Marriage Equality: In it for the long haul - and this time we're driving.
By Kelly Burke of Portland, Oregon. Kelly describes herself as a parent and "an accidental activist in marriage equality and health care issues."
Basic Rights Oregon will soon decide whether to pursue a 2012 ballot measure on marriage equality and I find myself torn. When it comes to issues of equality and injustice, I have always said to my children that you can never wait for a convenient time - we must keep fighting in every way we can. Nevertheless, I am reluctant to go into battle again. My family was on the front lines of the 2004 campaign in a very public way -- in countless media interviews and ads, as well as participating in the roller coaster of two lawsuits against the State for the right to marry. I well know the costs emotionally, personally and financially that this battle brings. The opposition is always ugly and ready to fight tooth and nail. And there's no guarantee of winning.
I remember, too well, the days after the 2004 election, standing in the grocery store looking at people with distrust and pain wondering which among them voted against me and my family. And I remember the hurtful words within our own community turning on each other, second guessing and blaming our leaders and organizations for the loss rather than the voters.
Despite the painful loss, we have continued to fight for our rights. Instead of being on the defensive, we've fought smarter by continually sharing the stories of our very real lives to educate those around us. We have become human to those who once demonized us.
I know that to win marriage equality in Oregon, the only avenue left to us is a ballot measure to take discrimination out of the state constitution. While deliberately placing my family’s dignity up for a public vote –again – is terrifying, I am willing to fight the hard fight. We can never fully walk away from these battles until they are won.
The question isn't "if" we do this - it's "when" we choose to do this. Once again, Oregon would be on uncharted ground in bringing in a progressive ballot measure. No state has ever overturned a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the right to marry. It’s a huge task. It takes more than will. It takes a lot of work and tons of money to put this issue in the public eye and change the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of Oregonians.
There’s one thing I know for certain: I don’t want to put myself and my family on the ballot until we are in the best possible position to win. The costs of losing are too great and incredibly personal.
I appreciate that Basic Rights Oregon is willing to take the lead and have this tough conversation on the timing of a ballot measure. I hope they will make this decision based on whether we can win in 2012 or whether we’d be better off continuing the education work and going for 2014.
But whether now or later, my goal is the same: to secure full equality. I deserve it, my children deserve it, our community deserves it. Regardless of when we bring it to ballot, we must remain focused on the goal and commit to support each other, our community, leadership and organizations.
We've always been in it for the long haul but now I have to remind myself - this time we're the ones driving.
Oct. 28, 2011
Posted in guest column.
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Oct 28, '11
I'm ready, right there with you on that long haul, to do what is right. Thanks so much!!!
Oct 28, '11
You aren't alone. Heck, some of us on 'the straight side' are with you.
Oct 28, '11
Well said, Kelly. Behind your family and overturning that ridiculous and harmful ban as soon as it can possibly be done.
Oct 30, '11
Well, stated. Go forward when you can win. The strategy of using the Multco commissioners and a Multco judge hurt the cause and brought about the ban on gay marriage. Move when you will win. Being right and being righteous is not a strategy.
Oct 31, '11
I have no argument to bring with your opinion; but the notion that the constitutional ban on equal marriage rights for same sex couples was the result of the actions of the county commissioners and subsequent judicial rulings is a myth. It seems quite plausible, but the facts don't support it. The anti-gay ballot measure had already been filed many months before this, and pre- and post-polling showed that it had little impact on the outcome.
Nov 3, '11
Sorry, but that's not true. Measure 36 was filed the same day that Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn announced the county would begin granting licenses for same-sex marriages, March 2, 2004.
Nov 6, '11
Quite right, Jim. Additionally, Oregon was part of a 13 state coordinated effort which had the helpful engineering assistance from the likes of Karl Rove. The anti-gay ballot measures across the country were specifically designed to turn out the conservative base who would also support the conservative President.
There was tremendous national coordination of the anti-gay measures, and while a few Oregon names were at the top of M.36 efforts, notable characters from the past Oregon-centric efforts (Lon Mabon et. al.) were well in the background in 2004. National money and influence was enormous, and completely different from the anti GLBT efforts of '92, '94 and even 2000.
