Let me just say, with utmost confidence, that EQCA’s decision to conduct Town Hall Meetings to discuss the relevance of organizing a voter referendum to install a ballot measure which will repeal California’s Proposition 8 (which is currently still in the jurisdiction of the highest courts in the state) is the crowning of the self-destruction of an organization that flaunts it’s desire to waste LGBT dollars.
EQCA does good work, on some things. They manage to sponsor and get some important and vital legislative efforts passed. But how does this organization explain its latest bout of insanity? Do we support it on valid efforts when this Town Hall BS is so obviously designed to snag more money from an LGBT population which is already suffering from the economy and failed campaigns?
To believe, in any way, that these town hall meetings represent the tiniest bit of understanding on the part of EQCA about the struggle for same sex marriage in California, is to believe in unicorns. It’s predictable, at least in terms of every day, money grubbing, political tactics that exist in California in the year 2011. It’s appalling, however, to realize EQCA resigned itself to old, failed tactics rather than coming up with something new.
EQCA was raked over the coals by Central Valley activists, myself included, only a few short years ago, when they visited Fresno on a campaign of goodwill. During the Prop 8 battle, EQCA, by their own admission, ignored and abandoned the Central Valley, an area they and others labeled as “critical” in the fight for marriage rights.
The local meeting was a virtual roasting of EQCA headliners. Folks like Geoff Kors and Marc Solomon (both have left the group at this point) were put to the fires of truth. We in Fresno had done our homework and knew clearly what their lack of support precipitated. They sat, almost comatose, and took our critique, clearly uncomfortable with the required groveling. They knew what they’d done, and the media had been relentless in pointing out their guilt. On top of it all, they’d done it consciously, evidenced by those in the room who pointed out that many in the valley had sought their assistance, only to be ignored. And they knew, despite how much money (contributed by others) they’d spent on such an incredibly failed campaign, that their miscalculations were huge.
They humbly, although not convincingly, apologized for their mistakes. Then EQCA installed field offices around the state, including Fresno, only to shut them down just after the historic decision by Judge Vaughn Walker, ruling California’s Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. The Fresno office shut its doors in the fall of 2010.
If EQCA’s stand is that this issue, which is currently, and from most standpoints, successfully, working its way through California’s courts, is another failure waiting to happen, then why close the offices only a few months ago? If their opinion is that this should go back to the voters in 2012 (which virtually everyone else disagrees with) then why did they shut down workers in areas like Fresno, which they admitted were key to winning this issue?
LOVE HONOR CHERISH failed miserably in an effort to get the issue of same sex marriage back on the ballot after Prop 8 was upheld. Despite their overabundance of confidence, they couldn’t get enough signatures throughout the entire state of California to get the repeal of Prop 8 back on the ballot in 2010. They never released their figures, which indicates just how failed that campaign was. Add to that the number of LGBT groups, even back then, who thought the ballot was a bad idea, and you begin to see how wrong some groups are in the forward history of this issue in California.
Even if you discount the likelihood that California courts will in fact enshrine legal same sex marriage into the state constitution, once and for all, by the beginning of 2012 (and most people predict that will happen in this fairly slam dunk court case), the argument for taking this issue back to the voters makes no sense. It’s a Neanderthal and ultimately self destructive way to deal with this issue. It can’t succeed simply because it allows the other side to gather their own voter base to overturn it. Over and over again, and again and again. Factor in the historical precedent of civil rights issues being ultimately decided by courts and not voters and it’s easy to question, even condemn EQCA for trying this again. At this point in time, after countless and continuing losses in the arena of voter approved civil rights, LGBT equality will no doubt be granted by the courts.
But let’s stand on the side EQCA is standing on (even though, logically, they can’t be, but let’s play along). Suppose the courts uphold Prop 8 and deny Walker’s historic ruling. Then what other choice do we have but the ballot box? And we have to start now to plan for the ballot in 2012. As I stated above, the ballot box, after so many abysmal failures, just doesn’t make sense. So to propose that a slam dunk of a court case will fail still does not warrant a trip back to the ballot box. That is, unless you look at from EQCA’s point of view. If they get enough people to believe in them, they’ll get your money. Ah, it all becomes clear…
Hear what they have to say…and tell them what you think, just as others are…
An EQCA Town Hall Meeting will take place in Fresno on June 6th
Fresno City College
Staff Dining Room
Fresno, CA 93741
Event Contact Info