After spending millions of dollars on the No On 8 campaign, in 2008 gay marriage advocates came up short in California. But then out came a study concluding no amount of money actually can sway voters on this issue, because their minds are already made up. Does it make a difference the study was funded by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, which also funds Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who many folks blame for failed efforts against Prop 8?
EQCA’s Geoff Kors and NCLR’s Kate Kendell might’ve been wise to note the potential conflict of interest as they told supporters about the study’s findings. But if the goal of the research was to vindicate their groups’ failed 2008 efforts, and their decision not to push for a 2010 repeal, it actually raises more questions than answers.
Like how they are gearing up for a ballot battle in 2012, which will need tens of millions of dollars to have any chance of working — but that even if EQCA & Co. can’t repeal Prop 8 in 2012, they’re not to blame, because the study says money can’t change minds. (But maybe blogger stains can?)
As Patrick Range McDonald notes in a blistering commentary:
Reading between the lines, Kors seems to have other things on his mind than simply what’s best for the gay community. Armed with his study, Kors appears to be not only trying to set the agenda for the gay rights movement in California, but he’s sending a message to other gay rights groups — a pro-gay marriage ballot measure in 2012 is no sure thing.
As for his political analysis, convincing and moving voters has always been tough. How’s that news? It’s why campaigns are run by highly-skilled, battle-tested professionals — and not executive directors of gay rights groups who ran “No on 8” by committee — who spend tons of time organizing, plotting, polling, etc.
“No on 8” leader Geoff Kors, however, decided to take a vacation during the summer of 2008, just a few months before Proposition 8 was passed in November.
Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, came up with this chestnut about the study’s findings: “Clearly, the time to changes hearts, minds and votes to support equality is before a campaign starts.” That’s common knowledge, no?
Well at least funding the study did conclude one thing: We’re no further in organizing, mobilizing, and changing minds than we were in 2008. Success?