The results of any single state's ballot measure can have huge impact for not only the cause at hand, but for the tenor of the nation in general. Every bit as much as we look to Ohio on Tuesday to see if voters will support workers, a state's pro GLBT effort will impact the nation. We look to these initiatives not only as bell weathers, but as catalysts for further progress.
That's why all the parts have to be in working order and fine-tuned before the engine is put into service. While victory can propel a movement beyond the borders of it's voting District; failure can be equally devastating and painfully stall progress.
Oct 31, '11
I understand your desire not to go to all the effort of putting marriage equality on the ballot until we are in the best position to win, and I understand your feelings about the costs of losing.
However, fighting the fight makes a difference even if we lose. If we fight now and lose, we are much, much better positioned for the next election. All the efforts we go to now will help move public opinion and get people more comfortable with our families. Losing doesn't mean our efforts were futile. I hope our community can get past this fear and all the rationalizations for sitting on our hands. Doing nothing, waiting for the right time offers no benefit IMHO.
Nov 6, '11
Michael, while my gut and over 20 years of GLBT activism is with you, there are 2 points you've made with which I disagree.
First, you've used the terminology "doing nothing". There are a wealth of GLBT organizations, BRO amongst them, that have been pushing the message of marriage equality on a daily basis since the last election. From advertising to phone banking to active engagement and networking with other progressive orgs., GLBT activists have not sat silently by and bemoaned our fate. Indeed, it is the activism between elections that often means more than the rush of a campaign season.
In being proactive, we get to choose the right time, assessing the real possibility of victory not on our gut feelings but from the very data accumulated during this non-electoral cycle. That data will objectively reveal whether the work immediately in front of us is electoral or whether more non-electoral public outreach is necessary.
Secondly, it is not necessarily the case that fighting an electoral battle now and losing will positively set us up for a win when we give it a second shot. Especially in initiative measures, second tries tend to be rejected, even if their language is altered. The "mellowed" version of M.9 of 1992 was even more soundly rejected as M.13 in 1994. Repeated attempts at codifying "Open" primaries have repeatedly failed.
Additionally, we would be going directly after m36, so essentially a failure could be considered a second failure. Fence-sitting voters, confronted with a 3rd marriage initiative in the future could well throw up their hands and reject our efforts out of sheer annoyance.
As much as we want it; as much as we know that the "arc of justice bends our way," we have to be sure to gently flex that arc and not break it in haste and impatience.
Oct 31, '11
The difference between presidential election years and off years is large. In presidential elections, more people vote and popular sentiment is most important. In off years, fewer people vote and energy and strength of conviction is more important.
My guess is we'd be better off in 2012 or 2016, but it would be harder to win in 2014. However, I'm just guessing and this is a empirical question that seems like well designed polls could determine. Do we have any solid information on this?
Oct 31, '11
Being a straight guy who has been with his wife for about 40 years, I don't have the street credentials to know much about this issue, but from the standpoint of pure political science, this seems like a really bad time to try to bring to the 2012 ballot an issue which will attract the social conservative voting block. Maybe wait until the anti-Obama tide has run its course?
In any event, good luck.
Oct 31, '11
Although I have my views on this, I’m not writing to advocate for my position. I just want to point out that many people assume--erroneously I believe--that “our” objective is to reverse the discriminatory language now in Oregon’s constitution. As self-evident as this may seem, especially to people with a keen interest in electoral outcomes, this is not universally so. Different people have different objectives.
Quite recently a man from the Q-Center spoke at a public forum about confronting bigotry. Some people said that conversations were pointless; the bigots will never change their minds. He said something to the effect of how his objective was not to change minds, even though that would be great if it happened. Instead, he said, his objective was to look squarely into the faces of the bigots and to tell them that he is not afraid; that he is not going away; and that he is going to keep pushing back, no matter how long it takes.
Moving ahead with a ballot measure now may not be the strategically best thing for achieving the obvious objective: winning the measure. I get it. It might, however, deeply accomplish other objectives that should not, in my opinion, be dismissed out of hand.
