Devastating Rolling Stone Feature Blames ‘No on 8’ Campaign For Prop. 8’s Success

In what amounts to a direct hit to the solar plexus of No on 8 Campaign leaders, the latest issue of Rolling Stone has a story called “Same-Sex Setback: Don’t blame Mormons or black voters – the California activists who tried to stop Prop 8 ran a lousy campaign” by Tim Dickinson that brings the gay community’s internal debate over the effectiveness of the No on 8 campaign to the mainstream public.

Queerty readers will recognize a lot of the criticisms– a lack of central organization, idiotic ads, failure to engage minorities and grassroots leaders, the psychotic lack of a ground game, it even compares the No on 8 campaign to the McCain campaign, which is something we do all the time here– but this is the first time a mainstream publication has tackled the issue head-on and the article is likely to shift the public debate over Prop. 8.

Let’s just go to the quotes, shall we?

“This was political malpractice,” says a Democratic consultant who operates at the highest level of California politics. “They fucked this up, and it was painful to watch. They shouldn’t be allowed to pawn this off on the Mormons or anyone else. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and now hundreds of thousands of gay couples are going to pay the price.”

“From the start, the leaders of the No on Prop 8 campaign and their high-priced consultants failed to realize what they were up against. According to Geoff Kors, who headed the campaign’s executive committee, the No side anticipated needing no more than $20 million to stop the gay-marriage ban. The Yes side, by contrast, set out to change how initiative politics are played, building a well-funded operation that rivaled a swing-state presidential campaign in its scope and complexity.”

“The No on Prop 8 campaign, meanwhile, was oblivious to the formidable field operation that the other side was mounting. Worse, its executive committee refused to include leaders of top gay and lesbian grass-roots organizations, which deprived them of an army of willing foot soldiers. “We didn’t have people going door to door,” admits Yvette Martinez, the campaign’s political director. The field operation consisted of volunteers phone-banking from 135 call centers across the state, an effort that didn’t begin ramping up until mid-October.

“They had no ground game,” says a leading Democratic consultant. “They thought they could win this thing by slapping some ads together. It was the height of naiveté.”

“Until the final days, the campaign failed to take advantage of the backing of every major newspaper in the state, as well as that of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former President Bill Clinton and future President Barack Obama. In one bizarre episode, an outside consultant was forced to “jackhammer” the campaign leadership simply to convince them to make use of a robo-call from Bill Clinton. The campaign also rejected a Spanish-language ad featuring Dolores Huerta, a heroine of the United Farm Workers union.”

It really just goes on and on like this and the whole article is a must-read. The failure of the No on 8 campaign has galvanized the community in an unprecedented way and the resulting movement and nascent coalition of civil rights activists that have marched, protested and boycotted since Nov. 4th represent the new face of the gay community. While No on 8 leaders like Lori L. Jean have stood on podiums and said, “There is only one group responsible for [the passage of Prop. 8]– The Mormon Church”, we now know that is not the case, if we ever believed it to begin with.

The article ends on a positive note, pointing out that because Prop. 8 passed because of mismanagement and that the vote was close it is possible to win at the ballot box. As we previously reported, No on 8 leaders have been wary post-election to embrace another ballot fight, believing that the gay community should focus its efforts on the courts.

Of course, the question now is, “Who’s going to listen to them?”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #marriageequality #noon8 #prop8 stories and more


  • Alan down in Florida

    Aha. Finally the blame going where it belongs. With leadership as incompetent as this we’re lucky we’re not all in detention camps.

  • AJD

    I agree with this article, but I still say the Mormon church should be picketed for getting its members to contribute more than half of the Yes On 8 campaign’s budget. It’s not because the Mormons bear sole responsibility — which they don’t — but because we need to show the public that we won’t be bullied and used as political cannon fodder any longer.

  • Joe Moag

    Excellent! The more I learn about the IDIOTS running the No on 8 “campaign”, the more outraged I become. I am stunned to learn that they refused to use Huerta… I would ask “what were these people thinking”, but instead I need to ask “were these people thinking at all?”

    Man, this is really too much. I have written on this before, and just when my furor has started to die down, I learn more and more unbelievably ridiculous crap. These “leaders” should have to personally return every fucking penny that they were so grossly overpaied for their “efforts”.

