abortionists and those who oppose gay marriages to defend, express and even propagandize their beliefs, but is it their right to impose their definition of morality on those who hold opposing views? The answer is a resounding "no" from the large chorus of those who believe that our individual rights are precious and should not be trampled upon by even those of deep religious convictions, including those in their own churches. This columnist believes that among conservatives and liberals alike there is a majority who would put the sanctity of individual rights even above the sanctity with which some would endow the banning of abortion and gay marriage.
Walter, you were the type of reporter, advocate and man that this country could use for another 86 years and beyond. Your dedication to the principles that this nation is built upon earned you the moniker "the most trusted man in America," and rightfully so.

You will be missed.

Porterville Councilmen Struggle Over Resolution Opposing CA Bill Recognizing Out of State Same-Sex Marriage

Porterville, CA city council is at it again. Known for being the only city for approving a resolution supporting Proposition 8, they are now drafting a resolution opposing Sen. Mark Leno's Senate Bill 54. The bill would recognize same-sex marriage performed outside the state before the passage of Prop 8 and would grant couples married after the initiative all the rights and benefits but not the name marriage.

Recorder Online reports that this time, though, the vote was not unanimous - two in favor, two opposed, one abstained to permit former mayor and major opponent to LGBT rights, Cam Hamilton, to draft up a resolution opposing SB 54 to be voted upon in a future meeting.

“The will of the people was taken care of when [Proposition] 8 was passed,” Hamilton said.

“At this point I would not be in favor of a council-wide supported resolution,” Councilman Felipe Martinez, who voted to oppose Hamilton’s efforts, said.

Councilman Pedro Martinez, who abstained, cautioned that following Hamilton’s lead could take the council in an unfavorable activist direction.

“I’m not looking at pushing this through at this point in time,” he said.

Jamie Garza, Chair Porterville LGBTQ, Tulare County Chapter Leader Marriage Equality USA, attended the council hearing. In an email, she thanks everyone for sending letters and emails to the council members opposing the resolution, then reported:
The Council listened to oral comments, most opposing, and some for passing a proposed resolution against SB 54. Afterward it was opened for discussion between the council members. . .

Cam Hamilton, our former Mayor, stated that he wanted the city to take a strong stance against SB 54 whether it be through a resolution (which he said he would like to write), proclamation, or other means. He didn't seem very happy with what Pete [new mayor], Felipe, or Pedro had to say. I think he may have thought they would jump right on the band wagon again and that's not exactly what happened.

Pete Martinez expressed concerns about becoming an activist council by continuing to get so involved in such sensitive state matters. Then Cam insulted him for "going back on his vote." I can't remember the whole conversation but I think Pete suggesting they discuss their disagreements further at a different time and Cam through [sic] his hands up and said in a very confrontational manner "let's discuss it now." It got heated for just a second and then Pete McCracken put an end to it before Cam could make any more of an ass out of himself. He never seems to fail at putting both feet in his mouth. And I truly believe that is why he isn't Mayor anymore.
Thankfully, it is not an unanimous vote and Hamilton has an uphill climb getting his resolution passed. They will hold a vote on the resolution in two weeks.

Image from earlier council hearing by Jessica Mahoney.

Kiss-In Protest Staged at San Diego Mormon Temple

On July 9, Derek Jones and Matt Aune were detained by LDS security guards after they embraced and kissed on Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, which for many, is believed to be public property. After refusing to budge, the cops arrived and informed the couple that it was in fact private property with full access to the public but owned by the LDS church. The couple were cited for trespassing, but not before the guards had handcuffed both men, after forcing Jones to the ground. Aune said he suffered a bruised and swollen wrist.

Rex Wockner reports, "Salt Lake City sold the plaza to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 10 years ago, in a move that still irks some Salt Lakers. The precise location of the kiss was a former public easement that the city gave to the church in a controversial land-swap deal in 2003."

Many believe the only reason why the LDS security guards approached the men on the busy thoroughfare in the first place was because they were gay and engaging in PDA. This has spurred kiss-in protests in front of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, and last night, another one took place in San Diego. About 30 LGBT and friends showed up.

Good As You reports that uber anti-gay Peter LaBarbera is calling these protests a "militant," "homo-fascist," act of defiance. I actually laughed when I read that.

Rex Wockner also has a full report including more pictures.

Image by Rex Wockner.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gov. Charlie Crist "Will Think" About Gay Adoption in Florida

Crossposted with Queers United.