Oct 31, '11
Without having seen any polls in Oregon, the general shift in public opinion on marriage equality (about 1% per year, due mostly to generational shifts in the voting population) suggests that the 58-42 opposition to equality in 2004 should be about 50-50 in 2012. But if the shift was a little greater than 1% per year, equality should start out with a bit of a lead.
It seems to me that it's worth the fight. Win or lose, it'll likely be close. And the campaign that comes close but fails in 2012 will have a list of donors, volunteers, some successful persuasive ads, and a list of tens of thousands of voters to approach about signing a petition for a repeal measure that WILL win in 2016.
Plus, it sounds like Equality California isn't going to try to repeal Prop 8 in 2012. If no one else steps up, Oregon might be alone on this issue. The state that's trying to repeal one of these bigoted amendments could actually wind up as a national battleground, drawing money and even volunteer phone banking from proponents of equality in our neighbor to the south. (And yes, opponents from elsewhere will get into the act too ... but it's still worth the fight, IMO).
Also, on Greg's point:
this seems like a really bad time to try to bring to the 2012 ballot an issue which will attract the social conservative voting block. Maybe wait until the anti-Obama tide has run its course?
They're gonna be out in force anyway, but I expect a lot of them will be too focused on trying to defeat the evil Kenyan Muslim socialist to put time or money into trying to kill marriage equality in one state. I'd say "while the nutjobs are distracted by Obama" is probably the best time to do this, since Democrats and progressives will be doing their level best to turn out the vote anyway.
Nov 1, '11
I can't think of a better time than now.
Statewide we have no major Republican running for anything. Just the usual House and Oregon Senate and House stuff. Plus, have you taken a look at the GOP nominees for president? They all seem about as exciting as cold oatmeal. Not just for a bleeding heart like myself, but for the GOP itself. That is not a favorable field that we will find in 2014 or 2016.
But we need to take a look at what BRO has done to prepare the ground for this work. I will be attending their town hall meeting in Portland on Saturday Nov. 6th 5:30 at the QCenter and hope you will too. I have done some volunteering wit them and have seen their strategy and think it is a winning one. If you have not seen what they have been doing please come to the town hall.
Besides, I don't know if I can wait to get married much longer. I might explode.
Nov 1, '11
I'm a straight ally, and will stand with marriage equality whenever it goes to the ballot. Strategically though, it seems best to make sure there's a good chance of winning before moving forward. It's much harder to win a do-over, not to mention the considerable expense and emotional toll of volunteers and staff who work so hard on campaigns. As much as we want to lead with our hearts and just go for it, we should make sure we have a decent shot at winning, and then work our asses off to make it happen.
Nov 1, '11
I share many of the conflicted feelings about whether to place marriage equality on the ballot in 2012 that I've read in this stream. On the one hand, it feels like there is national momentum and the tide is changing in Oregon. On the other hand, this fight will be brutal (as I can attest after about 12 straight weeks of phone banks with Basic Rights Oregon, wherein one man even went so far as to insult my teenage daughter!)and the demands placed on our Oregon community, both LGBTQ and straight-ally, will be unprecedented in terms of financial contributions and time volunteered.
What I can say is that after volunteering many, many hours over several years with BRO, I will stand by whatever decision they make. BRO has spent our donations wisely, polling and focus-grouping, hiring experienced and creative campaign consultants and employees. More than anything, I know they have full access to information I do not - the latest polls, the comprehensive results of 4 weeks of persuation phone banks, and predictive expectations about whether our community can raise the astronomical amount of money needed and volunteers who are willing to step up and go to bat over and over again. We cannot overestimate the toll this is going to take on our community. Is it worth it to win? Of course. Will the money and people show up this year - I don't know.
Folks are right when they say there's no "right" time or "perfect" time to go to ballot and, if that's what we're waiting for, we'll never accomplish our goal. But although there may never be the right time to go, there is definitely the wrong time to go. I'm a volunteer coordinator and I've heard several people say "Let's go this year and every year 'til we win. It can only help us." I believe this approach misses the point. Our community doesn't have millions to lose election after election. Our volunteers won't keep coming back year after year, loss after loss. The point is to use our shared resources responsibily and wisely and this to me means going to ballot only when we believe we have a reasonable chance to win.