    “Bush league” has a new definition.

  • tallskin

    Um hang on here folks!

    Let us get some perspective here. (Yes I am know I am writing this from the UK, but hey!)

    The organisers of the No to Prop 8 were all over the place and incompetent, but they didn’t organise the original Prop 8.

    You should, in my opinion, be going after the causes and organisers of Prop 8. I mean the very idea that the rights of any minority can be decided by a majority vote is utterly absurd.

    This means going after the people who first put the proposition forward

    It means questioning whether this seemingly democratic system that allows madnessess like referendums on people’s Rights via a vote should be allowed to continue.

    (My question would be this: has the californian referendum system ever been used for progressive votes or have all the votes been used for regressive voting? I remember the whole madness of the tax cuts of the reagan and thatcher era started with a referendum in california – which fucked the californian education system and from which it has never recovered. Plus the Harvey Milk film reveals that in his time the right wing were using popular referendums against gays!)

  • fuzzygruf

    The day after the election, I turned to my husband and said, “The No-on-8 managers need to be fired.”

    About 3-4 weeks before the election, I was getting scared about it passing. There were no counter-attack ads at that time. Only recently did I find out that the “leaders” of the campaign were off vacationing.

    HRC is no better. They’ve done nothing. We need a leader ala, not some ineffective pansies. Go see Milk. Grow some balls.

  • Justin Allen

    We can’t blame out leaders. Who knew there were so many bigots? We had no idea what we were up against- and we had no idea how much hate there was against gays- especially those of us in places like New York where we can be as gay as we want. The only people we can blame in our community are the closet cases- we can’t blame the people who tried. The only ones who fail are those who don’t try. We learn and more on- we don’t case blame- especially not on ourselves.

  • John

    It amazes me that people are so quick to blame folks who worked (I’m guessing for free) to fight Prop 8. After reading the Rolling Stone article, I have to ask – why weren’t all these anonomous sources getting more involved. If they knew so much – hell, why didn’t they force the group to accept them or set up their own group to shore up the areas they saw as weaknesses.

    This strikes me as a lot of sour grapes by our community and especially by folks who maybe didn’t do a hell of a lot to actually fight Prop 8. It’s pretty clear that the GLBT community was happy to do very little while the polling looked good and then jumped in at the last minute. To really win these types of initiatives, EVERY gay person needs to make the point to reach out to their own family and friends. That one-on-one contact is what changes minds and is the only way to fight religiously-based bigotry. Ads, flyers and canvassing have little or no effect (canvassing, being the best of the three) That’s the real lessson we should be taking from this – but that would require some personal responsbility, rather than blaming folks who I suspect did their best.

  • Dan Poirier

    The sad thing is, no matter how many mistakes the campaign made, you know that they were well-intentioned. Sure the campaign staff is paid in some fashion, and they are paid to run whatever service organizations they run, but in the end these are all people who have their heart in this fight, and it is a thankless job. In the end, our “leadership” can only do as well as our community, and our community has been asleep for a long time. I know that the LAGLC has been working on this issue for years – doing footwork and even going door to door for years before there even was a Prop 8 (I knocked on the doors myself!) It is sad then, to see Lorri Jean thrown under the bus. You know she, and every one who worked on this is sick over it, like we are. We need to figure out what went wrong, but remember, if we are thankless toward our leaders in defeat, who is going to want to try to lead us to victory?

  • Joe Moag

    @Dan Poirier: They should be “sick” about it. They – yes THEY – fucked up. Perhaps, perhaps, we would have lost if the No on 8 brain-thrust had actually waged a credible, smart, common-sense, self-evaluating and self-correcting, campaign that engaged allies to do more than run celebrity ads. Perhaps. But we’ll never know, will we, as they didn’t.

    As for “laying off them”, I will, as soon as they show the first signs of taking real ownership and responsibility for the mile-long list of tactical and strategic errors that are so obvious a freshman majoring in political science could point them out.

    You get no credit, in my book, for “trying”, when what you “tried” was objectively – and knowingly – stupid.