Launching a tour to promote "Explore Adoption Day" in Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist is now signaling he may be open to allowing gays the right to adopt. Currently Florida and Arkansas are the only two states that expressly forbid gay couples from adopting, while other states do create unnecessary hurdles for couples seeking to adopt.
"Now a candidate for U.S. Senate, Crist hinted today that he might support lifting the ban. At first, Crist said it would be the Legislature's responsibility to change the law. When pressed on whether he would support the effort, Crist said, "I'd have to think about it." (Tallahassee).
The ACLU and advocates of ending the adoption ban are receiving this as positive news by a governor who up until now said he opposes gay adoption and supports the existing ban.

Please urge the governor to support repealing the adoption ban, let him know that the science is in and children of gay couples do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals, and some reports indicate that they may be more open minded to diversity.

Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146

Opponents to the New Washington State "Everything But Marriage" Law Failing to Gain Support, Even From Fellow Conservatives

A domestic partnership bill in Washington state that gave same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage but the name, otherwise known as the "Everything But Marriage" law, passed in April.

Before the law had even gone into effect, opponents of LGBT rights announced they would strive to gain enough signatures to put it up to a vote as Referendum 71 in the hopes it will be overturned at the ballot. But with the Saturday 2pm deadline coming up, and with only 75,000 of the 120,577 signatures needed, they're failing.

Gary Randall, president of the Faith and Freedom Network and the main organizer behind the signature gathering, has also come under intense criticism from his conservative colleagues, and with internal disputes, it's not looking good. Needing another 75,000 signatures to ensure they have enough valid signatures, they need to collect in one week as many signatures they gathered in last eight weeks.

"As a political movement, it is a leaderless army milling about the field," acknowledged Pastor Joseph Fuiten, one of the area's most visible leaders on the Christian right. He wont' sign the referendum saying it, "drags us backward into a negative fight we're not going to win."

"I don't want the church to be viewed as oppressive, [and] as opposed to people living their lives and eking out whatever happiness they can."

To make matters worse for Randall, Washington Families Standing Together, a coalition of state organizations, dedicated to protecting domestic partnership rights in the state, issued a press release proclaiming their power.

"Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST) announced today that in just eight weeks, tens of thousands of individuals and more than 110 organizations have joined together to protect Washington families from the threat posed by the attempted repeal of the state’s domestic partnership law...

“People from all parts of our state want to support their friends and neighbors. They are very worried that families in their communities will lose important legal and financial protections if the law is repealed,” said Josh Friedes of WAFST. “We have had over 40,000 Washingtonians, from every county in the state, pledge their support of the domestic partnership law and we have not sent a single piece of mail or done any advertising.

“. . . It’s quite powerful to see that groups who represent such a broad cross section of the state are all united in the common goal of saving the domestic partnership law.”

It's not looking good for the anti-LGBT in Washington. And that's a good thing.

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Ron Prentice of Yes on 8 Holds Secret Meeting on Future Plans, Instructs Prayer for LGBT Divisiveness on 2010

In a secret meeting two weeks after Meet in the Middle, Ron Prentice, Chairman of Protect Marriage, the group responsible for the Yes on 8 campaign, spreads misinformation about the efforts of the LGBT population to gain their rights.

Introduced by Pastor Jim Franklin of Cornerstone Church of Fresno, who says that Meet in the Middle was a failure, Ron praises the LDS church's work, talks about the Prop 8 challenge, gleefully reports that the LGBT community is facing a divisive debate on when to return to the ballot, tells everyone to pray that the divisiveness continues, dismisses Harvey Milk and says the Matthew Shephard Act will protect pedophiles.

From someone who publicly confesses not to hate the LGBT population despite his efforts to strip us of our rights, he sounds pretty harsh in private. And for those who have been saying that our internal debates on 2010 vs. 2012 and beyond is giving ammunition to the opposition - well, here's your proof.

Here is an audio recording of the secret meeting in which many were turned away from attending. A source of Unite the Fight was able to attend clandestine and record.

Below is a breakdown with quotes. (Emphasis is my own.)

0:00 Pastor Jim of Cornerstone Church in Fresno, CA, talks about how Meet in the Middle wasn't a success but how his counter protest the next day was. (Remember, we're the "opposition in these recordings.) He then introduces Ron.