Don't forget that if BRO decides to wait until another election cycle, the work isn't done. We'll continue our campaign to move people and change hearts and minds. You can still move the cause by donating and volunteering. I've spoken to many folks who want to go in 2012 but say they only volunteer to phone bank or canvas during elections. Really want to make a difference? Volunteer or donate today, whether we go to election or not. Continue the work and marriage equality will happen. And we'll have BRO to thank for it.
Nov 2, '11
It would be extraordinary to watch the election night counts in 2012 and see big check mark next to a successful campaign towards marriage equality. The anticipation, the excitement, and the joyous celebrations caused by that would be unforgettable and extremely incredible. The countless hours worked and financial contributions given would have been put to good use. It would be extremely exhilarating.
But we need to be realistic and pragmatic in our approach to winning the Freedom to Marry in Oregon. A victory now would be wonderful, but a defeat could be catastrophic. A defeat can give ammunition to opposition in the future, indicating that voters have said no twice on this issue. A defeat lowers the morale of the donors and volunteers who are critical in winning this type of campaign - be it now, or years down the road.
This year, the socially conservative are more likely to turn out than ever before in order to defeat a Democratic incumbent. These conservative voters are much more engaged politically right now than their liberal counterparts. Those who are registered Ds are not paying attention to a Presidential Primary in the same way their R counterparts are - we already know who's running on our ticket - time has shown that it is much more difficult to turn out the voters of the incumbent's registered party in his/her re-election year.
To me, it is clear that more solid numbers and information are needed prior to making this heavy decision. I encourage attendance at Basic Rights Oregon's upcoming town halls (http://www.basicrights.org/featured/basic-rights-to-hold-town-halls-on-path-to-marriage-equality/) to see exactly where we are at. It's easy as an individual to say "yes, let's do it!" but how many of us are aware of the immense undertaking this actually is? How many of us are willing to put not only our money but our time towards working on this issue and campaign?
I have personally spent many hours volunteering with BRO this year and in years past - and will continue to do so. If BRO decides to not move forward, then I will still volunteer doing the necessary educational work. If they decide to move forward, I will commit much of my free time towards working toward this. I will continue to work to be a part of this organization for a long time, but even I do not know how I would handle going to the ballot, spending the time on the work, and ultimately losing come November 2012.
Nov 2, '11
I trust Basic Rights Oregon, and the decision that they make. Their resources are definitely finite and they have to make a painstaking deicison here. I think that running with our emotions and hearts rather than taking a step back to totally assess the situation is the wrong approach and I think Basic Rights Oregon is smart in taking some time to truly assess what is going on politically in this State, and the nation (which believe me, does impact our local polls). They are also taking the time to do these town halls - and some of us can bring a fresh perspective and light that is often needed in this type of campaign, opinions and input from those who don't eat, sleep and breathe marriage equality give this type of work the reality check that is needed in order to be successful.
Finally, in order to win, we all need to check ourselves. We need to sit down and assess how prepared we are for the fight that lies ahead. It's not going to be an easy one and the only way we can win is if we are truly committed to spending the manhours necessary to motivate our supporters to turn out and change the hearts and minds of their conservative counterparts. Let's bear in mind - this is no longer a question of "if," it's a question of "when" - and while like the rest of you, I don't want to wait any longer, I'd rather wait 2 - 4 more years to attain a victory. A defeat now would mean waiting a minimum of 4 more years, likely 8 as is the case with the last defeat. A defeat now also means a much harder uphill battle the next time, and I do not want to wait that long just for a tougher fight.
I believe in BRO, our community and the ability to win this fight - but sometimes the fight's climax isn't right in front of us - this fight's climactic moment may not be today nor the 2012 election - but I believe in our ability to be intelligent, brave and make the right move when that time does come.
Nov 3, '11
Nov 2, '11
To those suggesting that a defeat in 2012 would set back the movement for equality -- please explain why you think so.
Keep in mind that the result will be either a narrow win or a narrow loss.
