Sunday, November 30, 2008

LA Weekly:
Criticism of No on 8 = 'Horizontal Violence'

The much-deserved troubles for the gay leadership circle that brought about the Prop 8 blunder are not cooling off, and a fantastic new blog posting from the LA Weekly's Patrick Range McDonald brings needed attention to the machinations of an A-list lesbian, hell-bent on preserving the shredded reputation of Lorri Jean.

From the LA Weekly:

If you read Osborn's piece, it makes you wonder why Rose Greene, a member of the board of directors at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, continues to demand that critics of the campaign cease and desist, and instead focus on the future. Greene, who must work closely with L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO and "No on 8" executive committee member Lorri Jean, is now essentially telling Osborn that she, too, should shut up.

Greene popped up on the "No on 8" apologists circuit last week, when she wrote a comment to a post I wrote titled "No on 8" Leadership on the Hot Seat. At the time, Greene failed to disclose her working relationship with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, so I wrote my own comment to fill in the public.

Greene wrote another comment on the blog of Michael Petrelis, who's been sharply critical of Lorri Jean and other "No on 8" leaders. This time, Greene wrote about her affiliation with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and actually described any criticisms of the "No on 8" campaign as "horizontal violence."

This intrigue is not some petty thing. It shows, at the very least, that certain A-list gays and lesbians appear to be in deep denial about the role of the "No on 8" campaign in its own defeat, which is also a defeat for every gay and lesbian in California and across the United States ...

Greene's active role in diverting attention away from getting to the bottom of the Proposition 8 loss, which could prevent future debacles, may also show how "No on 8" leaders and their friends in the gay establishment want to shield themselves from criticism, and the political fall out that may come with it.

Once again, it makes a thinking person wonder: Are "No on 8" leaders undertaking some kind of cover up? If so, why? In the coming weeks, those questions may or may not be answered--it depends if more people like Osborn, young gays and lesbians, and others continue to call for accountability on the part of the "No on 8" campaign.

It's been a month since Prop 8 went down like a size-queen hitting her knees for big meat, and we've yet to see a single town hall forum in either southern or northern California with the A-list gays who ran the No on 8 campaign, that allowed the community to vent pent up anger at the leaders who betrayed us.

Since their plans crashed so horribly on November 4, the self-appointed control queens of the CA movement haven't made themselves to face the wrath of the community they purport to be leading.

Instead of facing their critics, the likes of Lorri Jean, Kate Kendell and Geoff Kors, who really should start a firm - Dewey, Cheatam and Howe - they're now unleashing other A-list professionals to attempt a tamping down of the questions and anger.

Just like the massive failure of this A-list crew to beat Prop 8, they cannot stop the accountability, and hopeful head-rolling, that is coming.

'Milk' Lands at No. 10 on Box Office Chart

The holiday weekend's estimated box office receipts are now posted at and Gus Van Sant's "Milk" came in at number ten on the top-grossing chart. Projected receipts come to $1,866,000, and it had the best per-screen average of any flick playing right now with a whopping $38,361 figure reported. Couldn't happen to a better movie.

I went by the Castro Theatre on Saturday night where "Milk" is playing, and the box office said the 4 pm and 7 pm had sold out, with almost to an almost-to-capacity crowd for the 1o pm screening. Anyone know how to get the grosses for the Castro? I'd like to see how much "Milk" took in at our neighborhood cinema palace.

Click here to see the weekend's box office chart.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How Low Were Donations from LA Gay
Center Leaders to No on 8?

Faced with continuing criticism of her inept leadership on Prop 8, LA gay community center executive-director-for-life Lorri Jean has wagged her $277,299 finger at her critics in the community, accusing them of being complacent in not writing big checks, and in the summer months, to the No on 8 campaign.

But what about the donations from Jean and nicely-compensated senior staff? Did they step up to the plate, and in the early part of the summer, to set an example of donating to the No on 8 effort? Judge for yourself:

Lorri Jean, Executive Director
Salary: $277,299
Donations: $2,100, September 15 & October 8

Darrel Cummings, Program Director
Salary: $168,488
Donation: $500, September 18

Elizabeth Meisler, Program Director
Salary: $140,572
Donation: $0

Kathryn Ketchum, Program Director
Salary: $137,550
Donations: $300, August 27 and September 19

Quentin O'Brien, Program Director
Salary: $177,772
Donation: $0

Barton Verry, Program Director
Salary: $117,750
Donation: $3,715.50, August 8 and September 20

Jim Key, Public Info Director
Salary: $100,000
Donation: $100, September 15

Sky Johnson, Public Policy Director
Salary: ??
Donation: $250

The salary figures come from the 2007 IRS 990 filing for the LA gay center, which is not posted on their web site. Lorri Jean makes no effort at being fully and fiscally transparent to the community she serves. However, I've posted the IRS filing here.

If we had any sort of democracy in the gay political movement, we'd be either recalling Lorri Jean and her inept staff, or voting for new leaders to replace them. Alas, just like Vladimir Putin, these folks will be holding onto to their power for a long time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bay Times: New A-holes
for Lorri Jean, Kors and Birch

Two lesbians with genuine spines, Kim Corsaro the publisher of SF Bay Times, and her star columnist Ann Rostow, in the current issue of their paper rip into, quite deservedly so IMHO, the criminally inept gay leadership that handed us a loss on November 4 with the Prop 8 vote.

This is excerpted from Corsaro's front-page editorial:

And we need new leadership. This paper could be filled with the number of people who wanted to work with the campaign to defeat Prop 8 but were turned away at the door - told they weren’t needed - people like Molly McKay from Freedom to Marry, who is one of the best grassroots activists ever when it comes to mobilizing for marriage rights. People like Robin Tyler, who put together an effective series of PSAs to reach people of color who may have voted with us had there been any outreach before the last week of the campaign ...

So all that experience and expertise - all of that heart - was turned away by our so-called “leaders.” In the most elitist, clique-ish, private clubish way imaginable, old political scores and turf wars were prioritized by the No on 8 leadership, who listened to no one outside their elite group, including lots of highly experienced campaign operatives.

Lorri Jean, the director of the L.A. GLBT community center, has released a campaign analysis that claims that the campaign leaders knew from the beginning that our community was behind 13 points in the polls, so really, we did OK to finish off just 4 points behind ...

And if Lorri Jean, who was supposed to be one of the primary movers behind the campaign, did believe we were 13 points behind in the summer, why did she take the month of July off to vacation in Alaska? And why did Geoff Kors, the other primary campaign decision maker, take off for Spain for over two weeks at the same time, if he knew we were losing? ...

