Thursday, July 28, 2011

EQCA, Leno Use No on 8
Playbook for 2012 Gay Ed Prop

It's gay-ja vu all over again. What a sad sentence to type out on my keyboard, but such is reality in California for the gay community.

Our A-gay Democratic Party leaders at Equality California and Sen. Mark Leno were caught unprepared for anti-gay forces moving so quickly after passage of SB 48, the gay education bill recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, to take the first steps toward a ballot referendum to undo that gay rights bill.

Why do our leaders continually come across as shocked, shocked that a good action for the gays brings out a nasty reaction from our adversaries, often leading to a ballot prop?

Recall the spring of 2008, when the California Supreme Court with the In re Marriage Cases decision allowing for gay marriages, community leaders had in place a decline-to-sign effort encouraging voters to keep their names off any ballot initiative related to gay marriage that might appear on the November 2008 ballot. That effort was a failure.

The evidence is stark that our adversaries, who had no serious hurdles in 2000 and 2008 placing an anti-gay marriage prop before the voters, have a strong funding foundation and political network always ready to launch a new initiative against the gays.

Yet, gay leaders come across again as not having any (winning) plan in place when our adversaries begin a new signature gathering campaign/

Let's go over the ten key similarities between the gay marriage measure in 2008 and the potential one in 2012 to repeal SB 48:

1) Gay leaders concerned opponents will take out papers, submit language and start gathering signatures, check.

2) A campaign starts and gay leaders express optimism voters will decline-to-sign and that labeling the opponents as extremists will prevent them from collecting the necessary signatures to get on the ballot, check.

3) Meetings of Democratic Party gays are held behind closed doors, and a strict invitation-only policy is enforced, while no town hall meetings to educate and mobilize grassroots gays take place, check.

4) Equality California starts fundraising, striking fear into the hearts of donors, and recruits volunteers for phone banking, with no plans for democratic engagement with the at-large community, check.

5) Mark Leno maintains his extended record of not hosting regular public forums, check.

6) High-priced pollsters and election experts are hired for short-term consultancies, while data and polls are not shared beyond the A-gays, check.

7) Influential lesbian reporters Cynthia Laird of the Bay Area Reporter and Karen Ocamb of LA Frontiers accept the lack of democratic engagement and town halls, and accuse the community of complacency, check.

8) As EQCA and Leno maintain business-as-usual policies, the community is tarred with the broad complacency brush, check.

9) Constructive criticism of gay leaders is dismissed as divisive eating-our-own behavior, check.

10) Hard proof is lacking that EQCA and Leno have learned from past debacles, and the squandering of millions of gay dollars, check.

Where is the new gay playbook for dealing with the current campaign to repeal SB 48 through the electoral process?

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