  • burton21

    I call bullshit. Yes, we can certainly (and should certainly) appoint some blame to the No on 8 organizers. The way they ran the campaign was amateur at best… and more closely resembled a high school campaign to change the prom theme than a historic, gravely serious human rights issue. But it cannot also be ignored that the Mormon Church had a direct and equal hand in writing discrimination into California’s constitution, with the amount of community pressure, lies, and money they poured into Yes on 8. I think our community’s gross underestimation of the strength of our opponents’ strength was on par with the absolutely shit management of the No on 8 campaign… I think it a bit unfair to unload the whole burden on the gay leadership here.

  • Joe Moag

    It seems to me that one of the first responsibilities of anyone running any campaign is to accurately understand the level and scope of the opposition, and then to plan and strategize accordingly. To act like the depth of opposition to the legalization (or, more accurately, continued legalization) of same-sex marriage was “unknowable” is nuts.

  • RCDC

    “if we are thankless toward our leaders in defeat, who is going to want to try to lead us to victory?”
    it’s not only stupid to be thankful to someone who failed so grossly, it’s servile. if people were just peachy with every group of (self-appointed) leaders, no matter how incompetent, nothing would have ever changed. the mormons deserve some blame here, sure, but the so-called leadership shot themselves in the foot. to actively refuse help because you think you know better smacks of arrogance and a leadership drunk on its own perceived power.

  • Robert

    Here’s the thing… lets just stop blaming anyone and everyone… yes there were many mistakes made, and we lost.

    But instead of blaming we need to put that energy in making a difference.

    Just my .02

  • Dan Poirier

    I agree that the campaign was not run well. I and other volunteers were calling out the mistakes in real time every day that we worked “Are we going door to door?” “We’re really only doing phone banking?” “What about get out the vote?” But one thing that I can say is that I also was out in public trying to get LGBT and straight people to volunteer and more than half of everyone I spoke to in the most supportive neighborhoods dismissed me right up to the last two weeks with “Well, we’re going to win anyway, right?” The complacency was maddening. (Of course, there were those remarkable people who rearranged their schedules to get us as far as we did, and those who made incredibly generous donations – repeatedly, and they deserve mention too.) We cannot win against these huge churches without a huge commitment from our whole community.

    Gay politics – as you saw in the MILK movie – is an easy gig to get into (if you can stand the heartache). If you truly care about the results, it is easy to get involved at some level, and even take the reins. As we roll out the blame, a more important question is, what leadership role are you willing to assume in the future? Make it happen. Sure we can’t all run the campaign at the highest level, but any one of us could have organized a ground campaign to fight this initiative. Robin Tyler made her own ads when she didn’t like the campaigns ads. Yes on 8 had a great organized campaign, but it also had a great supporters, making websites, sermonizing, making webvideos, holding prayer rallies in stadiums!! That happens because the whole religious right kicks into gear for these initiatives – every religious right church and business gets their thinking cap on and tries to figure out how to win. We won’t win until we do the same thing.

  • Jesus Mary

    Another revisionist POV from whom this time? Rolling Stone? Good grief, James Brown. It was a combination of things, and treating us like we’re stupid is just as insulting as prop H8. A lot of people are uncomfortable with gay marriage. A lot of those people voted in this election. Our campaign was weak, and people made dumb mistakes (grade schoolers force-marched to attend a lesbian wedding and video taping it to youtube, for instance). Many of the same ultra-lefties who have now jumped on our band wagon were silent before the election because they only want us in their camp if we are “marginalized.” Anything that smacks of mainstream values (marriage) doesn’t get their support. Plenty of blame to go around. Plenty of time to fight the fight again. Its called realpolitic.

  • Dan Poirier

    Ah yes, the grade school wedding! Talk about good intentions gone awry. That’s one we can blame on our “straight allies”. :) The day that story broke I had a feeling we were sunk.

  • Rock

    They fucked up.

    Admit it!

  • The Gay Numbers

    If we can not assess what we did wrong, then the next attack against us will yield the same result as this one.

    Some here seem to have a problem with trying to do proper assessment. The fact is we do need new leadership.

  • Wolf

    Well thank you Mr. Obvious at Rolling Stone. he must read Queerty. but he got it wrong. The Mormons and the Religious Minorities are also to blame. That also is obvious.

