Are There Any California Activists Who Know How to Play Well With Others?


Have California’s activists finally decided on whether to push forward with a 2010 repeal of Prop 8? Or wait till 2012? Answering that question can be a fun game of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

Equality Network’s co-founder David Comfort email blasted his network over the weekend following Saturday’s not-so-civil leadership summit in San Bernardino, the second one since Fresno’s post-Meet In The Middle rally. Comfort acknowledges: “Unfortunately, the LGBTQ community was unable or unwilling to come to an agreement on which way to proceed with a date for a ballot initiative to overturn Prop 8 at the Leadership Summit. The grassroots, myself included, should have shown more leadership in how we approached it and the decision to return to the ballot box. I am in this to build a grassroots movement, of which the campaign is a part. We were ass backwards. We should have been meeting about how to build a grassroots LGBTQ movement, and not pitting ourselves against one another in a fight to decide on when to return to the ballot.” All this standing around, argues Comfort, is only harming the cause. Which mean he is going ahead with a 2010 effort.

Not so fast, say other gays.

Federal challenges aside, there’s a large contingent of prominent activists who want to wait until 2012. The reasons are, mainly, twofold: 1) With the White House back up for grabs in 2012, that election will bring more (gay favorable) voters to the polls; and, 2) Big-moneyed donors don’t want to waste their cash on an iffy shot at a 2010 repeal, and would rather save their pennies for a single, more organized push in 2012.

That’s a line of thinking shot down by folks like David Mixner, but it’s not necessarily the outspoken do-gooders who will call all the shots — but the equality supporters with deep pockets. Even Equality California, which many blame heavily for the first Prop 8 disaster, understands the financial constraints of a 2010 repeal effort.

David Bohnett — the monied philanthropist who earned tidy sums from GeoCities, NetZero, and — is among the hesitant. He tells the NYT: “In conversations with a number of my fellow major No on 8 donors I find that they share my sentiment: namely, that we will step up to the plate — with resources and talent — when the time is right. … The only thing worse than losing in 2008 would be to lose again in 2010.”

That advice matches up with a number of political consultants Equality California’s Marc Solomon — the Massachusetts marriage equality import — says he spoke with.

Of course, a Prop 8 repeal campaign needn’t rely only on a small pool of wealthy donors. Collecting small sums from the hundreds of thousands of folks who receive email blasts from any number of California’s marriage organizations isn’t just a worthwhile course of action, but a necessary one. And even if a 2010 repeal fails, it’s less likely someone who donated $10 this time around will be so turned off they won’t find another $10 in 2012. Someone who throws $1 million at a 2010 push, however, might not be feeling so generous next time around.

And then there’s this argument: Get it done at whatever cost. At what price is equality? While the 2010 vote is just 16 months away, requires 700,000 signatures, and needs untold tens of millions of dollars to have a chance at being effective, there’s still the gubernatorial race (featuring gay friendly candidates like San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Jerry Brown) to bring out the homo-loving crowd. And waiting until 2012 means just that: Two more years necessary to kill voter-approved inequality.


So how do things stand now? In pure chaos.

Even the blog Unite The Fight, which championed the first summit in Fresno, described Saturday’s gathering this way: “Whatever you believe the reason to be, the Leadership Summit on Sunday was an utter failure. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

Here’s their 5-point description on why things went terribly awry:

1. Hard working organizers struggled long and hard to have a successful summit and took lots of consideration into putting together an agenda.
2. Attendees showed up, decided to more or less ignore the agenda (which wasn’t, sadly, sent out in advance so attendees weren’t prepared), crucified “the experts” and ran an ad hoc meeting.
3. People hissed and booed those they didn’t agree with, spoke over each other, shouted out cuss words, and debated every single tentative, progressive step forward. Yet at the same time, many attendees demanded a final decision be made on when to return to the ballot without agreeing on a process or getting the rest of the community’s input.
4. Ended with nothing accomplished. No next steps, no decision on when to return to the ballot, no agreed upon process to decide when to return to the ballot, no agreed upon deadline for a decision on when to return to the ballot. (The Coalition of the Willing was not agreed upon.)
5. Oh, and a last minute straw poll about 2010 vs. 2012 while people were filing out to leave, which was a last ditch effort to feel that something was accomplished but means absolutely nothing other than highlights the dire straits we find ourselves in.

