At Long Last, We Know Who Was on the No on 8 Executive Committee

2990437104_c8f592c470You’d think that in their bid to remain viable members of the next generation of California marriage quality advocates, the members of the Executive Committee for the failed No on 8 campaign would demonstrate some transparency, but it took a public records request filing with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen by SF-activist Michael Petrelis to get the names of the committee finally released. Bowen walked Petrelis through “maze of filings” to finally shed some light on just who was behind No on 8. Here’s the full list of principal officers:

  • Geoff Kors, executive director, Equality California;
  • Lorri Jean, chief executive officer, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center;
  • Kate Kendell, executive director, National Center for Lesbian Rights;
  • Michael Fleming, executive director, David Bohnett Foundation;
  • Marty Rouse, national field director, Human Rights Campaign;
  • Heather Carrigan, ACLU of Southern California;
  • Oscar De La O, Beinestar Human Services in Los Angeles;
  • Sue Dunlop, Los Angeles;
  • Maya Harris, ACLU of Northern California;
  • Don Howes, Los Angeles;
  • Dennis Herrera, City Attorney of San Francisco;
  • Dr. Delores Jacobs, chief executive officer, San Diego LGBT Community Center;
  • Joyce Newstadt, San Francisco;
  • Tawal Panyacosit, director, Asian and Pacific Islander Equality in San Francisco;
  • Rashid Robinson, Los Angeles;
  • Kevin Tilden, communications/political consultant, San Diego;
  • and “No on 8” treasurer, Steve Mele, founder of ML Associates in West Hollywood.

It is beyond comprehension why these names were not disclosed by the No on 8 campaign earlier and we can’t help but thinking that if the Executive Committee is unwilling to share even the most basic facts about their campaign, they will never fully account for or agree to an independent analysis of why the campaign failed.

This weekend, Equality California will host an Equality Summit in Los Angeles, which is open to all marriage equality advocates both old and new who registered. After much wrangling, Queerty and other members of the press have ensured that the event will be fully open to the press. We’ll be their this weekend and will be twittering the event, as well as giving you a comprehensive rundown of the events. Stay tuned.

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  • Cam

    Keep pushing, the fact that these people have taken it upon themselves to speak for us, but will not disclose who they are is frightening.

  • K

    Actually, there are some very bright, dedicated people on this list (and some others as well, but that’s another matter).

    The way I see it, the “No on 8” failure is not so much the failure of these individuals as the failure of the group. Put another way, committees are frequently less than the sum of their parts. Put yet another way, committees suck.

    Some times, you need a boss to get things done. Yeah, I know that lots of people like the idea of bunches of people reaching concensus … but, some times, you need a general and a few captains and a bunch of foot soldiers. This was most definitely one of those times.

    Again, committees suck. That’s just the way it is … and I’m not sure that lesson has been fully realized. And that’s why I fear we’ll probably lose the next battle as well.

  • petted

    Some of them did disclose who they were – not all of them but some of them did admit to their role on the board.

  • agora17

    It is mean-spirited to blame these hard-working leaders in our community for the success of Prop 8. It is hard to admit it, but the African-American, church-going community is more at fault than we want to admit. After supporting traditional black civil rights organizations, like NAACP and The United Negro College Fund with my time and money, I did not want to see the elephant in the room: the majority young blacks are extremely homophobic—to the point of violence.

    Unlike their former leaders such as Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan and Bayard Ruskin, who were VERY supportive of the gay community (as some were gay), contemporary young blacks would just as soon bash our heads in with baseball bats. (Read about the 2003 Morehouse College attack and its aftermath. Chilling!)

    I had hoped that this growing hatred was isolated; however, the number of young blacks driving cars with bumper stickers that said, “Vote for Obama!” on one side and, “Yes on 8!” on the other, turned out to be prophetic. I, for one, feel stabbed in the back and I am sure our leaders fighting Prop 8 feel just as blind-sided by this outpouring of hate. How could a minority that has been through what African-Americans have been through in this country, and not understand that gays are fighting for our very lives? We are fighting for more than just our civil (legal) rights. We are fighting for our HUMAN rights–our right to be seen as worthy human beings. My gay black friends seem even more devastated by the result of Prop 8 because it is their friends, neighbors and families that have told them that they are not people worthy of basic rights.

    How many of you have heard both white and black conservative clergy refer to us as animals (guilty of bestiality), especially pigs? We must no longer take black support for granted. Since the presidential election, their attitude seems to be that they got theirs and to hell with everyone else. Obviously, I know not all black people feel this way, but their yes vote on Prop 8 showed that the majority, nevertheless, does.