5:00 Ron Prentice, California Family Council and Protect Marriage
Ron starts off by saying that the main point that Protect Marriage wants to make in the meeting, it's “The battle has just begun.” He goes on to states, "As Christians, we have lots of things that take up our time. We raise families, some of us are grandparents. . ." The implication made here is that the LGBT population don't have these concerns.

“We can’t go into hiding when it comes to marriage.”

Prentice refers to a Time magazine article that gives the LDS church the credit for the passage of Prop 8, but no real credit to Roman Catholics and evangelicals.

7:00 He received a call from a Mormon board member of Protect Marriage who said he had no influence over that article and didn’t want Ron to think he was trying to hog all the credit.

“It was wonderful” that the LDS church went door-to-door with their own information about marriage during Prop 8 campaign, he says. “The Roman Catholics and evangelicals had to catch up.”

7:18 “I do believe that evangelicals have learned how to step up to the plate a little better. And we are a working coalition now. Interfaith so to speak. On this issue in particular and we will continue to do so. And there has been great cooperation and great communication between different entities.”

7:53 In regards to 2010, the “threatened date when the opposition may come back and to try to actually negate what Prop 8 just put into the constitution.”

8:09 “The other side is splintered. There is a group called the Courage Campaign which is more activist oriented. They polled their membership, their constituency and found out that 85% of their constituency thinks they should move forward in 2010 with an amendment. Equality California polled their constituency and that group said 69% of them said, 'yes, we should move forward in 2010'".

“Well regardless of the poll, the research suggests that wouldn’t be wise on their part. So as you pray, continue to pray for divisiveness on the other side. [laughter] Continue to pray that there will be splintered relationships on the other side because that precisely what’s going to keep them in a confused state. Which sounds typical, doesn’t it?"

9:25 Ron gets to the “subject at hand”: Proposition 8. “We want to try to prepare you as best we can.” He refers to Jennifer of Advocate for Faith and Freedom, a religious liberty organization, who will speak after who will give the attendees more details, “…Ways in which you might be better able protect your churches from what might be forthcoming now that there are same-sex couples in this state who may want to show up at your next marriage ritual, for example.”

9:50 Ron says they’ll talk about Protect Marriage’s game plan and strategic plan, but “we obviously can’t get into that in-depth."

“There will be an ongoing broad educational effort from the Protect Marriage group.”

10:14 Ron brings up the subject of the 2004 penal code change “which defined gender not as biological but as either real or perceived.” He goes on to say it’s a criminal code and that it “Opened the door to a lot of sexual confusion in employment discrimination and a lot of sexual confusion on public school campuses.”

Because of this, he says, the LGBT population has incrementally, through legislation, has tried to redefine sexual orientation or gender and marriage.

11:33 Refers to Alameda city school district stand off between school board and 500 Christian about “homosexual curriculum being placed into the public school system in Alameda.” It was implemented. “School boards, city government and obviously state government choose to disregard the will of the people. And that was, unfortunately, the reason why Proposition 8 was necessary.”

12:34 He turns to the efforts to create Harvey Milk Day and informs the attendees who he was and that he has become an “icon for homosexual leadership, and they are trying to make Harvey Milk, who was the first ‘outed’ gay city council member” . . . “an icon in the public schools. So Harvey Milk Day would memorialize Harvey Milk as the first gay leader in government. It has nothing to do with his leadership abilities. It has everything to do with his sexual orientation.” Naturally, they hope the governor will veto this.


13:40 Refers to lawsuit in New Jersey about the Methodist church that had public facility for 100 years that has been rented used for marriages from all sorts of people, but denied a lesbian couple to have a civil union service. They filed suit. Church lost and lost its tax exempted status for that piece of property. “Those are the kinds of things that are forthcoming.”

14:39 Refers to southern pastor Jack Gibbs who was to speak in Canada to Christian pastors and had to sign a disclaimer according to Canadian law that he would not say “anything negative about homosexuality regardless of whether it were biblical or not or in addition, anything negative about Islam.”

15:03 “Those are the issues of the day and in our churches and what is forthcoming and that’s why it’s very beneficial for you to have some legal assistance here today." He refers to European countries, saying that “several of those have same-sex marriages and the rest have same-sex civil unions, and the church is being forced into silence in those countries.”

15:31 “…same-sex marriage is now legal in six other states, never by the will of the people, always either by the legislature or the courts. And those are the kind of things that will be pressuring us as pastors.” Ron refers to their efforts to counter federal case against Prop 8. They did in fact get the motion to intervene since state government of California is against Prop 8.

