CA Gay Marriage Fight In Trouble

Things are looking dire in California. While the polls showed that most voters are against Proposition 8, which would overturn this year’s gay marriage win, the tide seems to be turning for the worse.

Gay activists yesterday held an emergency conference call to inform gay media types that they’re being woefully outspent and, despite their best efforts, Prop 8 could be poised for passage.

Via The Advocate:

“We’re being very badly outspent,” said pollster Celinda Lake, who joined campaign consultant Steve Smith and Equality California’s Geoff Kors on the call. Lake attributed Prop 8’s new hot streak to a biting TV ad that premiered last week — and to the massive media buy for that ad made possible in part by the deep pockets of the Mormon Church. “Polling tells us that their ad is really breaking through… it’s not just a base ad. It’s convincing to voters across the broad spectrum,” she said.

Celinda Lake, the No on 8 pollster, observed on Tuesday that 20% of California voters are still undecided on Prop 8. “That’s more than enough to provide a resounding victory for either side,” she said.

Gays and their allies had better unleash their A game.

And that “A game” will take a whole lot of dough. If you want to secure Californian queers’ right to marry – and maintain America’s liberal democratic dream – you should send some money over to Equality California or No On 8, both of which need all the help they can get.

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  • Woof

    This is the single most important vote in our struggle for equality! We cannot give up, we cannot let them win. Everyone has to help fight this prop of hate.

  • Chip

    I’d like to see that ad. How to find it?

  • ggreen

    Here in SF the No on 8 campaign HQ is upstairs over the Spirit Halloween store. If you didn’t know where it was you’d miss it. When you do go upstairs to the place its chock full of tweens on cellphones. The whole place looks more like a save the feral cats headquarters. How can this place raise money from the gays in the neighborhood camouflaged upstairs and out of sight? When I tried to buy a bumper sticker ($5 “suggested” donation), it took forever and the kids didn’t have any change. I got the distinct feeling I had just paid for someone’s lunch. If the campaign is this disorganized in SF think what it’s like elsewhere.

  • marco hussein channing

    California may be borrowing $7 billion to pay it’s bills. Gay marriage is estimated to bring in $630 million over the next three years. That’s the best way to sell it at this point.

  • Greg

    Can’t the gay media help out? This is the most important vote for gay people yet and basically they haven’t talked about it. Raise attention.

    I can assure you if we don’t we anti-gay bigots will repeal other rights now afforded to gay people.

    Please help out even if you don’t live in California you can help out by writing a message on a forum or message board to vote NO on Prop 8. Or make a video and post it on youtube. Be resourceful. Everything counts.

    NO on Prop 8 —>


    I knew it! you’re gonna reap what you saw. You can blame it on ads all the way into heaven but a YES defeat on Prop 8 is all gonna be the doing of the Obama voters. Your Messiah is gonna prove to be your Lucifer in CA.
    I hope I’m dead wrong on this one but it doesn’t seem I am. Anyways I’m going to the No On 8 and give whatever I can, no matter how hopeless it seems.

  • No Longer a Fan

    27 days to the election and Ellen DeGeneres still hasn’t contributed a dime. She could prime the pump for other deadbeat celebrities. Television ads(content, but primarily volume) in California will be decisive with any Proposition.

    As those who post comments here know, talk is cheap. Expensive California television advertising isn’t.

  • DairyQueen

    All I know is the No on 8 campaign needs to pull it together and change their ads to some less warm and fuzzy to attacking the yes 8 lies. I know this cost money, but I can’t believe there isn’t one person in LA who is in the “industry” who could donate their time in creating a new ad.

    I think the No on 8 campaign should get everyone who is doing the phone banking and put them out in front of every gay establishment (especially bars) with a money can asking for donations. Every beer bust charity event, circuit party, street fairs should be donating to Prop 8. This is getting serious folks.

  • JJ

    This morning, Towleroad writes in relevant part as follows:

    Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, David Geffen, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, Greg Berlanti, Gus van Sant, Bryan Singer, George Takei, Neil Patrick Harris, T.R. Knight, Suze Orman — you, your voices, and are your big bank accounts are desperately needed.

    Now that Towleroad has written it, it must be true.

    Will Ellen DeGeneres’ remaining fans please get on her? Right is right.

  • John


    Needless to say, it is very dissapointing that the only celebrities who’ve stepped upto the plate on this has been Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg (who are both straight).

    Sir Elton – who performs six months of the year in Las Vegas, just across the border from California – has plenty of money to throw million dollar pool parties, but no money for activism. The rest of them are behaving in the same manner. Now we know how the Chinese felt when Yao Ming snubbed those earthquake victims.

  • The Real John

    I just wish the crank who has taken my screenname would stop posting here under my name.

    When you begin your post “needless to say” maybe it is…

  • Forrest

    Most ads seem to only feature sympathetic straights. This helped win the day in the first go round in AZ. But I think there needs to be more of a balance. Have more gay couples telling how this ban could impact their families.

    Visibility always helps and we should only do more outreach to people on the fence. Getting to know gay people and seeing how there is nothing to fear only helps our cause.

