I’m at the Convention Center in Downtown Los Angeles to attend the “Equality Summit.” Â I may not be able to keep blogging given the difficulty of finding a convenient power outlet or power strip.
I’ll just begin by wondering yet again (and really do need a stand-alone post on this) at how “equality” has become the watchword for the gay political movement.
The organizers bill this as “a gathering of community leaders committed to winning back marriage equality in California to network, share information and resources, and plan next steps.” Â I’m here as press and appreciate the organizers for so credentialing me. Â I had originally tried to register as a participant, but did so after the deadline so they told me to contact their press liaison who was more helpful and gracious.
Right now, we’re hearing from people involved in the “No on 8” campaign and once again, I find myself allied with some of the far left. Â As well as those activists, we on the right have been quite critical of the mainstream gay groups who organized the opposition to Prop 8. Â
One woman sitting near me agreed with me when I said (in a whisper) about how the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Lorri Jean was making excuses for her efforts in th e campaign.
I’m actually finding the plenary, “Looking Backward and Looking Forward” quite dull, with each panelist, like Miss Jean, talking about what they had done in the campaign. Â RIght now, I’m not aware of any Republicans participating in this panel — or this conference.
Indeed, it doesn’t seem the participants expected to find any right-of-center individuals here. Â When I arrive for the plenary, I sat down with my bagel in the back of the room. Â A woman seeing me alone at a table asked to join me. Â When she asked my affiliation, I told her I was press, covering this for my blog.
When I identified the blog, she wondered how she would find herself sitting with the conservative in this room, then wondered if “even now,” I could still be a conservative. Â Guess she just assumed that there wouldn’t be any conservatives as this conference. Â
I replied that “now more than ever,” I could be a conservative, noting that the immediate past president was anything but a conservative. Â Indeed, I held hat President Obama’s economic policies are really just an extension and expansion of his predecessor’s.
Instead of asking me what I mean, she said, “I don’t want to talk about this,” the proceeded quietly to find another place to leave. Â What is it about certain gay activists not wanting to engage their ideological adversaries. Â At least she wasn’t rude.
But, it’s her very attitude which shows why gay “equality” groups have trouble making their case. Â Organizers want to isolate themselves among like-minded leftists. Â As a result, they don’t know how to communicate with those they most need to reach, those Republicans and social conservatives, who do not share their statist sentiments and equality agenda.
Someone is trying to speak from the floor; they’ve just asked us to write any questions we might have on the index cards provided on the tables. So, it looks like the organizers will be pre-screening questions and not allowing questions the floor.
We are now hearing from David Binder who is presenting the results of his survey. He notes that 1.8 million more people voted Obama than voted “No” on 8. “Our feeling is that if they’re voting for Obama for President, they should be voting ‘No’ on 8.” Amazing the assumptions this guy makes about Democrats–and Republicans.
Does this guy even understand that there were a lot of people like me who voted for John McCain (i.e., against Barack Obama) and “No” on 8?
This guy is running through a lot of statistics and wish I could see the details on paper (or pixel) as they would be easier to digest.
Wish they had prepared a break-down of this survey to pass out. I’ll see if I can find this online. (Here’s his website. They just said this information will be available on the summit’s website. Looking for that now. Here’s their blog where they promise to make it available.) Instead of having the various heads of gay organizations kick off this panel, they should have had a brief introduction and had this guy discuss his findings in greater detail.
We had those “leaders” making excuses for their campaign.
He says that the argument for Prop. 8 which resonated the most was that it would prevent same-sex marriage for being taught in the schools. So, one wonders why then people in this room applauded the mere mention of Gavin Newsom’s name. Recall that the San Francisco Mayor garnered a lot of media for officiating at a lesbian teacher’s wedding to which she took her class on a field trip.
He says the Dianne Feinstein’s “No” did resonate with voters–or did he say that more people remembered that ad?
58% of those who voted for Prop 8 thought it necessary to protect traditional marriage.
A majority of all voters, he said, agreed with the anit-Prop 8 slogan that it was “unfair and wrong.”
He says we have to address message that Prop 8 is necessary to prevent teaching of gay marriage in schools.
Now the questions. Yep, they’re all pre-screened. Someone just read one on why there weren’t any African-Americans on the panel. And I’m wondering why there aren’t any Republicans.
Please note that this is my live-blog, with my particular angle. If you want the organizer’s angle for perhaps a more comprehensive live-blog, but without the insight of one speaking truth to (gay) “power,” check theirs out, here, here and here. 🙂
I’m finding it hard to follow this, given the jargon offered by a lot of panelists, listening to two left-wing lesbians at my table quietly or sarcastically respectively, ribbing the speakers, particularly Lorri Jean. Again to note how gay conservatives and gay leftist activists united in our opposition mainstream gay leaders.
One woman said it’s because we’re both pragmatic, I said maybe it’s also that we’re passionate.
To note audible grumbling in auditorium when Jean speaks. And it seems a lot of people in here wish they were taking questions from the floor rather than via pre-screened questions. No wonder, as the latest speakers, there’s a disconnect between the grassroots and the leadership.
A lot of talk about interest in other campaigns notably Obama, drawing energy and resources from this campaign. One person earlier noted how labor, for example, was more invested in the presidential campaign.
Some of the stuff I hear just sounds canned, causing my eyes to glaze over.
Standing ovation from about one-third of the room when someone said, leaders of “No on 8” movement “did the best the could.” Of the two-thirds not standing, a few were applauding, many others sat on their hands. As the people started to rise, a woman sitting next to me, said, “That’s what you get if you get to make the guest list.”
And they still only got two-thirds of the room.
Maybe I should be the times in (which would be Pacific) at each update. . .
Sorry for not doing that previously.
11:18 About to hear keynote address from Eva Paterson of the “Equal Justice Society.”
Person introducing her talks about going to jails to register people to vote and borrowing a lot of language from Obama campaign, with terms, “audacity,” “audacious” and “Yes we can.”
Boos when she mentions Pete Wilson.
11:22 Session was supposed to end two minutes ago and they’re just now introducing the keynote speaker. And we’ve hardly had time for questions from the floor. Look, given how few comments we’ve gotten to this post, maybe our readers aren’t so introduced in this summit, so I won’t feel bad about leaving early to catch two Hitchcock movies on the big screen later this evening.
Says she’s going to channel Sarah Palin in not speaking nonsensically. Love how it’s become a standard feature of gay discourse to bash the Alaska Governor. These people really are obsessed with their animosity against Republicans.
11:30 This is not a keynote address, but a series of cracks. And given my wireless card, my laptop is eating lots of energy today, so I’m almost on reserve power and may have to stop blogging until we go into the breakout sessions where I may be able to find a power outlet.
11:35 Okay, eyes are definitely glazing over. Beginning to surf the blogs. Ears perked up when she said “marriage equality” is a civil rights issue. End of discussion. Oh, is it?
Just had a thought, how do people like her expect to reach out to conservatives if they constantly rib Republicans like Sarah Palin. The people who most love that great governor are the people gay activists most need to reach.
11:43 Okay, I’m trying to focus again and she again repeats the mantra of “rights being taken away.” Please tell me the adverse consequences people suffer now that the state of California doesn’t recognize gay marriages.
She also repeats her point of a few moments ago that everyone in this room wants to see Prop 8 defeated or repealed and gay activists shouldn’t become a circular firing squad.
They’re also live-blogging at Queerty and they seem more focused than I. It’s not that I’m tired, though I only got about 5 hours of sleep last night, it’s more than I don’t find many of the speakers very engaging.