Yesterday Equality california (EQ CA) announced that it would not try to overturn Proposition 8 at the ballot box. But surprisingly, the decision has almost nothing to do with the fact that Californians will most likely battle over the LGBT-inclusive FAIR Education Act next November nor the upcoming marriage battles brewing for Minnesota and North Carolina in 2012.
Though EQ CA Executive Director Roland Palencia says, “We share the pain, frustration and discrimination that California same-sex couples and their families experience every day because they are denied the freedom to marry,” they add, “Today, we are recommitting ourselves to doing the hard work of changing hearts and minds to be ready to change that reality should the courts fail to do their job.”
Palencia is referring to EQ CA’s newly unveiled program, “The Breakthrough Conversation” which will “include new, cutting-edge research, media tools and intensive trainings across the state to equip LGBT people and allies to talk to friends, neighbors and relatives and address concerns in a direct, honest and engaging ways.”
It seems odd that EQ CA waited so long to make this announcement, especially considering how much of their fundraising efforts since the 2008 elections has been focused on fighting against Prop 8. One also wonders where they will stand if anti-LGBT forces succeed at getting the FAIR Education Act on the November 2012 ballot—something we should know come next week.
While a year’s worth of conversations might help keep the FAIR Education Act from getting repealed in 2012, it’s doubtful whether any Californians persuaded by EQ CA’s “Breakthrough Conversation” will get to vote on Prop 8 at all, seeing as the law will likely be overturned by the court. Maybe they’re hoping they can persuade enough Californians to support a gender identity inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act? Or at least persuade them not to let Mormon financial influence sway their voting decisions on civil rights ever again. That’d be worth every cent.