    I am conflicted about celebrity support. We need the money desperately but the fundies love to hate “liberal” Hollywood. Press releases from Brad Pitt only energizes the rightwing base even more.

    Overall, “we” as in the common folks win this by telling our personal stories. Brad Pitt or Elton John won’t do it for us.

  • John

    Yeah, TRJ, because you have a copyright on the name “John.” LOL.

    Folks have been posting under that name for years, jackass.

  • Bill Perdue

    The future of same sex marriage rights in California depends on two things.

    First is the failure to mount an all out effort to take the battle into the Black, Latino, Asian and immigrant communities – abandoning that effort will cost us the election. This situation has to remedied yesterday.

    Second is the necessity for fund raising and in line with that we
    should demand that the Obama campaign turn over $1,000,000.00 to No on Eight every time he talks like a bigot and shoots off his mouth about how he, McCain and ‘god’ agree that we don’t deserve the right to marry because we’re second class citizens.

    And Ellen should donate, as should we all. But don’t wait for her; she’s your typical liberal; a Summer Soldier when it comes to GLBT rights.

  • crazylove

    I am glad someone actually talked about having a dialogue with the various minority communities rather than coming out with the common blacks hate gays. One of the approaches that I wish people would use is to link how gays have previously been a part of the civil rights movement to our rights. I think if you point this out in the AA community it would help a lot. Something along the lines of “some of us were there for you, and we are asking you even if you don’t agree with this religiously to make sure they don’t deny our families under the law either.” David Mitzer I believer said this once when he said or someone like him he was dealing with a gay rights issues back in the 90s. He told the crowd- I was there when you were marching, and all I ask if you do the same for me now. He got a lot of respect for that. How many people here can say that? Is this dialogue happening?

    Of course this kind of thing would work better if there were long term efforts rather than a few weeks out from an election. I don’t think Obama will get into this. The progressive movement sees gay marriage issues as separate from the issues that progressives champion.

    On the one hand, they are for equality, so that may work, but on the other, they dont consider this as the issue of this election. Again- the street goes two ways. Its not like gay groups have until recently tried to build coalitions outside of gay issues. if , for example HRC had been building relationships with relgious left groups and groups who address other issues, that is a resource that we could now be drawing upon. Instead many gays have remained separate and apart from other movements. This isn’t restricted to gays. You see this with other groups too, but for us it’s especially difficult because our outcomes depend a lot more on changing attitudes than others do at this point in history.

  • crazylove

    By the way. there is another historical example- Harvey Milk of SF. Right now gay groups atomize themselves from other groups who are for a different set of issues. Coalition building would do a lot in situations like this if we had been doing it before now.

  • Matt

    So I’m a student at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. I’m part of a club called Students For Justice, and what we’re doing is holding a tabling event on campus at a high foot-traffic, narrow area in order to gain support for the No on 8 campaign.

    It’s a pretty simple table, full of No on 4 and 8 flyers and stickers, bags of herseys kisses, the official No on 8 yard and rally signs everywhere, voter registration forms, and banners. In 6 hours (spread over 3 days) we’ve registered 90 people to vote, talked to hundreds who’ve already voted, and handed out hundreds of stickers and flyers. There are SO MANY PEOPLE who don’t know what this is about.

    Hit up the campuses. Engage with any and all sympathetic groups. If a rag-tag group of leftists on a community college can do this well, a well-oiled machine on a major university can bust its ASS and we can defeat this.

  • Bill Perdue

    CRAZYLOVE, to a large extent you’re confusing the Democrats and Republicans in the LGBT movement with the movement itself. They’re basically just liberals who lack any perspective because of their partisanship.

    The most serious deficit our movement has is that it’s self-proclaimed leadership – Stonewall and the LCR – are in a politcal closet. In the near future we’re going to have to assemble and build a LGBT left wing with a mass action perspective.

    MATT Your perspective is 100% correct. I worked against some of the earlier anti-GLBT referenda in the LA area beginning in the 1980’s. First we we mobilized on campuses, among lesbians and in the gay communities and then orgainzed all those people to fan out in all the different communites of Southern California with information in English and Spanish and the right wing was shot down every time they tried something.

    The first time the rightwing and the cultists won was on the issue of same sex marriage and that’s becasue the group which declared itself to be our ‘leaders’ ignored one of the central facts about Califonia – minorities are the majority. Instead of ignoring or fearing that we have to reach out to everyone if we expect to win.

    If you can manage it, print some bi-lingual material and distribute it shopping centers in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose.

  • crazylove


    I don’t think I disgree with you here as to the leadership.

    However, I think my problem principly this isn’t just leadership. No more than the problems this country faces in general are a product of leadership. They say that a democracy elects the leadership it deserves. That is why George Bush is all our fault. So, when you say leadership- I am thinking of the entire gay community or lack there of.

    It’s the gay community which is more focused, even now despite the crisis this nation faces, in its own myopic view about life in which people are suppose to give to us without having built relationships with them.

    I don’t think its right that people aren’t able to see that we should have equal rights, but I also don’t think we have built the bridges to make sure those people are going to go out there and support us. More than that, we make excuses for when people in our own community don’t support us.