16:27 “Even the opposition didn’t want to see the issue of marriage go to the federal courts now,” he says. “They think it’s too soon.” He goes on to discuss the opposition within LGBT organizations to federal case. Since this is old information, it’s now not relevant in that these legal, LGBT organizations plus the ACLU have now voiced support.

“If you would continue to pray for divisiveness among our opposition, but also for different constituencies of promoting gay marriage would continue to fight about whether or not to move this forward and that they would use their money against each other instead of (garbled) across the nation.”

17:26 Ron speaks about ENDA and the fear of employers, churches pastors having to hiring LGBT, especially transgender people. “There are now sets of protections, laws for the transgendered, which is a generic term, means if they’re crossdressers, if they are in the process of changing their gender . . .”

“Churches who employ, will need to identify bylaws and alter them perhaps to make sure that you don’t have transgendered people using the opposite restroom of their biological sex.

“There are those conditions taking place in public schools now where if a child comes to school one day biologically male for example and says, “I’m a female,” according to the CA penal code, the law says that the school will have to honor and provide alternative restrooms and locker rooms facilities.”

Refers to case in LA where a “crossdresser” who is biologically male uses the same locker as girls at the same time as they’re using them. “Those are the things that can even take place on your church campus.”

“I’m the big wake up call. I’m here to say, ‘Hey eyes wide open folks. Because it’s really is time we cannot say that it’ll never happen to the church, because it’s happened. And the California employment law is actually against us unless we protect ourselves.”

19:14 Ron goes on to say the most ignorant things about the Matthew Shephard Act. “And any time that we, even verbally, say things negatively about homosexuality, those kinds of laws are expanding and they will come after you as pastors, and those bills in particular protect pedophiles. So, for example, if a pedophile were to attack, I say attack, approach, a child in a church or an employment situation or a public school situation, and you or I were to pull that pedophile off the child and say something to that pedophile about his poor behavior, that pedophile could actually file a suite against you for having committed a hate crime against them . . . (indistinct.) So those are the kinds of protections that are now in place, and we have to fight against them…Are you scared? Actually we don’t operate out of fear, we operate out of being prepared and being educated.”

20:25 Ron says that helping the attendees, the pastors, those who oppose LGBT rights, to be prepared and educated is why they are having the meeting. He says that Protect Marriage has “an opportunity now to educate the masses through you all. Through pastors who will continue to grow the pastor coalition and the pastor network will provide curriculum for you for your churches. And we are beginning to ask at the grassroots level that you create councils will regionally, as well as grassroots networks of activists regionally, to begin thinking of message of marriage’s ultimate meaning and purpose, door-to-door.”

21:17 Ron goes on to state they have a year to three years before we, their opposition, “tries to get Prop 8 out of the constitution. It going to be a very, very difficult task on their part and very expensive. But we’re ready and we have a game plan, and we thank you for your participation.”

I will continue to work on transcribing the rest of the meeting in which Jennifer M. of Advocate for Faith and Freedom gives advice to the pastors and attendees on how to avoid discrimination lawsuits.

U.S. Attorney to Investigate Rainbow Lounge Bar Raid

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Fort Worth city council requested a federal investigation into the bar raid of the Rainbow Lounge, an LGBT bar that was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall at the time of the raid, which resulted in one of the patrons receiving a severe head injury.

The Dallas U.S. Attorney General's office has agreed to take on the case, and it will be the fourth investigation.

"The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is investigating the conduct of two of its officers, and the Fort Worth Police Department has launched two parallel probes – one by the internal affairs department and one by the major case unit," reports the Dallas Morning News.

Forth Worth officials also released files on the personnel involved in the raid.
At least one of the officers involved in the raid has a documented history of misconduct, according to the records. Officer Jason R. Ricks, 32, was disciplined multiple times in 2006.

In the most serious case, New Braunfels police arrested him on an assault charge in July of that year after he punched a bus driver in the face during a fight, the records show. Ricks was off-duty and had been drinking for a few hours, he told investigators.

The charges were later dropped, but one of Ricks' supervisors, Captain W.A. Read, wrote in a September 2006 letter to a deputy chief that Ricks had "shown a history of poor decisions and bad judgment."