The No on Prop 8 campaign was a disaster from the top down.

There is no doubt in my mind that Corsaro is hitting the No on 8 leadership failures on the head, failures that will soon be repeated because Lorri Jean, Kors and Kate Kendell are not acknowledging any responsibility for their incompetence. Since we lost, these leaders have placed all major blame for our loss on the Mormons, the Catholics or supposed gay community complacency.

And Ann Rostow has a few things to say about our official leaders and the campaign:

Don’t you think we’ve spent enough time bashing the No on 8 campaign and that it’s time to turn the page and look forward?

Me neither!

Oh, I’m just kidding. But then again, the news that Prop 8 leader, the LA Center’s Lorri Jean spent a month in Alaska during the summer run up to the most important election in our history, while co-leader Equality California’s Geoff Kors was vacationing in Spain for more than a fortnight does give one pause.

Oh, and Michael Petrelis notes that former HRC Chief Elizabeth Birch gave over $9,000 to Clinton and Obama combined, but could not manage more than $500 to defend our community’s line in the sand. What’s that about?

Turn the page! Turn the page!

A computer foul up just destroyed a whole bunch of Prop 8 attack material that I could conceivably reconstruct, but I’m not going to do it. Because I just know that you are mature enough that you see no need to further excoriate the strategists who engineered our election defeat. Instead, you want to stay positive! And keep fighting! Me too! (Cue: GLBT Civil Rights Fight Song, Philadelphia Philharmonic Symphony version.)
Hey Kim and Ann, thanks so much for holding our leaders accountable and printing lots of truth in the SF Bay Times. Now more than ever, we need an independent and vibrant gay press to keep tabs on Jean, Kors, Kendell and Birch.

A word to the wise: Don't donate to the LA gay center, Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights or Human Rights Campaign until they hire better leaders and deliver actual accomplishments that benefit gays.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'Milk' Debuts at No. 9 on Daily Box Office Chart

There is much for me to be thankful for today -- good health, a loving husbear, fabulous bio and homo families -- and the first opportunity in a long time to write about something other than Prop 8.

Box office numbers from the LA Weekly's entertainment reporter Nikki Finke for "Milk" on its opening day are very impressive. From Finke's blog Deadline Hollywood:

The Wednesday opening of Gus Van Sant's Oscar-touted pic Milk starring Best Actor nomination shoo-in Sean Penn made $264K, good enough for 9th place. Focus Features has released the well reviewed biopic into 35 theaters in 19 major cities. Look for it to score the best per screen average of the holiday weekend.

Happy thanksgiving holiday to all, and remember, tomorrow starting at 4 PM at San Francisco's City Hall Polk Street steps is the annual vigil and march commemorating the assassination of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. I'll be there and hope to see you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Solmonese/HRC Can't Find An Openly

Lesbian Married Couple

If memory serves, about 18,000 gay and lesbian couples took public vows of marriage over the summer, many of them lesbians. And I know of few of them, as do lots of Californians.

But Joe "So-So" Solmonese apparently doesn't know any such out lesbian married couples. This holiday message from the president of gay Americans on the Human Rights Campaign site makes me gag.

The couple Joe cites to make a case asking all of us to speak out now, weeks after the Prop 8 initiative lost because we weren't encouraged by the likes of HRC and Mr. So-So, have no last names.

Talk about reinforcing the internalized homophobic messages of the No on 8 campaign, which couldn't bring itself to admit the race was about gays or show gays in the TV ads, we now have the president of the largest club for Democratic Party hacks who happen to be homosexual putting lesbians who won't/can't use their last names, on a freaking pedestal. From HRC's site:

You might want to talk about the person you love. Or about why it's so important for straight allies to support marriage equality. If you need more inspiration, I have a story for you.

Jan and DeAnn, who were married in California this August, had spent 8 years living next to Jon and Brenda. They chatted about lawn care, skiing, and home repair, and DeAnn even taught their four children in spelling games and rounds of Old Maid once a week – but knowing the anti-gay stance of their neighbors' religion, Jan and DeAnn had decided never to discuss their personal life.

Brenda was in her yard when the limousine pulled up on Jan and DeAnn's wedding day. When she asked what the occasion was, they decided to tell Brenda they were getting married. They were shocked when Brenda immediately hugged them, burst into tears, and sobbed, "Why didn't you tell me?"

Jan replied, "You never know if you're going to get a hug or a brick through your window." DeAnn said, "I was afraid of losing your children."

Then, Jan says, "We all cried, gave one last hug, and entered the limo with soaring spirits."

These are the stories we have to tell. This is the case we have to make: real people, real consequences.

How about making your case with real gay people with real last names, Joe?

And what's up the long-useless-except-when-the-press-needs-an-official-gay-quote group known as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Farce?

Like every other inept professional Gay Inc group without a clue and without real people behind the executives who claim large memberships, the Task Farce particpated in the November 15 national demostrations. And reports were posted from the staffers and board members were posted on the group's blog. Good enough.

Except no last names for any of the staffers were provided. Just the first initial of their family name. I can't believe as 2008 draws to a close, that there is any excuse for this bozo organization to not fully name the people who wrote the blog reports. Check this out, the list of contributors to the Task Farce blog report on November 18:

— Amanda D., Director of Institutional Giving, the Task Force
— Pedro Julio S., Communications Coordinator, the Task Force
— Cynde H., Assistant Director of Major Gifts, the Task Force
— Lee R., Board Member, the Task Force
—Sue H., Director of Creating Change, the Task Force
— Somjen F., Senior Policy Analyst, the Task Force
— Amanda H., Clinton Fellow, the Task Force
— Rebecca V., IWR and Faith Work Director, the Task Force
—Jody L., Board Member, the Task Force
— Nicole M., Board Member, the Task Force
—Dave C., Development Associate, the Task Force

If we don't figure out how to replace the incompetents folks running OUR community organizations, and soon, we may see some of our advances slip away or erode.

GUMA = Gay Unity My Ass

We've all heard of PUMA, Party Unity My Ass. It was formed over the summer by ardent supporters of Hillary Clinton who were mightily pissed off about her mistreatment by the mainstream media, voters and Democratic Party grassroots activists. PUMA resisted called for party unity above all else, and its members made valuable contributions to our political discourse.

Get ready now for GUMA, which stands for Gay Unity My Ass. I formed this grassroots group last night after listening to the final subject, gay community unity, being discussed during the LA gay center's virtual town hall meeting on Prop 8 for PC users only. Mac users were shit out of luck, and many gay bloggers who use Macs are taking the leaders of the meeting, and No on Prop 8, to task for this blunder.