    The Rolling Stone Article is just another reporter putting another spin on it for the breeders to read about and take the focus off the other groups and put it back on us.

  • The Gay Numbers

    By the way- the fact that No on 8 fucked up does not equate to the false choice of saying that the Yes on 8 were not also to blame. Both are to blame for different reasons. It’s not either we fucked or they did. It’s that we both did and that one helped the other. We provided the openning that they exploited.

  • AJD

    The kind of wimpy activism this article discusses isn’t just a problem with the No On 8 campaign — it’s a nationwide problem.

    I went to college in Indiana, where Indiana Equality met attempts to ban same-sex marriage there with similar abstract pleas for “equality” and “fairness.” When legislators in the General Assembly voted in favor of the ban, a crowd of gays and supporters assembled there responded by chanting “shame!” and standing outside with conveniently provided cardboard coffins. That seems more like performance art than activism, to me.

    The big protests that happened after Prop 8’s passage and the angry Castro residents chasing the Christobigots out of their neighborhood is what we need. I’ve been saying this for years.

  • Mike

    Well said, Wolf.

    Obviously “mistakes were made,” as the saying goes. But this article seems to assume that the referendum itself was a neutral event; that somehow the vote wouldn’t have happened if gay leaders had been better.

    To answer the question posed above “Who knew there were that many bigots?”–the far right and religious leaders. They knew, and they made good use of them.

  • ggreen

    Of course holding the bigots accountable for their actions would be acting just like the bigots and that’s unfair (just ask the editor). We must treat the Mormons and Catholics with deference and reverence after all they didn’t choose their religion unlike us fags who choose to be gay.

  • Jaroslaw

    1. $70 million dollars most of it from the Mormons CANNot be ignored.

    2. Whatever the NO on 8 folks did wrong, still, many “someones” stepped up and did the job. which leads into my point 3

    3. The Mormons, Catholics etc. all have people, Priests, staff who do this kind of work FULL TIME, already have phone banks, membership lists etc.

    I think we are being way too hard on the NO on 8 leadership, which is not to say there were no mistakes made. The ONE mistake I would like to see a direct quote from someone on is how they could go on vacation during this. But even that question – one leader, two leaders? Out of how many? Did they have these vacations scheduled months in advance from their regular jobs?

  • Jaroslaw

    Oh, sorry and I agree with another poster who said (basically) “blame the victim” articles like this “console” breeders into not taking any responsibility.

  • Leland Frances

    Gay Numbers is exactly right. The biggest flaw in the article, as excerpted, is that Evil is no less Evil because well-intentioned but inexcusably incompetent people failed to defeat it.

    “Inexcusable” because all of the NO people are old enough to have seen the various faces/tactics of this Evil REPEATEDLY going 31-years back to the Anita Bryant forces all the way through the passage of anti marriage equality Prop 22 IN THE SAME STATE!

    Kendall, Jean, Kors, Smith: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for YOUR part of the failure, APOLOGIZE, or SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO AWAY!

    But, as I’m sure Queerty will soon report, Kendall is already shooting the RS messenger.

    Is there no shame?

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    I thought Rolling Stone was an insert in the AARP mail-out since it’s so out-moded, these days. On Prop 8, many outside of California were literally shocked at it’s passing which means that many Gays were not even aware of the amount of right-wing money mobilized to Pass Prop Hate! I just wish we put as much effort into our Love Rights as we do to support the Porn Industry.

    A Rolling Stone does become a pebble after 5 decades of rolling out centre-right journalism for the Baby Boomers (who failed us in the 1960s) and shut-up until their stocks tanked.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Leland Frances: Why should there be any shame? Look at their apologists along this thread. It’s like there is this real disconnect. Now some of them maybe just idiots or trolls,b ut some of them seem sincerely to believe that this is just miss placed judgment regarding the failures of No on 8.

  • burton21

    @seitan-on-a-stick: “centre-right journalism?” Have you actually ever read a Rolling Stone issue? It is unarguably one of the most leftist publications enjoying mainstream circulation to date… and makes no secret of that fact.

    I will, however, completely applaud your pornography comment. An interesting, saddening insight I had not thought of.