  • barbarossa

    So lame. Fire them all. Time for a “change” in leadership.

  • barbarossa

    Take it from Harvey Milk–we need to build from the grassroots.

  • jeffrey bryan

    I was with Agora17 til the whole black thing (didn’t we prove a long time ago it was the old vote and not the black vote?) But my point… I think we should stop demonizing a group of people that dedicated their time, money, and resources to fighting for our rights. Could they have done a better job? Yeah… probably. Did they utterly fail? No – they came damn close to getting the job done.

    I agree that a grassroots element was missing from the campaign, but hindsight is 20/20 and I applaud these people for accomplishing as much as they did. Now, instead of playing the blame game we should regroup and look to the future.

  • kevin jones

    SHAME & GREED >>>>is the only reason these so called leaders are hiding HEY

  • Leland Frances

    Oh, fucking Marys, puh-leeze. There’s nothing more “grassroots” than Join the Impact and that’s turned out to be as pointless as crabgrass.

    Yes, Harvey was about organizing BUT organizing AROUND a LEADER not all this juvenile “let a thousand pansies bloom.” There was NOTHING “democratic” about his movement, nor should there have been.

    The black civil rights movement only pulled out of its decades-old ditch after charismatic MLK, Jr., came along [which is NOT to say that there were not some advances before and many extremely courageous people who made them]. But, again and again, the gay movement has torn down those who could have been its leaders based on its moldy counterculture idea that there SHOULDn’t be any.

    Now we have people again willing to be but the problem is they are Aimless Amy from Seattle and vogue on the outside vague on the inside Valk from LA.

  • barbarossa

    It’s not that there shouldn’t be a leader but tell me, Leland Frances, who led? We need new leadership that should be accountable and accept responsibility instead of shirking and hiding as these fine people did.
    Honestly, the GLBT community needs to reassess–do we really need groups like the HRC or Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center who seemed more concerned with black-tie fundraisers and award shows than opening a dialog with the community–black, old, Latino–instead of blaming them for their defeat.

  • getreal

    @agora17: These kind a divisive comment are counterproductive. I am a young christian straight black woman who is passionate about equal rights for everyone.I don’t know anyone in the black community who feels gays and lesbians are animals or don’t deserve the same protections under the law.The people I do know who voted yes and were black were either over 50(and look at he stats folks it was older blacks not younger blacks who did the voting yes) or people who believed civil unions are enough.I am sick of hearing people perpetuate this myth that blacks HATE gays If anyone had done ANY outreach and explained to people WHY civil unions are not enough and marriage rights ARE civil rights rights that marriage rights ARE equal rights this vote would have happened differently.And white christians voted in the same way that black chrisitians did black christians happen to be a larger share of the black voting block. Older black church ladies having no idea the damage they were doing voted yes on Prop 8. Had anyone taken the time to speak to these women they would have voted differently. Black churches will almost never turn speakers away even if they don’t agree the civil rights movement BEGAN in black churches and framed correctly they are the easiest to reach.Every elderly relative I have changed their mind on this issue after a calm conversation and hearing the facts not scary ant-gay propoganda that Mormons (aren’t most of them white?) paid for.If the leaders of the no on Prop 8 movement were so intimidated by blacks they would not have reached out to them. BLACK PEOPLE BY AND LARGE SUPPORT CIVIL UNIONS THEY DO NOT HATE GAY PEOPLE!!!Now we need to make people understand civil unions are 2nd class citizenship. Black people with our history of seperate but equal Brown vs Board of Education will get behind this movement. Everyday since Nov.4th I have heard more and more black people comment on how disturbed they are by this Proposition. So enough painting black people as violent gay and lesbian haters it is racist and simply not true.

  • UGH

    @BARBAROSSA: You obviously have no idea what the LA Gay & Lesbian Center does outside of electioneering. Get a clue:

    @JAPHY: So, now the list has been published… What is your follow-up? (Remember, half of this list has already been known since early November — see link below.)

    Also, were not some of the “most basic facts” of the campaign laid out here, days after the election?:

    So, we’ve heard where many have chosen to lay blame. Here’s my own personal formula:

    1/3: Gays. The supposed 50% who didn’t vote at all; the majority who didn’t contribute financially; the vast majority who didn’t volunteer (the Yes side had 100K!); the campaign leaders who spent donations on crappy, closeted commercials.

    1/3: Mormons, Catholics, and other religiously-based bigots. They funded the Yes campaign and provided the supposed 100,000(!) volunteers who worked hard to spread lies and homophobia among the populace.