Japhy Grant, over at, performed terrifically with live blogging the discussion. Here's what he had to say about the final topic:

7:34pm: And we end this with a "How do we promote unity?" questions and to his credit Geoff Kors says that "an important piece of doing that" is to reach out to new people and new communities. Lori Jean seconds that the community is wide and diverse and that "can be an advantage and a disadvantage."
There cannot and will not be any gay community unity with bozos Kors, Jean, Kate Kendell and Joe Solmonese not owning up to their complacency-drenched vacations during the campaign, and other misdeeds. It's insanity to allow them to outragesously maintain they are the leaders to wage the fights over the next ballot initiatives coming our way.

Sure, there's only one member of GUMA right now, but I feel it's safe to say there are other gays who will not tolerate calls by Solmonese, Kors, Jean and Kendell to unite behind them and allow them to make important decisions behind closed doors that affect the rest of us.

Until we have real accountability, including resignations, from Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the LA Gay Center, and the Human Rights Campaign, it's GUMA time!

[Photo credit: Nice piece of bear ass, wouldn't you agree? So nice to look at on this gray San Francisco day.]

BAR: No on Prop 8 Leaders Fail
to Hold SF Meetings

Cynthia Laird, the editor of the Bay Area Reporter, has an excellent column today, more than three weeks after the November 4 election, questioning the lack of No on Prop 8 accountability meetings in our little town.

Neither Kate Kendell nor Geoff Kors, the well-compensated leaders of the fight against Prop 8, as far as I've been able to determine, has lifted a finger to make such meeting happen here.

Many activists are saying that the forum the volunteer organization Marriage Equality was supposed to host last Thursday, and allegedly reschedule for the first week of December, will be the chance for Kors and Kendell to engage the local community about what went wrong and we're were headed.

Why should it fall to the Marriage Equality activists to build the platform for community-dialogue that the million-dollar National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California, the groups led by Kendell and Kors, should have either organized by now, or at least announced will happen in December. But neither leader has shown the least bit of interest in mobilizing his or her group for a forum.

Rest assured though, Kendell and Kors have had plenty of time and organizational resources to ask for more money.

The pain of the piss-poor leadership of these two official leaders on Prop 8, is exacerbated by their refusal or inability, along with their well-staff agencies, to start the dialogue we need to have after the debacle of losing on November 4.

Let's hope Laird's fine editorial piece today lights a fire under the butts of Kendell and Kors. That is, if those butts are not again on vacation, and we all know how much these leaders love their vacations.

From the BAR editorial:

The shortcomings of the No on 8 campaign have been discussed, but only abstractly – at least in San Francisco. There has been no public post-mortem in San Francisco since the election. Indeed, executive committee members here have traveled to Los Angeles (Geoff Kors) and Boston and North Carolina (Kate Kendell), but haven't sat down with community members in San Francisco. Heck, the Human Rights Campaign, which provided in-kind (staff) support and millions of dollars, held a town hall in New York City the other night to talk about Prop 8, which affected California, some 3,000 miles away.

Go figure ...

In a Monday post from Kendell's blog at the National Center for Lesbian Rights Web site, she writes about the "hundreds of messages" she and others have received since the election ... But nowhere does she talk about any lessons learned, and we know there are some because she agreed with one of our observations about the campaign's flawed messaging.

Similarly, Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, posted a "frequently asked questions" list on the center's Web site ...

"Several members of the media have asked me if this [post-election] evaluation will be made public. So far the No on 8 campaign has not discussed this. My view is that while transparency is preferable, making such information public would give the opponents of LGBT equality undue advantage in future battles. Prop 8 was not the first time they attacked us at the ballot box, and it certainly won't be the last. We don't want to reveal our secrets to them in advance."

Secrets? What secrets? We lost. There was no ace in the back pocket. Some of the failings – not enough money early in the effort, no gays in the television ads – were being discussed during the campaign itself. The Yes on 8 campaign, in many ways, out-maneuvered No on 8, period. What we need is an examination as to why that happened and move forward, preferably with a consensus not to make the same mistakes again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lorri Jean, Prop 8 Leader, Paid $277,299;
Gave $2,100 to No on 8

Probably the most complacent No on Prop 8 leader was Lorri Jean. She earned this distinction with her month-long vacation to Alaska during the battle to retain gay marriage in California.

Being the leader of the LA gay community center and getting paid $277,299 to tell all the little followers what to do while she rests for an entire month, is hard work. I guess the homos in LA think she deserves every penny of that salary because Jean is just such a fabulous leader.

The public information officer of the LA center today shared with me the latest IRS 990 filing for this organization. Why did he have to email it to me? Because Lorri Jean and crew are not committed to transparency. They do not post their IRS 990 filings on their extensive site, nor do they inform people how to request the filings from the info director of the center.

Click here to read the 46-page 2007 tax filing of the Lorri Jean organization. You'll find the top salaried positions on pages 21-23.

Ms. Jean surely is making comparable money this year, heck, she could afford a month off and out-of-state, so she certainly has the mean to make donations to political causes she believes in.

But what is one to make of her complacency with coughing up some dough for the No on 8 effort. She waited until less than a month before the election to give serious money to stop Prop 8.

Oh, what a great leader we have in Lorri Jean. I wish she would do the movement a favor, resign from any paid leadership position and spend all her free time in Alaska. Maybe she could talk strategy with another loser, Gov. Sarah Palin.

I'd rather be led by the first dozen gays and lesbians coming out of any bar or AA meeting in Fresno or Modesto than the likes of Lorri Jean, Geoff Kors, Kate Kendell, Elizabeth Birch and Joe Solmonese.

Contributor nameLorri L. Jean
CityLos Angeles
State or countryCA
Payment typeMonetary
Transaction date10/8/2008
Committee nameNo On 8, Equality For All

Contributor nameLorri L. Jean
CityLos Angeles
State or countryCA
Payment typeMonetary
Transaction date9/15/2008
Committee nameNo On 8, Equality For All

EQCA/Kors: It's the Homo Who's Perverse,
Not the Situation in Which He Lives

How perverse is the California variety of the homosexual, male and female? So perverse there is no loud cry of horror and alarm at the prospect of Geoff Kors, the executive director of Equality California who led the battle against Prop 8, being in charge of the next ballot initiative here.

I'm probably the lone homo truly frightened over what was printed in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle:

Although the state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to Prop. 8 early next year, preparations already are being made to fight the battle for marriage rights all over again if the court doesn't overturn the constitutional amendment passed by voters in November, said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.

"We can't just sit around until June and see what (the justices) do," he said. "We will take this back to the ballot if we have to and get our rights back."