    There is no excuse on the money end for rich gays to not compete dollar for dollar with the Mormons. None.

    I kind of blame the gay culture for this because their focus isn’t about change or creating stability in the greater society. I think the visible gay community from the perspective of my older gay friends hasn’t grown up sense the 70s and 80s and in many ways remained stagnant.

    There are good reasons why this is the case (treatment by the dominant culture), but whatever those reasons are- they ultimately hurt us in battles like this.

    I just don’t see how one argues blacks are against gays without admiting no one has tried on a sustained basis to engage blacks in terms other than the way white straights engage blacks- dangerous other.

    This limited engagement isn’t limited to the leadership of certain organizations. It is part of the visible gay community.

    I do, however, agree that solution starts with Matt- not just with canvassing, but also with coalition building with other groups- ie, unions, etc.

    I m no expert on this. I’ve just read enough about how say Milk was able to win in the 1970s to realize somewhere the gay movement went off into its on little ghetto of politics, and has not tried hard enough to say reach out to unions. If you are looking for foot soldiers in a battle like this- how many could have been found with unions if we had built those relationships?

  • Aamyko

    why people are still going on about Gay Marriage is just so beyond me. I find it sad that in The U.S, a country which many see as home of the free and liberty, has made something so simple such a controversy.
    I live in London and Brits have just moved on from it. People here accept people for who and what they are and while many don’t agree with it they still get on with it and live their lives, whereas in The U.S, there are people out there whose sole purpose in life is to keep Gay people having the same rights as any other citizens.
    I think this is because they feel it is their “right” to express their ideas, and while I do agree with this, I think a distinction has to be made between stating how you feel over an issue and spreading ignorance and hate with your words.
    Hopefully Americans will see this and who knows maybe in the next 50 years Gay people will be have equal rights.

  • Bill Perdue

    AAMYKO, the same situation exists in England. The Brits, as you call the English have moved but not very far. They recognize civil partnerships but marriage is only for straight people. That’s an undemocratic intrusion, a forced entry, of the cults into civil life. Marriage should be abolished and the cults forbidden to interfere in civil life. When civil partnerships are established for everyone then, and only then will be equal.

    As for the rest of our agenda Labour and the Lib Dems have supported some good legislation at the urging of the EU. However, it’s far from enough. England and most of the EU is caught in the grip of a raising tide of homophobic and islamophobic violence with an increasing number of fatalities among GLBT and muslim youth.

    One easy step is to treat the christist and islamist cult leaders who advocate violence as co-conspirators when homophobic violence occurs. They should get the same sentences as the thugs they unleash. Their assets – buildings, gold, jewels, etc. should be confiscated by the courts to compensate their victims. The Southern Poverty Law Center in the US took the KKK to court in the 1980’s and ‘90’s and won huge settlements for their victims that were met by the confiscation of their assets. It broke the back of the KKK. Perhaps in 50 years or so the English will catch up in that regard. : )

    Likewise, when violent acts against muslim youth occur rightwing and racist leaders of conservative and rightwing parties and christist cult leaders should be prosecuted by the CPS as accessories or accomplices of the skinheads if they’ve advocated violence.

  • Matt

    I’d just like to report that from 9am-2pm today 8 people at a table registered 50 to vote, handed out hundreds of fliers and stickers, and engaged with dozens of people who had no idea what Prop 8 was about. For our week’s total we spent 8 hours tabling and registered 150 people to vote, which is a damn good total (not to mention campus press coverage and community buzz).

    I’m telling you all, if this is a tight one we’ve got to make sure there is 100% voter turn out in the LGBT community, make sure that our social circles have as high a turn out as possible, and do some hardcore campaigning on college campuses and in the streets. This really isn’t hard. If 8-12 college students can do what we’ve done in a total of 8 hours; a full-time organized group of 20-30 working for a solid week can turn this into a solid no EASILY.

  • molly

    To Churchill-Y, you cannot blame Barack Obama if gay marriage is overturned in California. If prominent wealthy gay Californians like Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O’Donnell and others do not financially supoort the effort, then what can you expect?

    Since I do not reside in California, I do not know what the gay and lesbian community has been doing in California to sure up the effort to protect marriage rights, but I will say this being black, that there are many blacks in the US who still believe that gays and lesbians are all white. I recently heard this sort of commentary on a major Chicago talk radio station from a black talk radio host less than a month ago. If it is not being done out there in the California gay and lesbian community, minority gay and lesbian voices need to become more visible and heard in the mainstream media so that these blacks who are unfortunately still living with “blinders” on on this issue can began to see the connection between the rights of both communities.

    Because blacks in certain parts of the US do not often times see visible black gays and lesbians, they become prime targets of right wing fundamentalist who stoke the notion that “the gay and lesbian community are trying to compare the struggle for gay rights to the struggle to secure equal rights for blacks.” The results of which but does nothing but to DIVIDE both communties. It is done everytime by right wing fundamentalist everytime there is an issue that comes up like Prop 8.

    Just a thought….

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