The serial in-fighting between groups like Equality Calfornia, the Courage Campaign, and Love Honor Cherish probably isn’t helping things. Which begs the question: Will it actually take until 2012 for everyone to learn to play nice? Because Maggie Gallagher is laughing at you.

(Watch Saturday’s summit in its entirety on the next page.)

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  • Cam

    So let me get this straight. First CA. Activists blammed their loss on Prop 8 to the fact that so many more African American’s came to the polls to vote for Obama that these anti gay extra voters hurt…yet now one of their excuses for WAITING until 2012 to reintroduce efforts to fight Prop 8 isss “”With the White House back up for grabs in 2012, that election will bring more (gay favorable) voters to the polls.””

    So which is it? Either Obama is bringing more voters to the polls that are bad for us, or good for us. If they can’t even figure THAT out then who the hell are these people and why are they incharge of ANYTHING?! They shouldn’t be organizing a Drag Show much less a fight for our rights.

  • SM

    Let me get this straight you all bash Obama and the Democrats constantly for not putting your entire LGBT agenda first, having a strategy to win and laying the groundwork for the big fights like DOMA and DADT but your OWN organizations want to SKIP an election cycle and chance to defeat Prop 8 and wait until 2012.

    One day you all will learn what has cost you Equality for so long.

  • Cam

    @SM: you said “Let me get this straight you all bash Obama and the Democrats constantly for not putting your entire LGBT agenda first, having a strategy to win and laying the groundwork for the big fights like DOMA and DADT but your OWN organizations want to SKIP an election cycle and chance to defeat Prop 8 and wait until 2012.

    One day you all will learn what has cost you Equality for so long.

    Sorry sweetie, but we wouldn’t HAVE to be worrying about this if people in govt. Once again you claim to support gays, but you continually try to say that gays are responsible for the their own prediciment in not having rights. So then I suppose that women are responsible for not being paid as much or for the high incidence of rape? Are senior citizens responsible for causing the high rate of prescription drug costs? Once again, our organizations can do their jobs better but I find your “Blame the victim for their own discrimination” to be hilarious and disturbing. If you think that the disorganization of of groups like HRF and CA EQ is what is causing some hillbilly senator to want to vote against our rights, then you seriously have some major gay-hate issues still to deal with.

  • SM


    People skipping election cycles and having only 15 people show up at rallies in OC don’t look serious about fighting for their civil rights. Who the hell skips an election cycle for a CHANCE at sometthing they scream they want so much?

    I didn’t vote for Bush. Go Bitch at someone else.

  • SM

    If your Equality Organizations put a prop 8 repeal on the ballet in 2010 you may still have to go back to the polls in 2012.

    You are still a winner.

    The upcoming elections for Governor will get a lot of newstime and a Prop 8 Repeal would keep your issues in the news.

    The more your issues are in the news, the more people see them at the polls, the easier it gets to defeat if it goes to 2012.

    Keeping Prop 8 or any LGBT issue in the news makes sure Congress and Obama see this is important to the American public.

    Obama left his family and campaigned for 2 years to be President on the road. He just might be impressed if he saw California fighting back against Prop 8 as soon as it could. Its got to be a news story. If you blow it off…so will they.

  • Cam

    @SM: You said “@Cam:

    People skipping election cycles and having only 15 people show up at rallies in OC don’t look serious about fighting for their civil rights. Who the hell skips an election cycle for a CHANCE at sometthing they scream they want so much? ”

    Um…yyeeeeaaaaahhhh, and that would be why we’re bitching about these organizations now wouldn’t it?

  • SM


    I hope you all are furious at these organizations. The Governors race in California will get a lot of newstime.

    You all don’t understand that the Democrats have a majority because we have only recently won over Conservative Districts and it takes help to influence these people.

  • homofied

    Dear Equality California — you know the company you have hired as a 3rd party fund raiser to station people in the Castro every 50 feet to yell at passersby about Prop. 8 every time they try to walk anywhere?

    Would you please tell them to stop?

    90% of the people who frequent the Castro are locals, of those, nearly 100% support the fight against prop 8, and its really really obnoxious to be hounded over and over for months on end by 3rd party fundraising companies such as:


  • AlwaysGay

    Are gay people in California registering to vote? If you are not registered to vote, do it NOW! Same thing for gay people in Maine and Washington. Register NOW! Vote on election day.