It may have been two or three days after Prop 8 passed that Kors began talking up going back to the ballot box and voters on gay marriage, with he and EQCA leading the effort.

Unfortunately, I have not heard the voice of a single homo say, "What just a minute, Geoff. We still need accountability from you over the Prop 8 loss."

Keeping Kors in charge of EQCA and allowing him to be the official homo leader for the state, and chatting up the prospect of another intiative fight with him at the helm, is equal to rehiring Michael "heck-of-a-job" Brown to lead FEMA.

Remember how important it was for Brown to eat a nice dinner, way outside of New Orleans and away from its drowning inhabitants, in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath?

That meal for Brownie is as important as Kors taking a two-and-a-half week vacation in Spain during the Prop 8 campaign, at a time when he was accusing the homos of being complacent.

When I hear homos today talk about the supposed perversion of the Mormons and Catholics and others who got Prop 8 ratified by the voters, and that the poor homo is a victim, I tune out such talk.

It's the homo who's perverse, not the situation in which he lives or the social forces arrayed against us. Only the depraved and perverse would keep Kors as the top homo for Calfornia and permit him to be seriously thinking of repeating his mistakes during the next ballot fight for homos.

Hey, Geoff "heck-of-a-job" Kors: Why has your group not yet organized a public forum, or announced a future date for one, regarding what you and the executive committee of No on Prop 8 did wrong?

HRC's Birch: $6,900 to Clinton,

$500 to No on Prop 8

There is much to learn from searching the donations' records of key people from the Human Rights Campaign.

For example, Elizabeth Birch, the former head who is fiercely defending the group's work and contributions to the No on 8 campaign, gave $500 to fight the ballot initiative, according to the SF Chronicle's search engine for Prop 8 donations. BTW, that donation was made on October 10, showing Birch waited until the campaign was in crisis before writing out a check.

Birch also gave a total of $6,900 to Sen. Hillary Clinton's effort to win the White House. Birch gave Clinton $4,600 in the spring of 2007, way ahead of any primary, and then donated an additional $2,300 on August 28. Nice of Birch to aid Clinton in retiring her massive debt from her campaign effort.

This former leader of HRC also gave Sen. Barack Obama $2,300 in July for his campaign.

So Birch gave $9,200 to the top two Democratic Party contenders for the Oval Office, and only $500 to fight to retain gay marriage equality in California.

What does this show me? It reveals how Birch, like HRC, is definitely more interested in putting money into electing Democrats than advancing gay equality.

Click here
to read Birch's FEC file, and click here to check her donation to No on 8.

(Photo credit: site. Image shows Ms. and Mr. HRC on election night at HRC's party in DC.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

HRC's Birch Plays the Shame Game
Over Larry Kramer

[UPDATED: Scroll down for new info.]

The former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, Elizabeth Birch, is none too pleased with me getting an email from Larry about her group and posting it to my blog. She made her views known in a terse note. Here's the Birch email:

Dear Michael,

Shame on you. You know the truth.

Don't drag Larry into this to try and get credibility. The truth: HRC donated 3.5M ---- they were not asked to run it or for input ---- just money. You are too old to not be wiser than this.

Elizabeth Birch
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
This was my reply to her:
Hi Elizabeth,

If you wish to talk truthfully about who deserves shaming in the gay community, take a realistic look at HRC. It has raised more than $100 million in the last decade, ostensibly to win federal equality for gay Americans, and all we have to show for sending so much community funding to HRC is a big building on Rhode Island Avenue.

I didn't drag Larry into anything. His is one voice among the growing chorus of gays fed up with HRC and saying so. Actually, Larry's views on your organization are nicely summed up on his poster from a recent demonstration against an HRC dinner in NYC.

And speaking of credibility, yours could use some improving after you wrote on recently that your former boss, the attention-starved and media-slut Rosie O'Donnell hates calling attention to herself. Right, and the pope is Jewish.

Regarding HRC's large role in determining the course of the disastrous No on 8 campaign, it began with Equality California, the HRC-affiliated organization that is a state clone of the national group. If you really believe HRC had a small and inconsequential role in the Prop 8 debacle, then you're suffering from a very severe case of Cleopatra Syndrome.

Frankly, I've always been too old to swallow the HRC Kool-Aid and I'm glad to see more gay Americans are waking up to the uselessness of your group.

Shed your queen of denial attitude and check out this post from Chris Crain for a large, and much-needed, dose of gay reality.


p.s. I forgot to include this bit of info from an August article in the Advocate:

All together, the total of contributions received from January 1 through July 31 to fight Proposition 8 approaches $6 million, according to Marty Rouse, national field director for HRC and an executive committee member of Equality for All, the coalition of groups working to defeat Proposition 8. 

So, Elizabeth, if the No on 8 campaign didn't want input from HRC as you claim, why the heck was Rouse on the executive committee running the show?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No on 8 Gay Leader Took 1 Month
AK Vacation During the Campaign

Who knew the Advocate was back to reporting hard news, and news that is critical of the Democratic Party hacks running our community organizations? Kudos to the magazine for telling me something of importance I didn't know.

Sure, I've known about and reported on No on 8/Equality California's leader Geoff Kors taking a two-week vacation in Spain during the campaign, a troubling sign of terrible executive decision-making first reported by the Bay Area Reporter, but I had no idea Lorri Jean, the executive director of the Los Angeles gay community center, did likewise.

Actually, she did better than Kors in the amount of time devoted to enjoying a complacent holiday. Jean was gone for a full month.

From the Advocate, italics mine:

Observers say problems were evident from the start. Bankhead had never run a campaign of anything approaching this magnitude. In July, when the Mormon Church was beginning to build its organizing machine -- signing up volunteers, raising money, spreading the word -- key members of the No on 8 leadership were literally absent. Kors took a 2½-week vacation. Jean went to Alaska for the month.

“Any time that anybody took off did not in any way have a negative impact on the campaign,” Jean says in her defense. “I’m flattered to think I was that indispensable.”

Yet, according to many, the complacency that the campaign leadership has been blaming on their base started at the top.

First, Jean implies that more than she and Kors took time off for a vacation, raising the question of why these leaders were committed to a few months duration of waging a winning battle at the ballot box. Anyone got a clue as to how many of the top No on 8 directors hit the holiday trail during the campaign? I doubt Jean and Kors were the only ones who took long breaks, and are now accusing the rest of us of complacency.

Second, Jean is clearly not indispensable. She is just another greasy bureaucrat keeping the wheels of the Gay Inc machinery churning for the benefit of the Democrats. It's time to ask Jean to resign from her LA gay center position, and allow new and better leadership to emerge from the ashes of the Prop 8 failures of Jean, Kors and Kendell.