  • Landon Bryce

    I am not sure why hatred of the No on 8 organizers has become the cornerstone of editorial policy at Queerty. They did a bad job and have failed to take adequate responsibility for that.

    They also did more to fight Prop 8 than anyone bitching bout them here. Infinitely more. So much more that our guilt about our inaction leads us to scapegoat them. No. We all failed, but no one kept us from knocking on doors or making calls. No one stopped us from taking our own vacation days to canvas.

    I should have done more to fight Prop 8. I refuse to point fingers at others who did more than me just because their work was ineffective.

  • Jaroslaw

    Thanks Landon

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    Homophobic Rolling Stone is no Vanity Fair for journalism and what’s with the 70s look?

  • Joe Moag

    @Landon Bryce: So, criticizing, based on facts, the conduct, tactics and strategies of high-powered political leaders – the leaders of the No on 8 campaign – is hating?

    If they are as thin-skinned as you seem to be, it’s no wonder that they did not take advice contrary to their beliefs during the campaign.

    Yes, no one is stopping anyone from going around knocking on doors. But here’s a wild idea: wouldn’t that have been more effective if it had been an organized door-knocking campaign, organized, by, oh, I don’t know, the VOTE NO on 8 leaders?


  • Leland Frances

    G#s, this is my theory after years of reading gay blogger indefatigable defenses of closeted celebs [particularly if they’re “hot”], antigay family members, friends, religionists, Republicans, minorities, athletes, and businesses:

    Coming out for far too many does not entirely wash away feelings of unworthiness and its pathetic sister, “Mary I Must Be Nice.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told, “stop name calling.” Well, sorry kids, but if the name is Bigot, Coward, Hatemonger, Attention Addict, etc., don’t blame me for pointing out the truth.

    We saw the Pollyannish attitude in wimpy anti 8 commercials; we see it everytime most any gay person appears on TV opposite some talking pinhead for the Antigay Industry. Adolf spews the usual bile and Mr. or Ms. Gay just sits there taking it, cooing about fairness and blah blah blah, thus reinforcing to the audience the old adage, “silence = assent.”

    And, even at Gay Ground Zero, on the one TV station in San Francisco that has an out gay reporter, there was a pre-vote story about how some anti H8TErs, by labeling a couple with a huge “Protect Marriage/It’s not just about marriage” banner on their house “bigots,” had “gone too far.”

    Class, can you say, “BULLSHIT”?

  • chuck


    > “I mean the very idea that the rights of any minority can be decided by a majority vote is utterly absurd.”

    It can’t be said any plainer than that. And that being so glaringly obvious, why is it that this point is constantly ignored and never brought up?

    Why are we grilling ourselves on the rack for something we did not start in the first place?
    It smacks of the same stupid argument that it was the fault of the woman herself, for getting raped.

    Ashton Kutcher summed it up in a nutshell on the Bill Maher show recently when he said “It’s unconstitutional”.

    Why aren’t our Superior Court Justices, Representatives, Senators, Legislators and lawyers addressing this question?

    Is there something that as a American Citizen I am failing to see here? This whole ridiculous debate over who fucked up is moot. It just doesn’t fucking matter and following this line of reasoning is just plain stupid. It’s diverting energy that should be applied to getting our rights, not finding someone to pistol whip.

    The only question we should be asking ourselves as gay people, is why must we keep saying “mea culpa” simply for existing?

    Isn’t it time for us to stop “explaining” ourselves, “apologizing” for ourselves and begging for “accpetance” from those who despise us and kissing the asses of those who would destroy us and start demanding accountability from those who take our non-tax deductible contributions and tax money?

    Appeasing the enemy never works. Never did. Never will. And if folks don’t believe that, all they need to do is ask Neville Chamberlain. He learned that lesson the hard way.

    It was called WWII.

  • chuck

    @Dan Poirier:

    > “It is sad then, to see Lorri Jean thrown under the bus. You know she, and every one who worked on this is sick over it, like we are.”

    Yep yep. She is so sick over it, that I just read that she is on another vacation, no doubt, to recuperate from the vacation she took while all this shit was coming down.

    Sorry. This smacks too much of “Mein Kampf”.