    1/3: Barack “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman” Obama. I don’t care what he said about Prop 8 in particular, his and Biden’s unequivocal lack of support for full marriage equality most definitely helped it pass here in California, where they won handily.

    Obama’s cynical ‘change of heart’ on this issue from his stance before the run for president makes him a spineless PUSSY in my book for all time. Would such support for equal rights have forsaken the presidency? Nobody ever said it would be easy to stand by your convictions. I sincerely HOPE that Obama’s “belief” on the man-woman thing reverts back to his earlier “belief”, and soon…

  • david

    @Agora17 – you sound like a really big a$$hole.

  • barbarossa

    Ugh: Duly noted. I commend the LA Gay and Lesbian Center provides needed services for the community. But there is too much of focus on galas to pat the privileged few on the back rather than connect to the community at large and those who are not GLBT.

  • Brendan

    We shouldn’t be flaming anybody on this.

    We should take what we learned and move on from it. I think that Join The Impact was trying to do that, but they had dismal showings at the DOMA protests. I think that the fight for equality needs to come to the national stage. Every person needs to be talking about equality in EVERY state, not just the ones that someone decides are “ready” for it. If the federal government was allowed to pass a Defense of Marriage Act, then why can’t we fight for our rights nationally as well?

  • David Ezell

    Good work Queerty…keep pushing for the truth…and I look forward to your tweets from the meeting!

  • agora17

    @getreal: Come down to San Diego and attend services at the churches which spearheaded Prop 8. You will find a decidedly anti-gay spirit among everyone, including the young. Several years ago, in an attempt to join the MLK parade, we (small gay contingent) were physically prevented from joining. It wasn’t until an elderly black woman spoke out were we allowed to participate. She shouted to the young people stopping us: “Not today! All God’s children are welcome.” We should remember this as we go forward. Nevertheless, denying that there is profound homophobia in the both the white and black church-going communities will not help us toward the inclusive promise of President Obama.

  • Left Brain

    The whole committee, including leadership, is on the No on Prop 8 website. That information has never been “hidden.” The problem is some leaders have stood up, talked to the media, and attended community meetings (and have been targeted). Others haven’t taken responsibility at all. Let’s put the conspiracy theories aside and actually focus on fighting the right-wing.

  • getreal

    @agora17: No one is denying there is homophobia among some christians but there are many christians who strongly believe LGT people are God’s children and deserve an equal place at the table. Your OWN story illustrated that. Stop the racism it is not helping and blacks like myself who are passionate about this issue will tell you it is just as hurtful as homophobia.

  • agora17

    @getreal: Because I disagree with you or point out homophobic behavior in a minority community does not make me racist. That is nonsense. If you have experienced racism to the same degree that I have experienced homophobia, you would not say something so glib.

    I am proud of my record supporting black youth with scholarship monies through the United Negro College Fund and NAACP. I am NOT a wealthy man, but these organizations seemed vital to me if the black community were to encounter any kind of a level playing field. I have also helped an African American physician-scientist to receive a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, when it seemed she might be unfairly denied it.

    I have always thought that actions speak louder than words. That is why the recent support of Prop 8 by the majority of the black voting public was so hurtful to me. It surprised me that a minority community that I respect, did not return the sentiment. That is bigotry whether or not you admit it.

  • efesar

    Someone wise once told me, “Gays eat their babies”.

    It’s true in a sad, metaphorical way. But it makes sense. Gays are often from a very young age to lie and avoid group interactions (which can be dangerous and violent). We learned these behaviors out of self-preservation. In a way they form the fabric of the gay subculture. So who is to wonder that, despite numeric superiority, there is no such thing as unity in the community?

    So many people stepped up to the plate to say No on Proposition 8. What do they get in return? They get bashed by the egregious individuals.

    If you’re one of the bashers, stop! Reflect upon yourself for a moment. What did you do to stop Proposition 8? Did you go door to door? Did you email all your friends? Did you talk to your parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, friends and colleagues, the members of your congregation, strangers at the supermarket? Contribute enough money to make a difference? Protest? Write letters? If you didn’t, you have no room to judge. If you did, try to imagine how you would feel if someone told you the things you tell others. How would you feel if they bashed your efforts because of results beyond your control? If you felt your own poison once in a while, you might stop stinging others.

    My advice: let us all reflect upon the past, and move forward into the future with better information and intentions.

  • rt

    One can only wonder how much of the $32,000,000 in donations these losers paid themselves.

    I hope they are happy, and notice since California lost these idiots, especially Geoff Kors, have not resigned and instead have continued to lose battles.

    We suffer because of these incompetent and useless idiots.

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