Third, is Jean really worth the quarter-million salary she earns? The latest IRS 990 tax filing by the LA center is from 2006 and shows that two years ago this nincompoop was compensated $241,923. I'd wager that her pay has increased since then to at least $275,000 for her, ahem, visionary leadership.

Click here to read the 2006 filing. I've made a request to the center's information officer, Jim Key, for the 2007 IRS report for his organization, because we need to know what Jean is earning now.

And allow me to point out that Jean and her gay center are as transparent as tar when it comes to showing the community their IRS 990s. Jean's gay center does not share their three most recent IRS tax filings, as many other nonprofits do, nor does the center's web site tell visitors how to locate the filings at

Frankly, after watching Jean since the November 4 electoral loss, leading marches and speaking against the Mormon influence on the race, I give her lots of credit for diverting the community's attention from her failures. Keeping the community in the dark about her IRS 990s is in keeping with keeping prying eyes away from her and her management style.

There must be some accountability exacted from the gay leaders who burned through $40 million of community funding, inflicted massive psychological damage on openly gay people with an internalized homophobic TV campaign, allowed the Yes on 8 forces to defame and malign us with impunity, and generally proved themselves as devoid of empowering their gay brothers and sisters.

In the case of Jean, on top of all that, she also didn't deliver the Los Angeles vote.

For these and lots of other reasons, Jean should offer her resignation. We cannot allow the Prop 8 failures of Jean, Kendell and Kors to leave them remaining in highly paid leadership positions. If we do, future community-wide setbacks are guaranteed.

Larry Kramer: What I Think of HRC & Prop 8

Just when I thought my pal Larry was being a little too quiet, maybe even mellow, for the times we are witnessing, I received this reply from him, in response to my recent post on the Human Rights Campaign's upcoming SF event at our local Bloomingdales:

Michael writes: "What exactly would be lost in our struggle for equal treatment and a bit of respect from voters, if this worthless-for-decades Democratic Party front group were to close up shop?"

i have been saying things like this and writing things like this, about HRC, (then HRCF) since the beginning of hiv in 1981 when i discovered-- really fast! -- how useless they were in our fights against this plague.

who gives a flying fuck what this still useless organization says at its hastily summoned emergency meetings, all camouflage to make the world think they are doing something.


it is just a big bunch of stupid people running a big machine that sucks money from uneducated naive donors and then throws it away. every time i see the letters HRC i want to puke. they could be so wonderful and they are such a waste.

god help the gay population because HRC won't. if they disappeared tomorrow we would be better off. we might even have won against proposition 8.

larry kramer

Hey Larry, nice to see you've not lost your way of tossing much-needed piss and vinegar at those who need a good splashing with such liquids.

[Photo credit: Rex Wockner.]

Friday, November 21, 2008

HRC's Crucial SF Meeting
on Gay Marriage Loss

Oh, the many fabulous ways the Human Rights Campaign fearlessly leads the community in California after our devastating gay marriage loss on election night.

From spa nights to raise funds to pay their leader Joe So-So a cool quarter-million annually, to this upcoming shopping event at every rich gay person's favorite place to do political organizing -- Bloomingdales, HRC pulls out all the stops to add valuable guidance in these dark days.

Help me out here, people. Answer me this: What exactly would be lost in our struggle for equal treatment and a bit respect from voters, if this worthless-for-decades Democratic Party front group were to close up shop?

In the long run, any degree of gay equality at the federal level will come about only when gay Americans realize the abject failure of HRC and how it wastes $35-40 million gay community dollars annually.

I can't wait to attend this HRC forum, with a few friends and cameras, and document the great HRC in action, fighting for my rights. From the group's web site:

Join HRC for


on December 12th, 2008

At both the San Francisco Bloomingdales Store and the Stanford Bloomingdales Store in Palo Alto from 2pm to 10pm, Bloomingdales will donate a portion of your purchases to HRC. There will be in-store promotions, special offers just for HRC shoppers, refreshments, complimentary giftwrap, coat and bag check and many more surprises!

845 Market Street, San Francisco,


Reporter: Who Says Prop 8/EQCA's

Geoff Kors Should Resign?

The incompetent head of Equality California, Geoff Kors, was the subject of a phone chat I had today with Seth Hemmelgarn at the Bay Area Reporter. Again, I called for Kors to do the CA movement a huge favor and resign, and that his time would be better spent sweeping the gutters of Castro Street. Here is the email from the writer after our talk:


Do you know other people who think Geoff should resign who might be willing to talk to me, or other people who heard about him trying to kill the rally tomorrow?

I was planning on talking to him today anyway, so I want to ask him about this.


Bay Area Reporter
p: 415-861-5019

If you'd also like to Kors step down from his self-appointed position as King of the California Gays, get in touch with Seth.

HRC's Solmonese Gave Nothing
to No on 8 Campaign

I decided today was the day to check on donations to the No on 8 campaign from the top executives at the gay division of the Democratic Party, alias the Human Rights Campaign, along with any giving from the HRC staffers whose name appears on the group's web site. The salaries in parentheses, come from the latest HRC tax filings with the IRS.

Sorry to say, but I'm not the least bit surprised the head of this ineffective organization, Joe Solmonese, who really should be called Joe So-So because of his incredibly mediocre leadership, appears to have not made a donation to the No on 8 campaign.

I searched the Prop 8 donations' database at the SF Chronicle, and couldn't find a contribution from the executive director of HRC. However, Solmonese did donate a couple thousand bucks to Democratic Party candidates and political action committees this past election cycle. Maybe he had only a certain amount of personal bucks to give away and choose to put his money where his political heart really is -- promoting Democrats over gay causes.

Total amount given by individual HRC leaders, included in my survey, to the No on 8 campaign comes to $2,275. Click here to verify the donations, or lack thereof.

BTW, Solmonese once headed EMILY's List, which stands for early money is like yeast, a PAC committed to electing pro-choice women. This organization really understands the value of giving early to candidates and their campaigns, a lesson lost on Solmonese, who could have set a good example for donating to No on Prop 8, if he made a donation in the first months of the election season.

Furthermore, Solmonese's boss at EMILY's List, open lesbian Ellen Malcolm, also failed to give money to the No on 8 effort.

With friends and leaders like Solmonese, his staff and Ellen Malcolm, why worry about Mormons and other adversaries?