    How bout we slap ole Dubya on the back and say, “hey, Boobie, we know you fucked-up, big-time”, but what the heck. We still love ya just the same. God bless.”

  • chuck

    @Justin Allen:

    > “We can’t blame our leaders.”

    Oh really, now?

    Then WTF do we need them for if they are not to be held accountable for their actions and mistakes?

  • chuck


    > “It amazes me that people are so quick to blame folks who worked (I’m guessing for free)”

    Yep yep. We all know that Joe Salmonese works for free, as do all the other leaders.

    Get a grip, guy.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Leland Frances: @<a They do not realize that part of the effort in calling the behavior of discriminating against us a bad name is to use human nature in our favor. It’s true a hardcore 20 percent will not care. but there is the 30 percent that does not want to be seen as a bigot. They will care, and will try to figure out what about their behavior is causing people to think this. Some of this is born out with the polling results. 8 percent of those who voted for prop 8 would have voted against it based on the protest afterwards. it seemed real. the thing that is often missed is that emotions with a justification for them may make others feel uncomfortable, but they will come to accept that their is a reason for them. the desire to be calm and collected has the opposite effect. it tells the audience there is nohing at stake or to be riled up about. I am not sure why people who claim to be creative do not get this. well, actually that’s not true. I do know. there is a desire to escape emotional reality so that only the happy emotions are ever to be expressed. that part of the situation where gays haven’t been so traumatized in earlier life want to just spend the rest of it in a happy zone. the problem is that it allows for more traumatization of others.

  • chuck

    @Joe Moag:

    > To act like the depth of opposition to the legalization (or, more accurately, continued legalization) of same-sex marriage was “unknowable” is nuts.”

    Exactly, Joe. Like Dubya saying that he was “misinformed” on WMDs.

    That simply doesn’t cut it.

  • John


    “Why are we grilling ourselves on the rack for something we did not start in the first place?
    It smacks of the same stupid argument that it was the fault of the woman herself, for getting raped.”

    Who started it? The californian government? Yeah okay.

    But are you missing the point of the WHOLE article?? It SAYS that OUTREACH should have be done because these certain groups (religous minorities) are KNOWN to be homophobic.

    Everyone who voted for Prop 8 is to blame BUT then what will you do about it?

    For arguments sake, lets erradicate the ethnic minorties in California…like GET RID OF THEM.

    Then are we saying it WOULD pass and it would all be hunkyfuckingdory?? Their won’t be any of the gays who didn’t even bother to vote, a shit campaign, etc etc..

    And everyone would leave happily ever after?

    Am I the only person who thinks this is a blessing in disguise?? Do you really want this complacent people leading the LGBT movement??

  • ellipse


    The blame for Prop 8 lies squarely with those who proposed it, signed the petitions, and voted for it.

    Blaming the gay community for an inadequate campaign against the ballot assault is like blaming a physical assault victim for not KO’ing their assailant straigtaway.

    The blame lies with the attacker.

  • Joe Moag

    @ellipse: No, it’s like blaming a person who, after being repeatedly warned not to go swimming in an undertow, does so, and then drowns. Guess whose fault that is? The swimmer’s.

    Yes, it is disgusting to have one’s rights put up for vote. But once they are, and once you realize what you have to do to fight, the failure to plan and act with common sense and effectiveness is now your fault, as it was your choice to pick the strategies and tactics that you did which so woefully failed.

  • burton21

    @seitan-on-a-stick: What? Again, do you know anything about Rolling Stone? The founder and editor-in-chief, Jann Wenner, is gay (or at least a same sex relationship) and has been since the mid 90’s, when he divorced his wife. As an avid reader of the magazine, I can assure you that it is neither homophobic nor dated, as you suggest (but perhaps you are referencing the logo of the magazine, which has been the same for many years and is pretty much Rolling Stone’s trademark; in any case, dubbing it with “a 70’s look” is irrelevant and nonsensical).

  • Martha

    Rolling Stone mag which gives endless covers to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears?

    and the mag is relevant how?

    we all know No on Prop 8 non-profit fat cats sucked at their jobs and ignored trends and the religious bigot’s decades old track record of making it about “families” and “children safety”

    No on 8 should have been in their faces with
    profiles of gay marrieds and families
    but NOOOOOO — they didnt want to use the word gay.