"I have to ask myself, when will this officer mature to the level that is required of him and can we afford to allow him to keep making bad decisions that can affect the department and the community," Read wrote. He added that a lieutenant "has put forth a valid argument that Officer Ricks does not show the maturity level that is required of a Fort Worth police officer."
WFFA says that, "Ricks, however, had little involvement in the Rainbow Lounge raid; he was assigned to stay with a van of previously-arrested suspects."

"Fort Worth has yet to release the files of the supervisor and one other officer involved in the raid," reports WFFA. "The wrong files for those men were released on Tuesday."

See WFFA news report.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CALL TO ACTION: Porterville, CA City Council Voting on Resolution Against State Bill To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Outside CA Tonight!

Before Prop 8, the Porterville, CA city council voted for a resolution supporting the discriminatory initiative, the only city council in California to pass such a resolution.

And now they're at it again. Tonight, the city council hastily put together an agenda item proposing a resolution that would be a stand against Sen. Mark Leno's bill SB 54, which would clarify the rights of same-sex couples married before the passing of Prop 8 but who married outside California's borders. (See Sacramento Bee article on the bill.)

Cam Hamilton, the mayor of Porterville at the time before November's election, was a staunch opponent to recognizing marriage equality. A reader of Unite the Fight had an email exchange with the mayor when the council voted to support Prop 8, and in one email, he wrote, "...this is not a question of equality, this is a question of procreation and moral behavior. The debate never puts forth the facts of the degenerative act of homosexual activity."

LGBT and allied citizens of Porterville need your help IMMEDIATELY. Jamie Garza, Chair Porterville LGBTQ, Tulare County Chapter Leader Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) writes:

ACTION: "Since it is so last minute and we know some of you will not be able to make it tonight, we are asking that you please take the time to make a phone call or send an email to the following Council Members, urging them to pass a motion to postpone indefinately any matters in relation to same-sex marriage."

Pete McCracken, Mayor
Phone: 559 783-8151

Felipe A. Martinez, Council Member
Phone: 559 350-3003

Pedro Martinez, Council Member
Phone:559 333-0074

More on Porterville, CA to come!

Seven Out of Seven Political Consultants Advise Against a 2010 Initiative to Repeal Prop 8, But David Mixner Says Don't Wait

This is a long post, but it's a MUST READ. Your voice and input matter. And we need to hear from you. Please let us know what you think.

A week ago, a coalition of groups made up of mainly LGBT organizations and primarily POC groups, released the Prepare to Prevail statement which warns against a rush to the ballot in 2010 to repeal Prop 8.

This statement rocked the California LGBT population. Courage Campaign, one of the largest progressive grassroots organizations in the state rigorously fighting for marriage equality, is on record as supporting the community for 2010 since a majority of the memberships voted for it.

Equality California (EQCA), who helped spearhead the No on 8 campaign, is also on record as supporting 2010 with its membership in agreement but has held off on taking an official stance. As of late, they have begun to question the wisdom of returning the marriage equality question back to the voters so soon.

Marc Solomon, Marriage Director for EQCA, posted last week that he and the organization will be going to seven political consultants with a wide variety of experience, three of whom are LGBT and two of these are married. Unite the Fight questioned this tactic, pointing out that many in the community felt it was consultants' advice that hid the LGBT population from the voters' eyes in media.

On Monday, Marc posted the consultants' responses to the 2010 vs. 2012 question, and even addressed concerns about using consultants at all (and directly responded to Unite the Fight under our comments section) saying, "I understand, following the No on 8 loss, the skepticism that many people have about [consultants]. I get it. At the same time, it can be helpful to at least consider the thinking of those who have been the most successful at running state-wide initiative campaigns in California and elsewhere."

Late into the night, I read each of the consultants responses to not only the Binder/Simon polling funded by a large LGBT coalition called Poll 4 Equality, but also past polls to help project what 2010 or 2012 and even beyond may hold for us, and what year may be the best to return to the ballot. (They even acknowledged the skepticism of their participation.)

Here are key excerpts of what they had to say. Click on the full analysis links for a PDF of their entire assessments. Read each of their bios.

Mark Armour (Supports 2012 - full analysis)

"By analyzing turnout scenarios, demographics and research from the Field poll and from David Binder and Amy Simon, we have identified a number of reasons why 2012 could be a stronger time to go to the ballot than 2010. Specifically, we believe that the 2012 ballot could create a more favorable turnout of pro-gay marriage voters, that there is a need for more time to raise the approximately $50 million campaign budget required to win, and that there is a need for additional time to persuade soft opponents and audiences through voter outreach and media."