Here's my survey of HRC leaders and what turned up when searching the SF Chronicle Prop 8 donations' database:


* Joe Solmonese: $0 (Salary: $259,096)
* Susanne Salkind: $0 (Salary: $158,721
* Cathy Nelson: $0 (Salary: $167,891)
* Maxim Thorne: $0 (Salary: $155,939)
* Kevin Layton: $0 (Salary: $133,134)
* Andrea Green: $0 (Salary: $124,795)
* Mary Breslaur: $0 (Salary: $110,000)

Center for the Study of Equality

* Ché Juan Gonzales Tabisola: $0


* Michael Cole: $100
* Christopher Johnson: $0
* Brad Luna: $0
* Trevor Thomas: $0


* Donna Payne: $0
* Allyson Robinson: $0
* Cuc Vu: $0


* Chris Edelson: $0
* Marty Rouse: $200
* Sultan Shakir: $200

General Counsel

* Robert Falk: $200
* Darrin Hurwitz: $250

Human Resources

* John A. Greene, P.H.R.: $0


* Cristina Finch: $0
* Brian Moulton: $100
* Lara Schwartz: $0


* Allison Herwitt: $0
* David Stacy: $0

Policy & Strategy

* David M. Smith: $1,000 (Salary: $165,413)
[This is the largest donation in this survey, but compare that one-thousand dollar gift to the $2,300 Smith gave to Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential effort.]

Political Action Committee

* Mike Mings: $0

Public Education and Outreach

* Eric Bloem: $0
* Candace Gingrich: $0
* Sharon Groves: $0
* Daryl Herrschaft: $0
* Ellen Kahn: $0
* Harry Knox: $0
* Samir Luther: $125
* Betsy Pursell: $100

We're Back Home in San Francisco

After eight absolutely wonderful days in NYC with my husbear Mike, in a small apartment on E. 3rd and First Avenue with no television, radio or access to the web, we're back at home in San Francisco. Thanks, Mike, for this early 50th birthday present.

We saw lots of close friends and beloved family members, took in a few musicals and dramas, hit a bunch of galleries and the New Museum on the Bowery, and generally had a true vacation from our lives at home.

(Well, not a total vacation. Despite a self-imposed promise to avoid the No on 8 rally at City Hall on Saturday, I did go for an hour. Ran into activist pals from the old days. Told everyone we looked fabulous back in the streets again!)

Before I get back to activism and blogging, I want to share some pics from our trip:

My sister Angela and my totally terrific partner Mike, at Carmine's on W. 44th Street.

My peace-nik nephew Keith, me, and my smiling neice Rose, freezing in Times Square.

From an exhibit at the New Museum, the Silence = Death neon piece that debuted back in the 1980s at the "Let the Record Show ..." exhibition at the White Columns gallery.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We're Heading to NYC: I'll Soon Be 50

My partner Big Mike and I leaving tonight for a week in NYC. We return to San Francisco on November 20. The trip is an early birthday present to me. I hit the big 5-0 in January, but we want to see friends and family now, before the holiday season starts in earnest. Our access to the web will be limited, as I don't have a laptop, but we'll have a cell phone with us. If you need to reach us, dial 1-415-323-8205. See y'all in the Big Apple!

No on 8 Leaders:
Why We Didn't Debate Yes Forces

At the end of October, after I learned the No on 8 leadership had declined an invitation from the Yes on 8 people to collaborate on a TV debate before the election, I wrote a post taking these leaders to task for not seizing the opportunity. I pointed out that a large contributing factor to the defeat of the Briggs Initiative in the 1970s was Harvey Milk's many debates with the opponents.

So, not only did we have gays missing from the No side's TV commercials, and gay marriage was not defended as healthy and beneficial to CA and society, but the No leaders had no interest in demolishing our opponents in debates. Guess the strategy of No leaders was to preach to the choir.

I get the sense from these replies from key people on the executive committee of the No on 8 effort, that the only way they would have debated is if a flower-strewn red carpet were laid before them. Oh, and if they could pick their opponents.

Let me say this about Sarah Palin: She showed up for her televised debate.

What really intrigues me is Kate Kendell saying how seeing one of the Briggs debates changed her life. Someone should point out to her that she had the same chance to maybe change another baby dyke's life in Utah, if she had had the courage to debate the Yes people.

Here are the replies from three of the top No leaders:

Thanks to the miracle of modern television and radio one needn’t travel all over the state to debate our opponents. Many of us have debated our opposition over a dozen times in the past two weeks—reaching hundreds of thousands of voters. The letter to debate was a stunt and the campaign treated it as such. We have all tried to channel the wit and intelligence of Harvey in exposing the ridiculousness of our opposition—with some success. We all hope for the same outcome, now 30 years later.

I'm happy to say more Michael. If we had really believed in this new media age that debates would have been actally televised and moved the voters we needed to move. I would have been first in line.

I was 18 sitting in my homophobic uncle's house in utah when I saw a clip of sally gearhart debating john briggs. For this baby dyke who was not out, it changed my life and future. If I thought we could have done that again, I would have never unpacked my suitcase.


Ha! To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt:

A critic says nothing, produces nothing, contributes nothing to the greater good and takes credit where none is due. The critic has no followers and does not lead.

I would rather be in the trenches with the women and men who risk all, battle ferociously, win sometimes and lose often. Through earnestness, courage, blood and sweat - they give all they have for the greater good and are overlooked and unsung. To them is given the harshest criticism and finger pointing. Glory may escape their deeds but a sense of self esteem is their reward for doing esteemable acts.

I have the greatest sense of self worth and nobility to have served with each of you - whatever the outcome Tuesday. You will forever inhabit my soul and spirit because of your bravery and selflessness.

With deep admiration,

John Duran

Completely ridiculous not to mention revisionist history.
And, it's too bad he didn't post the entire text of Steve's letter, which was GREAT!

Lorri Jean

Hey, Lorri Jean. I'm not the publicist for you or the No forces. Click here to read the contents of the letter Jean found so "great."
(The $600 Man: Kevin Cathcart.)

Lambda Legal ED's $600 to No 8;
Earns $276,882

I shouldn't be too hard on the relative small amounts of donations from the top folks at our leading gay legal advocacy firm Lambda Legal. After all, they may have not approved of the closeted campaign operation by the No on 8 folks, or, maybe they knew we were gonna lose and they didn't want to waste their money with larger donations.

The executive director of Lambda Legal, Kevin Cathcart, according the Prop 8 donations' search engine, donated $500, but in an email to me he said the figure was not current. He gave an additional $100, for a grand total of $600.

The 2007 IRS 990 filing for the organization shows that Cathcart's total compensation package was $276,882. Click here to read the tax filing.

With that kind of salary, I guess he couldn't afford to donate more to defeat Prop 8, what with the high cost of living in NYC.