    Let’s not forget the elephant in the room = RELIGION.

    A bigot is a bigot is a bigot.

    Boycott Sundance and mormon owned companies and states (UTAH)

    Boycott all catholic charities

    Support Lamda Legal Defense Fund

    screw the lazy ass NON PROF G&L ctr fat cats.
    They are NOT elected leaders or spokespersons for this cause.


  • Dan Poirier

    I agree with people who believe that the Center in Los Angeles and HRC and all of these big orgs failed us big time, and I even think we should be good and angry. I just see gray areas – I know they are not evil and didn’t wish us harm. Should we let them do it again? No.

    I’m not saying they’re not responsible.

    I will say, that I don’t believe it is right to compare our gay leadership to George Bush, who actively eliminated his liaison to the lgbt community, appointed antigay leadership at every governmental level he could think of, and worked to appoint creationists to AIDS commissions, is intellectually dishonest, and unfair to our own community. As I said previously, keep in mind that our leadership was wrongheaded, but unlike Bush (or whoever was pulling his strings), not meanspirited.

  • Kevin

    Well, as someone who lives in San Francisco, I can tell you that the impression I got from the campaign was that they only cared about raising money.

    I volunteered once to phone bank and I was given a script, told to stick to it line by line, and then press really hard for money. Everyday I received an email asking for money even though I gave $200 from a checking account not very large. The second time I tried to phonebank I was turned away because they had a new script and didn’t have time to train me. Instead, they asked me if I could take time off of work to stand on a street corner in the Castro or downtown simply to hold a sign…no outreach to the surrounding counties was ever organized from SF.

    To my knowledge, there was never direction from the top to do any other kind of outreach except phonebank, or in better terms “telemarket”. What little grassroots organizing that was done was done by groups independent from the main campaign org. Their commercials were weak, reactive, and didn’t feature one LGBT couple. They completely underestimated the opposition, but kept believing that money alone would save us.

    Bigotry won the day, but the No on 8 campaign helped to contribute to it.

  • Joe Moag

    @Kevin: I have seen your experiences recounted time and time again by others… So, to those who say “nothing stopped us from going out and ringing doorbells ourselves”, try taking a look at the realities of those who volunteered to do just that, and the response that they got from their “masters” over at Vote No.

  • reversion

    We should picket “our leaders”.

  • Bruno

    I guess the No on 8 campaigners called up the Mormons and told them to give $20 million to prop 8. I suppose they also told the voters to respond to deceitful advertising and vote for prop 8. They may have told preachers in all parts of the state to tell their flocks how to vote.

    Please, there’s lots of responsibility to go around. Even if the No on 8 campaign was ineffective, this vote was the fault of bigots and ignorants. You know who’s to blame? The Yes on 8 campaign…for lying in ads, and telling the Mormons to donate just under a certain amount so the No on 8 people didn’t know how many millions were coming in. The prominent Yes on 8 people are: Frank Schubert, Ron Prentice, Jeff Flint, Anthony Pugno & Sonja Eddings Brown. THESE are the people most to blame for this hateful passage.

  • scott

    I think looking back at what went wrong so there could be improvement and better strategy is good. And positive.

    I just hope the peeps condemning those who messed up, volunteered or were involved somehow. Maybe even taking leadership roles. It’s easy to lay blame, from your computer chair.

  • Roland Basque

    I think the oppressed queers should all relocate to the Middle East.There they will be appreciated for their unique stature and dealt with accordingly.Apparently they are not appreciated for what they are and do not get the special treatment they deserve in the USA.The queers should get what they demand and if the USA does not recognize their distinct greatness then perhaps they would be better served in maybe Iran or Saudi Arabia.

  • chuck

    @Roland Basque:

    Perhaps you will be so good as to lead the way?

  • froggyola

    @Roland Basque: Poor little roland. Did daddy touch your private parts you poor damaged twerp?