In response to the "we can't wait" argument - "losing twice at the ballot in California is not something you can recover from, and based on the demographics of 2012 vs 2010 and considering the resource challenge, it appears that 2012 offers a stronger chance for victory."

Mark broke down his response into four helpful segments:

I. The Importance of Turnout to the Timing of an Initiative Campaign
  • 1. Presidential ballot vs non-Presidential ballot - younger voters and more liberal will be out for 2012 presidential election.
  • 2. Generational replacement - "One key factor that will affect turnout, and therefore the timing of the initiative, is the phenomenon of generational replacement, where voters born in each successive decade are more accepting of gay marriage than in the preceding one. In 2012, it is likely that there will be fewer older anti-gay marriage voters and more younger pro-gay marriage voters than in both 2008 and 2010."
II. The Importance of Raising Financial Resources - "...would a new initiative campaign be able to raise $50 million in a year? A million dollars a week? Perhaps, but pro-gay marriage donors have been hit hard by the economic recession and need to be reassured as to the timing and structure of the next campaign. It is more likely that the campaign could raise those kinds of funds over a three year period."

III. The Need for Time to Conduct Outreach and Persuasion - As the Binder/Simon poll shows, with so few voters persuadable, victory in the next initiative will also require the persuasion of soft opponents and “conflicted voters” instead of just undecided voters.

IV. What needs to be done
  1. A decision needs to be made on moving forward on a specific ballot, and a campaign plan and team need to be put in place.
  2. Fundraising must begin for initial outreach and education as well as for the campaign.
  3. Outreach to soft, conflicted voters and ethnic communities must begin.
  4. Media should be used to educate and reach out to voters in the time before the election. Based on the Binder/Simon polling, messages should show that gay and lesbian couples and their children have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else and that it is unfair to deprive them or their children of dignity, responsibility and security of marriage.
Sue Burnside (Supports 2012 and a member of the LGBT community and married - full analysis.)

In her analysis, Sue lists facts. Here are a few:
  • The California electorate is angry about the budget crisis and worried about the direction the country and state are headed. In this political climate, people tend to vote NO on ballot measures. We have to get a Yes vote!
  • Anti gay-marriage forces can get more people to vote in a low turnout environment than we can. If you look at the voters by age likely to vote in a 2010 election, people over 60 represent 37% of likely voters versus 27% in a 2012 general election. Our strength lies in getting young people to vote – in November 2012 voters under 30 will represent 20% of the electorate but in 2010 they will only represent 7% of the electorate. By 2012 there will be 776,000 new voters under 21 years old added to the voter rolls (our best group). On the other end of the age spectrum, there will be fewer older voters – more than 122,000 voters will die (the opposition’s most reliable voting bloc) Take a look at historic spreadsheet below.
  • But the most important reason for deferring a huge push until 2012 is DEMOGRAPHICS. Waiting for two years more means 9+% more young voters becoming eligible to vote and a 5% drop-off in senior voters.
Sue goes on to show the demographic breakdowns in her analysis.

Rick Clausen (2012 or later - full analysis)

"Rather than 2010 or 2012, the question should be “when can we win?” That should drive the debate. While the community may not want to hear this, absent an aggressive education and outreach campaign, even 2012 could be problematic."


"However, while a victory in 2010 isn’t impossible, it appears likely implausible. Even your own polling shows this issue in a dead heat – and behind where you were before the Proposition 8 vote in November. Currently, you would need nearly 60% of swing voters to vote with you just to achieve a 50% yes vote. Additionally, public polling during both the previous campaigns showed that people tended to indicate more support for gay marriage than they did when they punched their ballots."
"If you do UNSUCCESSFULLY undertake this issue at the ballot in 2010, this will further erode public support on the issue and make it harder for future efforts to succeed. And rather than looking at a 2012 fight, you may be forced to look at 2014, 2016 or beyond before a ballot victory would become viable. For these reasons, we recommend spending time and resources to lay the groundwork for a successful reversal of Proposition 8 when conditions are right."

Jill Darling (2012 and beyond - consulting numerous polls - member of LGBT community and married - full analysis)

"The question I first posed for myself was exactly what is under discussion here: Do the numbers tell us that the campaign should take a vote to overturn Proposition 8 back to the ballot in 2010, or in 2012? After looking at this data and trying to work out a definitive answer to that question, I quickly found that there is no way to do so. I don’t believe that 2010 or 2012 is the first question that needs to be answered."