In my mind, a narrow loss would be unfortunate but would leave the movement in a better position than we are in now. It will show the public opinion is evolving in the right direction.
Nov 3, '11
As a PFLAG leader in a rural area of the Oregon Coast, I'm very aware of the danger to the LGBT community whenever an equal rights issue is on the ballot. A defeat in 2012 would be devastating because it would assure isolated people that they have no support or safety--and that their neighbors have said NO again. I urge you to watch the documentary on Ballot Measure 9 to see what it's like when small minds set out to attack anyone suspected of being LGBT.
This time opponents will have LOTS of outside money to "defend" traditional marriage. A defeat in 2012 would be far worse than sitting this one out while we continue to educate, organize and change hearts and minds. The cost would be huge to the mental and emotional well-being of the LGBT community, especially in rural areas. The financial cost would be enormous and very hard to raise for repeated campaigns.
I have worked with BRO enough to know that they are committed to WINNING marriage equality, not just fighting for it. I REALLY want to get married--we've been waiting 30 years--but I want to win the election, not just come close. I'll trust the judgment of the BRO board to know when the time is right because I've seen their thorough process and community work.
Nov 3, '11
Thanks for trying to explain fears about the consequences of losing in 2012: Having a ballot measure will spur debate, and our opponents might say mean things and hurt our feelings.
You're right, the debate may produce some hurt feelings. But it will also educate people and change hearts and minds, making things better for gays (both rural and urban) in the long run, win or lose. Efforts to "educate, organize, and change hearts and minds" will get far less traction without a ballot measure.
Re outside money, what makes you think opponents will have more money this year than some other year?
Re hard to raise money repeatedly, I just disagree. Candidates raise money for re-election year after year just fine. Raising money for this now won't reduce future donations.
It seems like we are letting fear of our opponents dictate our strategy. We are afraid of rocking the boat. Where is this coming from? If leaders of past civil rights movements fell prey to these kinds of fears, where would we be?
Nov 3, '11
I too respect where you are coming from. But as someone who grew up in an anti-gay rural area, has watched Ballot Measure 9 (aka "scary movie"), and who has worked on political and awareness campaigns in red states and rural areas, I am firmly on the side of going forward already.
Think of increased voter turnout in a presidential election year. And of how much gay youth and straight allies have "come out" in rural areas compared to several years ago when it was still taboo to support gays in rural America and when there weren't all these gay couples on television. Won't rural oregonians be heartened by how much more support they have in their communities now, and won't that increased support freak out the old codgers who always said that everyone with "common sense" in their "real American" communities would never support such a thing? Wouldn't that be an enthusiasm-generating springboard even if we don't win?
BRO is a great organization that has and continues to do great things. But that doesn't make them immune to some of the pitfalls of otherwise progressive and sensible Oregon culture. I.e. being so involved in talking about the process and endlessly having a process, and getting absolutely everyone on board with everything before making a move, that they miss a boat they could have caught.
Again, my disclaimer is that I do live in the pdx area and don't know exactly what rural OR is like right now, but I am definitely not someone who has spent life in a comfortable urban bubble, and yet I see all the advantages of going forward now.
Nov 4, '11
Thanks everyone for continuing the conversation on this issue. I think it's an important conversation for our community to have.
Re: fear of our opponents may say mean things or hurt our feelings... It's not feelings I'm concerned about. These ballot measures bring out the nuts and real violence happens to our community. That's a reality for which we have to prepare and a real consideration in this issue. It's not like repeatedly going through a tax bond issue.
Also I have found that educating and changing hearts and minds doesn't happen during the political battle. People and communities become quickly entrenched and divided the moment a vote is looming. This is where I feel we have been well guided by BRO these past few years. They have lead this effort day in and day out since 2004, knowing that gradually moving people to our side will eventually provide a true win for equality. It will be the key component to winning the issue. We have to successfully have moved people to our side of the issue BEFORE the battle, and then also get them out to vote. It's so close right now it's hard to say if these elements will come together in the next year.
One of the exciting things about this conversation is that for the first time, we are able to be proactive and decide the timing and strategies for bringing about equality. This is precisely what leaders from other civil rights movements have done. We are not reacting to being attacked like in all the previous battles. I am glad to see us being pragmatic in our approach and figuring out how to use our resources of time, money, leadership and energy wisely.