  • SM


    Good for you…

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
    committed citizens can change the world.
    Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
    –Margaret Mead

  • Cam

    @SM: You said “@Cam:

    I hope you all are furious at these organizations. The Governors race in California will get a lot of newstime.”

    And while I agree with you on that…why is it that it is ok for us to get angry at these organizations but you come unglued if any gay people get annoyed at Obama completely going silent on his campaign promises?

  • mike

    No doubt Robin Mcgehee, Cleve and courage campaign and the others will continue the “we go in 2010 with or without you!” Same way they did with the national equality march.

    Watch out, they’ll be marching right over you next!

  • TANK


    Do you draw smiley faces, hearts and animals on the letters you write?

  • TANK

    Do you scent those letters, too? With gingersnap spray?

  • SM


    FUCK OFF….You are nothing but a hate filled low class bigot that hides behind a computer screen trying to validate their pathetic life.

    My friends have been asked to testify before Congress on LGBT issues and have conversations with people like Eric Holder.

    Let me know when your low class tactics get you an invite before Congress or the White House.

  • TANK


    No, captain k’nuckles, you fuck off!

  • Jeffrey Taylor

    I watched the entire live stream as it happened, and I really want to thank the organizers for their commitment to transparency and accountability by letting this happen. The more sunshine we have on the inner working of our GLBT leaders, the more effective we will demand they be.

    Nevertheless, the meeting was indeed a hot mess. There’s a lot of blame going around for last year that the crowd at this summit has not gotten over, and until we get a true commitment from everyone to get together and “complete” all the crap that happened last year, we’re going to get a lot of meetings like this and an injured CA LGBT movement. It’s amazing to me that all these “bright lights” of our community don’t get that we’re doing the equivalent of playing with a team that has multiple injuries. It’s high time they all got together and talked about what worked and what didn’t work and LET IT GO. We have a future to make here.

  • TANK

    I’ll let you know, abscess.

  • youcanthandlethetruth

    @SM: Yeah that’s just what we need right now – Congress and the AG wasting time listening to a bunch of homosexuals and transexuals whining about how bad they have it.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Cam: wonders if “Obama is bringing more voters to the polls that are bad for us, or good for us.”

    The record is clear about why and how we got hammered in California.

    The first was that EQCA and No on 8, both run by Democrats, took an Eurocentric approach to the majority of voters in California, who are Latino, Asian, Black and Pacific Islander. No on 8, fearful of offending christian bigots, ignored those communities, abandoning the field to the christer bigots.

    The second item that brought on defeat was Barak Obama. He publically validated bigotry. Speaking against same sex marriage at Warren’s southern baptist bigot fest Obama told the clapping, smirking, pale faced christer bigots that voting for bigotry was OK because the thunder god was a bigot too. He galvanized and organized the Euroamerican christian vote who voted their bigotry in droves after hearing him say “gawd’s in the mix”.

    The Democrats in No on 8 and EQCA did nothing to counter Obama’s disgusting display of bigotry and sat like deer in the lights of the Obus as our polling numbers went south.

    Given the combination of the gross incompetence of the Democrats in ECQA and No on 8 and the scale of our betrayal by Obama the bitterness and demoralization among California activists is predictable and healthy.

    The cure is the creation of a democratically run mass action campaign for SSM, ENDA, the repeal of Clintons DOMA and DADT, hate crimes – all of our agenda. To be successful these campaigns need to be free of control by the Democrats or their front groups with an elected leadership and a program and strategy based on the ideas and votes of activists instead of the contributions of the rich.

    Democrats and the rich are welcome to support us but not to lead us. They have a different agenda.

    PS – SM is the mechanic on the Obus. He’s the one who makes sure the brakes don’t work so that Obama has ‘deniability’.

  • Trooper

    We’ve already decided to go forward.

    The 2010 train has left the station and the campaign organizing has begun. It’s now up to the larger orgs to decide whether they choose to jump on board, or be left behind. We welcome them, but are prepared to forge ahead without them.

    I’ll not wait for another election cycle….where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  • WillBFair

    I can’t see wasting more resources on gay marraige. The issue is tired. I want to focus on enda, and beefed up police protection, and national health care.

  • SM

    @Bill Perdue:

    You are a gay bigot who can’t channel you anger in the right direction for a win. Sucks to be you.