"There is evidence that not much has changed in public opinion on same-sex marriage in several years."

"Did the 2008 campaign move voters? Are the post-elections efforts having any effect? Nothing measurable, as of May."

"The arguments for going back to the ballot in 2010, for getting right back into the fight while passions are high and motivation is strong, are undeniably compelling and I’m familiar and sympathetic with the arguments making the case that now is the time. However, it does not make sense to me to go back to the polls in 2010 or even 2012 unless we are prepared to win. Those who oppose same-sex marriage have a running start. They won an election six months ago. Recent surveys show that they have more supporters. They come to the fight well armed with election-tested messages that carry potent (if misleading) content able to fire basic protective emotions that pull conflicted voters to their side. We won’t win until we work out how to craft messages that effectively counter these appeals to fear and uncertainty and craft messages that have a positive effect on conflicted voters to help them feel comfortable supporting same-sex marriage."
"When our messages are working, when we have vocal public leadership support, when momentum is with us, we will see measurable change.

"The decision as to when to take the issue back to the voters should be made when the campaign is supplied with well-tested messages, resources, and real evidence that voter inertia can be overcome."

Dave Fleischer (Careful not to say no to 2010, but it comes down to being a no - member of LGBT community and works with the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's Vote for Equality - full analysis)

Dave breaks down his analysis in points.

"First, though money is vital, these campaigns can’t be won by money alone."

"Second, though polling is extraordinarily helpful, victory can’t be predicted by polling alone."

"Third, when we lose an election, one of the valuable pieces of information we gain is the margin by which we lost. In the case of Prop 8, we lost by roughly 600,000 votes. What this tells us is the scale on which we need to do better to reverse the result. We need to have a strategy that will, minimally, produce 600,000 new votes for us – or change 300,000 minds – or some combination of both – in a year where voter turnout could be comparable to what we saw in 2008. In a year where voter turnout is likely to be lower, the absolute number might be lower than the 600,000 new votes – or the 300,000 changed minds – but we can know that number with a fair degree of certainty.
  1. Do we have a strategy to gain that number of votes; and
  2. Are we on track to execute that strategy, so we can see if we are likely to gain the necessary number of votes by our deadline (election day)?
"Therefore, for us to win on marriage in California, it seems likely that our strategy will have to include an important component of voter persuasion. We will need to persuade some who voted against us in 2008 to reconsider. We will have to get many – perhaps as many as 300,000 – to change their minds. Perhaps a lesser number will do, if we also greatly increase our ability to turn out our base. But it’s fair to guess that voter persuasion on a significant scale will be an essential component of any path to victory.
"Fourth, our difficulties with persuasion include, but also go beyond, the limitations of polling. The fact is, it’s not easy to persuade voters to alter their views on marriage for gay and lesbian couples." (He goes on to say there is no silver bullet in persuading voters.)

"There are multiple reasons why polling, and our gut, may overstate the power of some messages. One reason is that we sometimes fail to fully consider or pose the arguments the opposition will make against us."
"For example, the latest poll includes encouraging numbers suggesting the possible appeal of a religious exemption. But it could easily overstate the real-world impact of the new language in the face of a predictably vigorous opposition campaign that focuses on children.

"Another, related problem: Our arguments tend to be rational. For instance, the religious exemption idea is one more rational argument we are now considering adding to our arsenal. Even when we seek to express our rational arguments emotionally, part of their power comes from their rationality. They appeal to reason. But our opponents’ arguments are not rational. They are almost purely emotional; they attempt to arouse disgust and fear."
"Fifth, the most scarce resource in every campaign is time."

"In most of these ballot measure campaigns on marriage, our community is put in a financially brutal position by our opposition, because they control the timetable. But we control the timetable now. Let’s use that advantage, and return to the ballot when we’re financially ready."

Gale Kaufman (Believe we cannot afford to lose whenever we go back. 2012 may even be too soon. - full analysis)

Data: "From what I’ve seen, there is nothing in the current data that says the California electorate has changed their opinion dramatically on this issue since last November."

PREPARATION: "By asking me if I think 2010 is an option, you are asking me if I think we are ready to go right now. To qualify an initiative for next year’s ballot (it’s really already too late for June so I’m assuming we are talking about November) we need to have it ready to be submitted to the Attorney General’s office by no later than the end of September. We should ask ourselves, are we ready for that? Has the perfect initiative been drafted? Is everyone who should be consulted on the legal language, not to mention whatever nuances we want to add, signed off? Is the campaign structure in place to sustain the process that goes along with the beginning stages of an initiative campaign? I pose these questions because I think I know the answer. And I think the answer is No. If you’ve taken the responsibility to win a Yes campaign, you can’t leave any of these items to chance."