Nov 4, '11
This is still basing our strategy on fear of our opponents - fear they will get violent.
Your arguments could easily have been used to persuade Harvey Milk not to run for office. Every civil rights victory in history could have been scuttled by this kind of fear.
Your assertion that elections are not opportunities to further a debate is just not persuasive.
The way you put it, we have to be sure we're prepared (i.e. sure we'll win) before pushing a ballot measure. But marriage is not the ultimate goal, it's just a waypost on the way to full equality. Having ballot measures is part of the work we have to do to get to full equality.
It is heartbreaking to see so many people being so paralyzed by fear. Pragmatism and spending resources carefully is important, but all I see is fear and cautiousness run amok.
Nov 6, '11
I responded to you way above in disagreement with with 2 points you made in your initial post. To briefly summarize, historically re-dos on Initiatives are not successful - and losing in 2012 and going for again in 14, 16 or 18, could be considered a three-peat. Your second point was that broadly speaking, the GLBT community shouldn't sit and "do nothing". I pointed out that and incredible amount of outreach and citizen contact has been done on a daily basis, and much - if not most - progress made in the effort toward civil justice is made between election cycles, and not in the heat of the fray.
No one is basing strategies or making decisions as a result of fear. Acknowledging that there are bigots, and recognizing that some are prone to violence is simply a reality we must face - and it's not wrong to discuss it. It would be irresponsible not to prepare for it.
Yet the decision to go or no-go in 2012 cannot be based on either the gut level response of either impatience or being called out as "chickens" The more our emotions guide our decisions, the more likely we will be to make the wrong ones.
Especially now, the calculations of political science are particularly important, and the objective evaluation of where we stand now, in terms of polling, local financial support, national financial support, are critical measurable pieces that can tell our grey matter exactly where we stand.
If the numbers bear it out, we should go for it, but if they do not, relying on our gut is a recipe for not just potential failure in one initiative, but a blow that could set us back as much as a decade.
Nov 7, '11
Carla, there is data supporting the notion that redo elections often aren’t successful, so that is a reasonable point, but it misses the bigger picture. High profile, controversial issues like this one have a long history in Oregon of being fought and refought both through ballot measures and in the legislature over a period of years or decades until the losing side accepts defeat (see the bottle bill, the beach bill, property tax limitations, land use, etc. etc.).
In 2012, it will have been EIGHT YEARS AGO that Measure 36 passed 56% to 44%.
To your point that sitting out the election isn’t the same as doing nothing, I recognize the movement will keep working. But anyone who tries to say we will do the same amount of outreach, and work just as hard whether or not there is a ballot measure is either incredibly naïve or making things up.
I recognize that progress can be made between elections. From whence comes your and others’ belief that progress is not made “in the heat of the fray”? My experience and common sense would suggest that elections focus attention on an issue, dramatically raise awareness, spur debate, and move the conversation forward.
I agree this decision should be made based on reason and not emotion. That is why I’m so disturbed by all the fear-based comments on this board. It is also why I continue to assert that the specter of the violent reactions from our opponents has no place in our strategic political deliberations.
I also agree that “the calculations of political science” are what should be the basis of this decision. If anyone is privy to any information that would suggest we are not now in a terrific position to run a competitive election in 2012, I would love to hear it. That information certainly has not yet been shared.
On your final comment about the potential of being set back “a decade” because we participated in the 2012 election, let’s all take a moment to appreciate how the crippling fear of decades of setbacks has weighed on Bill Sizemore as he has pressed for his measures in election after election. Somehow he has soldiered on, and I think it may be because the setback you fear is in fact imaginary.
If a decade-long setback was even a remotely possible consequence of a 2012 ballot measure, it would be a huge concern. I assume it is based on the idea mentioned above about repeat ballot measures being often unsuccessful. As I said I believe you are misreading history on this point. Even if there is some validity you are clearly exaggerating.