  • TANK


    Shut your face in a door, you homophobic bigot. You get your talking points from rick warren, and yet dare claim to be an ally? IT’s disgusting. DISGUSTING!

  • TANK

    Oh, by the way, I’m not sticking up for bill perdue, who’s crackers.

  • TANK


    Yes, but you know people who’ve testified in front of congress, right? Shook a hand? That’s just great. Now if only you understood what gay rights was about and how to go about achieving them, you’d be all set, hornswoggle. but you’re more concerned with managing the message and defending obama…for some misguided, strange reason than with lgbt equality.

  • SM


    Find someone else to harass. Even you admit you get banned from other blogs. seek help for your lies and anger.

    You all are idiots when it comes to Obama….just look at the Healhcare debate and how the Congress is selling him out to lobbyists.

  • Bill Perdue

    @TANK: I wouldn’t be caught wanting an anti-Palestinian, pro-war Democrat like tankie who voted for the Obus ‘sticking up for” me.

    Can you imagine how confusing and embarassing that would be.

  • TANK

    @Bill Perdue:

    Nor would I a raging antisemite, old school communist/anarchist like you.

  • Bill Perdue

    @TANK: Tankie avidly supports the murder of Palestinian children in terror bombings by the zioniss military in attacks like this: Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, is the highly respected author of five books on the war between zionists and Palestinians. His books have been translated into over 40 foreign editions. Tankie no doubt thinks he’s an anti-Semite.

    Tankie admits that the zionists practice South African style apartheid against Palestinians but he thinks that’s ok. Others, including pro-GLBT Archbishop Desmond Tutu disagree, condemning apartheid, as any decent and sane person would do. Tankie no doubt thinks that Tutu is an anti-Semite when Tutu claims that:

    The archbishop attacked the political power of Jewish groups in the United States, saying: “People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful – very powerful. Well, so what?

    “The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust… Archbishop Tutu said his criticism of the Israeli Government did not mean he was anti-Semitic.

    Tankies endorsement of apartheid and the murder of children is sick. Opposition to apartheid and ethnic cleansing by zionists is not anti-Semitism. In fact the same ultraright racist thinking culminates in both anti-Semitism and islamophobia. In Europe islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism of the ultra right neo-Nazis. Those sentiments are spreading here propelled by rightwing supporters of the oil war in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and soon, Iran.

    I’m neither a Stalinist or an anarchist. Just a life long trade unionist, socialist, antiwar acticivist , GLBT liberationist and a revolutionist. If Tankie had any smarts he’d have been able to figure that out himself.

  • Allan

    Pushing the blame to others only hurts our cause. We have to focus on positive ways for people to see us as a benefit to society.

    I’ve come across this letter from the Empowering Spirits Foundation to the Mormon church. I think the tone is exactly how we should be proceeding as a movement. I must admit that A. Latham Staples is very eloquent in his attempt to engage in conversation with LDS officials.

  • hyhybt

    Put it on *every chance you get* until it passes. Campaigns are expensive, but remember, the other side has to pay for one too and if you *don’t* put it on the ballot you’re sure not to win.

  • SM


    Since Prop 8 got so much National Attention, you might just be able to get a lot of new donors to help you out all over the US. People that would normally be donating to a Presidential race.

    If Utah can come in with money out of state. Let the entire US help CA win marriage back.

  • rudy

    Must they schedule this on an election year and hand the Repugs a scapegoat again?

  • Daniel

    The answer is simple. Don’t make the 2010 initiative about Prop 8 repeal. Instead, make it a new amendment that says “Equal Protection under Law is the heart of democracy. No law or other amendment shall have any force if it violates Equal Protection under Law.”

    That way you can save Prop 8 repeal for 2012 while still having an opportunity to instill a stronger protection of individual liberty and human rights into the constitution.

  • SM

    This is sad. The Churches have won and its not because of Prop 8. It’s because of how you all are acting towards each other and your supporters. Yes on Prop 8 won because you didn’t have it together so now you all don’t have it together even more?

    EQCA is a scam.

    How many other Equality Groups are there in CA? How many egos do you need?

    Why everyone does not just unite behind the Courage Campaign and get it done is beyond me. They know what they are doing and its how Obama won.


  • Trent


    NO ONE needs unsolicited “advice” from the likes of YOU, you pathetic bigot apologist!