What about other top folks at the organizations and their donations?

John Westfall, the development director earned $202,968 last year, and he donated $500 to the campaign.

Jon Davidson, legal director took home $182,452 in 2007, and contributed $400.

Frances Goldstein, deputy director, earned $166,149, and she gave zilch.

Leslie Gabel-Brett, EPA director, took home $161,325, and donated $350.

Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director, earned $152,441, and gave nothing.

The total amount paid to the Lambda Legal agency's top people in 2007 was $1,142,217.

Click here to use the donations' search engine.

In terms of total donations, so far, the numbers may increased as the search engine is updated, these folks as individuals amounts to $2,350.

Of course, the organization may have made donations to No on 8, and if they did, and they provide me with the info on any such donations, I'll print that info here.

Sure, this organization does lots of good work for gays, but the donations from the directors seems quite slim.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AP: Criticism Mounts Among Gays
Over Prop 8 Loss

Has anyone started a petition to have Geoff Kors step down as the head of Equality California? If so, I want to add my name to the list of signers.
It is beyond obnoxious that he continues to maintain that gays were a visible part of the $40 million No on 8 media campaign, especially TV ads.
How can any sane person believe that the No on 8 TV spots were "the best messengers" when they didn't persuade enough voters to vote no, and there was loud grumbling about the invisibility of gays and real promotion of gay marriage in the ads?
If Kors had any sense, and sense of doing the best thing for the gay community after his disastrous leadership on Prop 8, he'd step aside as CA's chief spokesman on state gay issues.
I know, highly unlikely he'll do the honorable thing and resign, when he can't even acknowledge the basic internalized homophobic problems of the campaign he led.
Here are excerpts from the AP wire story written by Lisa Leff:

California's gay-rights movement has been beset by infighting and finger-pointing since the defeat of gay marriage at the ballot box, with some activists questioning the campaign's mild tactics, including the decision not to show same-sex couples in ads.

The movement's leaders "were very timid. They were too soft," said Robin Tyler, a lesbian comic who created a series of celebrity public service announcements with the slogan "Stop the Hate, No on 8" that were rejected because they were deemed too negative. "We were lightweights on our side." ...

Some gays are complaining that their leaders failed to organize a visible and vigorous defense of same-sex marriage. In particular, they say the movement failed to counter a series of hard-hitting ads warning that the ban on gay marriage was needed to prevent children from learning about gay relationships in school.

Leaders of the campaign in favor of gay marriage say they made a strategic decision not to highlight gay newlyweds or same-sex couples with children in their ads for fear of alienating undecided heterosexual voters ...

Geoff Kors, executive director of the gay rights group Equality California, defended the choice of advertisements.

"Lesbian and gay people were everywhere in this campaign — as spokespeople, on YouTube, our Web site. For the television advertising, the best messengers were the messengers that were used," he said.

But Michael Petrelis, a veteran AIDS activist in San Francisco, said the absence of gay couples in the media campaign was a fatal error.

"We were seen more as a liability," Petrelis said. "When you have that kind of attitude, it's no wonder there was little community buy-in."

The criticisms extend to beyond how the campaign was run to how people are responding to the ban's passage ...

Plans have been made for a demonstration outside a Mormon church in New York City on Wednesday, and outside city halls in every state on Saturday ...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hank Wilson Tribute, Tonight @ 6 PM,
Castro & 18th

It is with a sad heart that we inform you that Hank Wilson passed on Nov. 9th at Davies Medical Center due to lung cancer. We invite all community members to help create a tribute to Hank Wilson at 18th and Castro streets (Bank of America) starting TONIGHT (Mon., Nov. 10) at 6pm.

Pictures, stories, news clippings, flowers, candles, trinkets, are welcome to pay homage to this hero in our community. It is fitting that we kick off this tribute one hour prior to the community screening of the Milk Movie at the Castro Theatre.

Thank you,

Gary Virginia, Michael Petrelis, Tommi Avicolli-Mecca

Photo credit: Rick Gerharter

HRC Action Tonight in SF Over Prop 8 Loss

After all the hard work HRC did shoving gays back into the closet during the No on 8 campaign, and the other valuable things they did recently to get us out on the streets demanding gay equality, HRC is now giving the San Francisco community what it truly needs at this point as we pick ourselves after being knocked down by the voters.

It's HRC Spa Night! I tell you, just between us girls, there is nothing more to think about after one loses a gay marriage equality fight with CA voters than hitting an expensive spa, getting rejuvenated for the next HRC dinner and making a contribution to this fabulous group.

What's next? Get a face-lift and HRC gets 10% from the plastic surgeon, to fight the next ballot proposition? Purchase a Mercedes and the dealer gives a percentage of the sale to HRC?

One thing that is surely not next from HRC is an achievement of any significance for gay Americans.

What would happen to the gay movement and its quest for fairness and equality if we once and for all stopped giving even a dime to the worthless Democratic Party hacks burning through $40 million community dollars annually?

We'd be so much better off flushing HRC down the sewer.

This is the email invitation from HRC sent this morning:

From: Tom Floyd
Subject: Don't Miss Tonight's HRC Spa Night at Nickel Spa! (6-10 PM)
To: xxx
Date: Monday, November 10, 2008, 9:03 AM
HRC invites you to an evening of pampering and relaxation while you sip wine, snack on appetizers, and mingle with friends! We are proud to partner with Nickel Spa on this evening spa event.

Nickel Spa:
Services available to both men and women during our event. (receiving a service is not required/mandatory!)
Where: 2187 Market Street (15th and Market)
San Francisco, CA
(415) 626-9000

When: Monday November 10th, 2008
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Please RSVP to Nickel Spa for this event at: (415) 626-9000. When calling to RSVP, you will need to make an appointment for any services you would like to receive.

Note: There is a 50 person maximum for this event, you must be on the list to attend! Receiving a service is not required to attend.

20% of proceeds from spa services to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.

For all other event questions, call Tom Floyd at (408) 891-7846.

Hope to see you there!

Quarantine HRC over CS Epidemic
at DC Headquarters

Guardians of the health and well-being of the gay community nationwide should do us all an favor and quarantine the Democratic Party hacks at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in DC.

Why? Because the dangerous and deadly Cleopatra Syndrome epidemic has struck HRC. This syndrome, which refers to Queens of Denial unable to face homo-reality, is in full flourish at the nation's largest gay DNC front group. It is not healthy for HRC to be in denial about community reaction and protest to the passage of Prop 8.

