For once, I agree with the leaders of “Equality California.” In an e-mail today its Executive Director, Geoff Kors, after conducting outreach among various communities and listening to their members and supporters, wrote in an e-mail to its listserv that his group has decided to push off a ballot initiative to repeal Prop 8 until 2012.
After reviewing all the information, research and feedback from our coalition partners and the community-at-large and in view of our aggressive determination and dedication to win marriage back as soon as possible, we support committing our energy, resources and leadership to helping the community win a ballot initiative to restore marriage at the November 2012 election.
I think they’re very smart to wait for many of the reasons Kors outlines in his e-mail, including the time needed to organize, the expected demographics of the 2010 turnout.
Still, the one thing he doesn’t address (because if it did, it would require him to resign) is the needed leadership change of the various California groups which worked last fall to defeat Proposition 8 and would likely be spearheading the efforts to pass an initiative designed to repeal that Proposition.
While they’ve “met with the leadership of LGBT organizations that work in communities of color to find out what they think it will take to carry out a strategic effort to move voters in their communities,” there is no evidence from Kors’s letter (or my own research and observation) to indicate that hs group-or any other working to repeal Prop 8-has reached out to Republicans. Indeed, when I called Vaishalee Raja, their Communications Director, she did not know what percentage of the newly-hired “18 field organizers that reflect the diversity of California” included any Republicans.
Given that 34.3% of Golden State voters are registered Republicans, 18 field organizers reflecting the diversity of the state would include six Republicans.
Raja did, however, promise to look into that matter. And when she gets back to me, I will either update this post –or add a new one as the information requires.
If the folks at Equality California really want to repeal Proposition 8, then they need reach out to Republicans as well as people of color. And to rid their ranks of those who harbor deep prejudices against the party of Ronald Reagan, the man whom the author of the Briggs’ Initiative credited for its defeat. In other words, they need deliver walking papers to the man who signed the letter I quoted above.
They need enlist leadership who would not be averse to cutting commercials with leading conservatives, like say, Ward Connerly, making the case for gay marriage.
Equality California is smart to wait on this one. They’s that in the additional time they take to organize their efforts, they should reach out Republicans, alter their rhetoric and fire their prejudiced leaders.