    Go crawl back under your heterosexual supremacist rock!

  • SM


    Dude…I gave my straight money to EQCA many times and they could never even take the time to answer a simple e-mail after the election over Obama’s inanuguration.

    EQCA= FU

  • mike

    Does anyone really think courage campaign is anything different than EQCA with a different name? Ever gotten an email from courage campaign that didn’t ask you for money? Seen them ignore trans issues? Seen them forget to fight the governor when he wants to cut HIV funding? Sound familiar? They just want to be the NEXT EQCA…

  • Paul-kenon

    I thought you guys concluded that blacks and latinos voted agains’t us, so why wait till 2012 when tons of blacks and latinos will be going to the polls to re-elect this president. I’snt that the reason we are just as racist as the right wing nut jobs ?. Because black and hispanic folk “don’t support gay marriage”? Why wait till 2012? Someone please clarify.

  • J.Lowrot

    Perhaps we should wait because the campaign is less organized and in more of a shambles than it was in 2008. If people in California can’t set an agenda for a meeting and abide by it without splintering into warring factions, how can they plan to run an extended 16 or even 12 month campaign?

    Just a thought.

  • TANK

    @SM: You must be a nigger.

  • Cam

    @Bill Perdue: You said “”@Cam: wonders if “Obama is bringing more voters to the polls that are bad for us, or good for us.” ”

    I didn’t wonder that. I was pointing out that what the campagns in CA were saying as excuses for not putting an anti-prop 8 proposition on the ballet this time was directly opposed to the reasons they said we lost the first time.

    The first time we lost, because they claimed that Obama running brought more blacks to the polls who voted against us. NOW they are saying they want to wait until 2012 because Obama running will bring more pro-gay voters to the polls. It’s obviously a delaying tactic so they can spend the next several years collecting donations to guarentee themselves their jobs.

  • Chitown Kev


    Well, Jesus Christ, do you know how many k-bombs (among other things) that I could drop on you Jewish ass, TANK?

    And to think that I’ve actually enjoyed the exchanges that we’ve had…fuck you, dude.

  • Jay

    Yes, this is very sad and disheartening. We waste momentum by waiting until 2012. I don’t understand why it would be such a catastrophe if we lost in 2010? I wish someone could explain this. It took Maine activists three times at the ballot before they got an anti-discrimination bill. Even if we lose, we would be forcing the bigots to pony up big bucks. I suspect a lot of their volunteers are as tired as we are. We need to make them spend more and more money. If they are pouring money into California, they won’t be spending it against us in states like Iowa. If we wait, we just say that the distinction between marriage and domestic partnership is not very important. That may, indeed, be true, but it would set back the marriage equality movement far more than anything Maggie Gallagher can do. Like it or not, California is a bell-wether state. If we give up here, we’ll give up everywhere.

  • Cam

    @SM: you said “@Trent:

    Dude…I gave my straight money to EQCA many times and they could never even take the time to answer a simple e-mail after the election over Obama’s inanuguration.

    EQCA= FU”

    SM, you’ve pointed out the problem perfectly. You gave money to EQCA and they couldn’t even take the time to acknowledge it. WE gave time, money, and support to Obama and get the same response. Why is it ok for you to be angry at EQCA but you fly off the handle any time somebody on here says Obama should be doing more?

  • Paul-kenon

    @TANK: Congratulations! Do you feel better now? Feel a load off your chest??

  • TANK

    Do you really think I wrote the fucking n word? Gimme a fucking break. This is an impersonator.

  • Chitown Kev

    Well, if it were an impersonator, TANK, it wouldn’t be the first time, actually (thinking back to that night some months ago that had me writing slurs).

    I mean, usually you just tell people that they’re a piece of shit and fuck off…lol

  • TANK

    @Chitown Kev:

    Yes, it has happened before. I didn’t write the aids in the pool comment, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were SM, trying to derail.

  • Stephen

    @TANK: Knock it off!!. Man, don’t sink that low no matter what SM says. It makes you a worse person than she is. I like your posts but today you have lost me at the N word. I can’t stand that word.

  • TANK


    SO it was you wrote that using my name? Stephen?

  • Proud to be BLACK

    @TANK: Fuck off Tank.
    Now you’re just back peddling because normal decent people are calling you out on your vile racist comment. Go to hell bitch.

Comments are closed.