For nearly 6 days, gays and our allies across the country have been holding vigils, street protests, loud speakouts, and generally being as visible as possible, showing the world our love, righteous anger and unwavering commitment to equality, after the sad loss of gay marriage rights at the polls last Tuesday.

What has HRC done about the loss of gay marriage quality in CA? Ask for donations to keep paying their leaders six-figure salaries.

And yet the dullards at HRC have not said a peep about the action, nor have they shared any of the thousands of pics and videos around the web showing us taken action to demand justice and pursuing the right to happiness. There is nothing at the HRC site telling visitors about the nationwide actions and anger.

Why is HRC silent about the Prop 8 protests, past and future? Have they not been given permission by their bosses at the Democratic Party headquarters to weigh in and promote the demonstrations?

Oh, and there are no announcements posted at, as of Monday, 10 am PT, about the upcoming action in NYC on Wednesday at the Mormon Temple, and not a word about the national day of action on Saturday. Click here for info on the Saturday actions around America.

Here's the scoop on the NYC action:

Prop 8 Protest in New York at Mormon Temple AGAINST HATE
LGBT New Yorkers and Straight Allies.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
6:30pm - 8:00pm
New York Manhattan Mormon Temple
125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street

Tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters are in the streets in California and Salt Lake City and around the country protesting the votes banning same-sex marriage in California.

Join them! Make your voices heard right here in New York City.

We will tell the Mormon Church how we feel about its relentless campaign to condemn and control our lives. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was, by far, the biggest financer of California's heinous and hateful Proposition 8. The Mormon Church begged their members to donate money to Prop 8, pouring 20 million dollars into the campaign. And their
attacks on us didn't start there and aren't about to end. They're plotting right now to bring their money and influence to bear against the LGBT community everywhere in this country, including trying to prevent marriage equality in New York.

Join us in speaking out against Mormon hate! Stop them taking away your rights!


Sunday, November 09, 2008

(This great photo of Hank was taken by his friend Rick Gerharter.)

Hank Wilson,
Longtime Gay AIDS Survivor, Has Died

Our friend and colleague Hank Wilson, a veteran of many gay and AIDS battles, including his own fights with AIDS since the 1980s and lung cancer in recent years, died today. As a close friend of his, who was in touch these past few weeks, I knew about serious deterioration, but told only very close friends about his condition.

Hank didn't want me blabbing all over town, maybe the web too, about his end approaching and that loved ones and activists everywhere might want to express kindness and thanks for his decades of unstinting volunteer services, before he died. At his request, I kept quiet.

If ever there was a man whose vocation was helping other less fortunate and speaking truth to power, it was Hank.

Okay, I'm crying right now over learning of his passing, but I gotta say something. Hank, thanks so much for joining me every time in the past 2 years at countless demonstrations at foreign consulates or shouting at UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and forcing him to say the "gay" word or demanding accountability from AIDS Inc at HIV prevention planning council meetings.

How you had the strength, dear friend, to deal with global gay concerns in our backyard, while juggling AIDS problems, chemo and other drugs for the lung cancer, doctors appointments, and put up with my political advocacy, I'll never know.

But let me say again, thank you, Hank Wilson, for all the unsung activism you performed in your life.

May you rest in peace.

Here's the note from Rodger Brooks of the AIDS group Thrive announcing Hank's passing:

Henry "Hank" Wilson, who for more than 30 years has been a leader of both the Queer Liberation and AIDS Communities,

died peacefully at 4 P.M. Sunday November 9th in Davies Hospital.

A long-term HIV/AIDS survivor and "Thriver" he succumbed to Lung Cancer.

I had seen him in the hour before;

Hank was under sedation and was sleeping deeply, so I did not wake him.

I am thankful that his passing was so gentle.

I will post more as information becomes available.

Remembering one of my heroes,

Rodger Brooks

SF Chron: Black Church Service
Disrupted Over Prop 8

The last time I saw the Rev. Amos C. Brown, head of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, was back in September when I was counter-protesting a demonstration at City Hall by Christian anti-gay zealots voicing opposition to the Folsom Street Fair and gay marriage. Click here to see the pics.

Brown, who is heterosexual, pro-gay, black and conservative, stopped by the dueling protests to give the zealots a piece of his mind. He was so forcefully defending gay marriage to a Christian protester that a cop had to tell him to cool his hot head.

Not only is Brown pro-gay marriage, he opposed Prop 8, but, big surprise here, the No on 8 leadership didn't recruit him to help defeat the ballot measure. I didn't see any No materials with him and all his associations from the black community, touting his opposition. Were the No leaders unaware of his position, or, did they not now how to work with Brown to persuade other blacks to voters to say No?

My mind imagines the free publicity and education the No side would have generated if this pillar of the black and religious communities had used his clout and booming, prophetic orating style at a debate with the Yes forces. Oh, what I would have given to witness, on television, Rev. Amos C. Brown challenging the lies of the Yes folks!

But as we all know, the scaredy-cats running the No show, didn't seek out debates with our opposition, and when the Yes side asked us to debate the final weekend before the election, our side snidely passed on the invitation.

Okay, I've digressed enough. The point of this posting is an item from this morning's political gossip column in the San Francisco Chronicle, showing Brown, yet again, going to great lengths for gay marriage:

Just last Sunday, Third Baptist Church minister and former San Francisco Supervisor Rev. Amos Brown - a veteran of the civil rights battles of the 1960s - launched into a sermon about the need to protect the rights of gays.

Suddenly, a young associate minister seated in the front row stormed the pulpit, grabbed a microphone and began lecturing Brown about the need to "just preach the Gospel and leave that other stuff alone."

Brown snatched the microphone from the man, who was quickly escorted out.

"There are African Americans who ... feel the white gays haven't stood with them on issues like social justice, education and housing," Brown said.

On the other hand, Brown also knows the black community was slow to offer support to gays at the outset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

Brown warned the ugliness will continue if cooler heads don't prevail.

"What this man did storming the church pulpit was just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

I'm being mild here in saying, interesting that the disruption came not from a gay protester after we lost, but that it came from another religious figure within Brown's church.

One day soon, I want the No leaders to answer this question: Why didn't you collaborate with Brown?

It is downright criminal that such a straight black religious leader was not a visible and loud member of the No coalition that brought us defeat on Tuesday. Then again, I must remember how the only reason why the No side ever got around to using Obama's image and opposition to Prop 8, three days before November 4, was because the Yes side beat them at being the first to use the popular candidate to garner votes.

I'll be snail mailing a thank you note to the Rev. Amos C. Brown on Monday. Sure, too little, too late, to defeat Prop 8, but at least he'll hear a small dose of gratitude expressed for his support for gays this election season from at least one white gay voter.