"So moving forward in 2010 doesn’t seem to be an option and preparation for 2012 should be happening right now."

ORGANIZATION: "I don’t think anyone would argue with me that only one Yes campaign can be sustained moving forward. That means bringing together the many disparate groups, all of whom, with the best of intentions, think that they are the best vehicle for victory. It’s impossible for me to see a way to harness all of the incredible energy, emotion, intelligence, expertise and belief in this issue in such a small amount of time, if we were to move forward in 2010."

ATMOSPHERICS: "Finally, at the moment the California electorate is in a collective horrible mood. The last time I saw polling numbers on “Is California going in the right direction?” the Yes number was under 10%. Going to the ballot with a Yes campaign of any kind right now – while voters have been inundated with initiatives – especially on a subject that they have recently voted on – is a particular risk."

GUT: "For what it is worth, my “gut” is saying that 2010 is not the right time."

Richie Ross (Focuses on the numbers, doesn't try convince for 2012, but 2010 looks bad - full analysis)

"Can we get 300,000 [votes] switched? And how does time impact that?" (See Fleischer's analysis on where the 300,000 comes from)

"In 2012, we will have a new batch of 18, 19, 20, and 21-year-olds that will add 515,875 new likely voters. If 60% of them vote with us and half of the “swing” voters join them, we can expect 353,374 NEW supporters among likely voters. Our net growth (new voters with us minus new voters against us) will be 162,501.

"At the same time, records indicate that about 110,000 older voters die each year. In 2012, 440,000 of the 2008 voters will have died. If we again apply the poll to that raw number, our natural opposition will shrink by 101,200 of total likely voters.

"I don’t present these facts as an argument for 2012, but rather to allow the community to consider them in arriving at a decision."

Ross finishes his analysis with a strong suggestion that the next campaign be more "culturally" and not "politically", emphasizing that the campaign be a "campaign of stories told by the gay and straight families who live next door to each other."


Armed with these seven analysis, Marc Solomon says, "The next step from EQCA is for me to share my own best thinking, based on all these inputs, on how and when we should return to the ballot. It will include an approach to a 2010 ballot initiative and a 2012 ballot initiative, and an analysis of both options."

He says input and thoughts from the community are encouraged.

With the Leadership Summit coming this Saturday in San Bernardino, this will definitely be another point of discussion when determining when we return to the ballot. Many are hoping a decision will be reached at the summit. (The summit is open to all, but you must RSVP!)

However, another point of view popped up yesterday from David Mixner, historic LGBT advocate and activist who called for the National Equality March, which spurred its inception. On his blog yesterday, he criticizes the, "Oh Lord, Not Now" movement, avoiding specific developments, such as the Prepare to Prevail statement, but referring to the overall movement of delay taking effect across the nation and in DC. It seems poignant here in California too.

"The cabal of powerful decision makers wants everything to be safe, clean and perfect before moving. Don't upset anyone, don't jump ahead of ourselves and most of all don't deviate from a well-laid plan that hopefully will eventually lead to victory. Every one of our allies has to be comfortable, the polls have to show us way ahead, and proof of victory has to be assured before trying anything new. The unpredictable grassroots could be destructive and create instability.

"Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Except that it doesn't fit any model of success that I have seen in my near 50 years of organizing. In fact, my journey has proven to me that the unpredictable often is just the stimulus that movements need; victory often comes from an unplanned event that organizers could not have pulled off if they had worked years to do it.
"Most historic movements are filled with grassroots moments that propel that movement to new heights. It could be a Rosa Parks who was just tired and didn't want to surrender her seat or the automobile workers who occupied their factories in the 1930's to the dismay of traditional labor leaders or a simple unplanned walk to the sea to get salt that appalled more traditional Indian liberation leaders.

"The LGBT community has just experienced such a moment."

With an equal amount of people calling for immediate action and another side calling for an educational campaign that will eventually lead to a ballot in the undetermined future, with data and history supporting each side, where do you stand?

This is not an easy question to answer. But each voice matters and we're running out of time. Unite the Fight will be attending the Summit and will express comments made here, no matter which position you take. Let's hear your voice.