I hope our leaders are listening to seasoned political experts and looking at the numbers. But unless there are new, secret numbers far different from what we have seen recently, is hard to understand how any well-informed strategist could advise not going forward now.
I certainly hope our leaders’ discussions about this are much better informed than the one taking place here.
Nov 7, '11
Michael, we've spent the last several days traveling around the state for Town Hall meetings and community conversations to talk all this through with the community. I get the impression from you comments that you haven't been able to join us for these events. If you can break away from your busy workday, feel free to give me a call at the Basic Rights Oregon office and I can walk you through the assessment we have shared with community members.
Thomas Wheatley Organizing Director Basic Rights Oregon
Nov 8, '11
While Sizemore (& his associates) motor on, he is actually a good example to examine in terms of the redo. His efforts are generally unsuccessful, but especially so when he undertakes a rehash. Sizemore has made a living from perpetual initiative. Win or lose, he's cashed in and is ready to instigate the next initiative.... er, or have friends do so...
Supporters of his campaigns believe in particular policies, but their investment emotionally cannot come close to what it takes for GLBT activists to not only put their political intellect and commitment on the line, but the very core of their lives, as well.
The issue is emotional and emotionally draining, which exemplifies the critical need to really step back and use objective analysis to determine the path forward.
Nov 8, '11
Oh, and I didn't say no progress is made in the heat of the fray, simply that "much or most" is made off-cycle. In the election cycle, folks will take sides, besieged by focused messaging from both camps. Yes, some will take the time to do some investigation & soul searching during an election, but the but fairly dramatic analysis indicates steady progress moving our way from year to year w/o GLBT measures appearing on the ballot. The progress is accelerated when there are active public outreach & education campaigns occurring.
The good news is we've come a heck of a long way in 7 years, and the trend will continue. The tough news is we the numbers are dead even between those who support and those who oppose marriage equity, and at this point there is no way of determining how many of those in the undecided area will move our way.
Nov 8, '11
Please do take Thomas up on his offer, and you will see that a huge amount of work and effort that has gone it to evaluating everything that will factor into a potential 2012 run.
Nov 9, '11
I went to a townhall. BRO did its homework. 2012 is a big challenge.
Where they went wrong is in predicting the consequences of a narrow loss.
On the one hand, you and BRO say this is a ballot measure like any other, and like recent rehashes prone to fail. I say this is a major high profile civil rights issue, like women's sufferage, which I believe was on the ballot six times before it passed. The notion that voters will tire of seeing the issue on the ballot is wrong. Look at major civil rights issues in past elections and you will see this.
On the other hand, you say this issue is different than any other ballot measure because of the emotional cost of losing. I say people who can't stomach losing an election should give up on ever achieving any political goals. Politics is hard work and it isn't comfortable and it isn't easy and hurt feelings come with the territory. That's reality. It was very sad to see our leaders pushing us all to take the easy way out so we can all be more comfortable and keep our feelings from being hurt. That is an irresponsible and destructive message, regardless of what you're advocating.
BRO tried and worked hard to make the right choice, but unfortunately for all of us they have set back our movement, perhaps a great deal. Their justifications of this decision encourage apathy, laziness, and expectations that our rights should be handed to us on a silver platter.
Passing on this election also robs today's gay young people of the experience of working an election, so we lose all of that people power that would have paid dividends far into the future. If we do go forward in 2014, it will have been 10 years since we have run a campaign. We will have a movement full of people with no experience doing the hard work elections require. People who have been led to expect politics to be comfortable and easy. And if we succeed, they can all go back to their normal lives and forget about fighting the rest of the battles for equal rights.
It's a sad day. Good, smart people made a tremendous mistake despite their sincere efforts to do the right thing.
Nov 15, '11
Merits of the decision aside, having Obama at the top of the ticket and his potential unwillingness to endorse the measure while also bringing out his supporters means even more voter outreach to do and potentially having to do voter info campaigns encouraging a vote for him, but then a vote against his "evolving" (but not fully evolved) stance on marriage equality. While I've been known to loathe when he takes a pragmatic position I think BRO is probably right in waiting this one out. In the meantime BRO can work on other goals related to the cause and maintain visibility to continue to support the community.