  • Jay

    Ya that’s right you teach us mormon’s by staying out of Utah. That’ll sure teach us. Maybe you guys could come up with some actual scientific proof that you’re born gay, instead of just telling us that you are. I have to admit that it could be all the prescription drugs in the water system that have changed your gender, but where’s that proof.
    A blackman doesn’t have to prove he’s black to demand his rights or an hispanic, asia. Where’s your proof that your had no choice in your gender?
    I have to admit that gays are a funny bunch. You want to boycott business that supported Prop. 8 and yet if you walked into the same business last year and they didn’t want to serve you because you were gay, ALL HELL would breakout. It’s just proof that your fickle in the head. I’ll stop posting now so you can rant and rave.

  • Bruno


    Do you know the difference between “gender” and “sexual orientation”?

  • Jaroslaw

    Jay – if you really want to know about Gay people, just read several posts right here. But you don’t of course, you just want to bait someone into a rant.

    There IS scientific proof out there and the rest of your statements are so ignorant, you wouldn’t have the brains to analyze logical rebuttals anyhow.

    Finally, WHY are you here? Are you a closet case? Not enough straight boys for you to pester?

  • Bill Perdue

    It would be difficult to underestimate the incompetence of the Democrats and movement apparatchiks who ran No on 8.

    But that wasn’t why we lost.

    We lost because Obama, in his non-stop pandering to the christians, galvanized, organized and empowered the bigot vote. His continued insistence that their (and his) bigotry was OK because “god’s in the mix” brought out the Euroamerican bigot vote in explosive numbers.

    No other factor in the campaign can begin to account for our unexpected and unnecessary loss. After the Democrats betrayals last year, when they gutted ENDA, refused to repeal DADT and Clinton’s DOMA and shelved the hate crimes bill, Obama’s betrayal in California is not so supervising.

    It won’t be the last.

  • Joe Moag

    @Bill Perdue: Workers of the World, UNITE!!!!

  • Bill Perdue

    @Joe Moag: Joey, instead of redbaiting why don’t you troll trawl for new readers for your pissant right centrist Democrat blog some more.

    Never mind. I forgot. That makes you look so needy and useless.

    OK, just stick to redbaiting. But wait! That makes you look like a mindless Republican.

    Keep trying. I’m sure that if you double or triple your Aricept dose something will occur to you. But ask the doctor first. Put a post it note on your forehead to help you remember.

  • Joe Moag

    @Bill Perdue: Thank you, commrade, for your concern and your ever-faithful watchdog role as keeper of Party Purity! I will be looking for your blog on when I have a free moment today.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Since you didn’t state your sexuality, we can only assume that you are either a closeted, self-loathing queer or a homophobic str8 asshole who doesn’t know his asshole from a hole in the ground.

    Now that I stop to think about it, is there much of a difference between the two?

  • Anthony in Nashville

    Does criticizing Obama make you a communist? I won’t say he was the main reason Prop 8 passed, but I suspect that his chat with Rick Warren and the ‘God is in the mix’ comment made a lot of “liberal” people feel okay about voting against gay marriage.

  • Joe Moag

    @Anthony in Nashville: Nope, it does not. The fact that Bill Perdue attacks Obama on every post on this site and always for dried up old-Left reasons is what makes him a Communist. That and his spouting of Communist crapola.

    As for Obama’s meeting with Warren, I think that you are making one gigantic and illogical leap of faith to find that one instance as being the basis for “making liberal people feel okay about votign against gay marriage. Especially when Obama was on record as being Against Prop 8 and has and does say dozens and dozens of other serious statements about being pro-Gay equality. Can’t overlook all that and just point at one televised event and say “see, it’s all his fault.” That’s not how things work and that’s not how people make up their minds to vote for or against anything.

  • M Shane

    I keep wondering if no one has a sense for basic logic relative to this either or argument.
    It serves no purpose when the gay organization was totally fucked up and will be until they abandomne the myth that we ever can be mainstream.
    The Mormons need be held responsible for their intolerance they are wakos themselves and are the last group that needs to be poluting the wishes and lives of others.

    Obama? is someone nuts?

  • M Shane

    Also, as far as the Rollong Stone being a “left wing publication”, considering that the USA is one of the most deludially right wing countries in history with no sense that we rate no better than a banana rebublic, it probably is since all the media are owned by big capital, and it seems as if people are just to dense to realise that they are engorging on propaganda continuously to know the difference.. It would be fantastic if we had freedom of press: but we don’t and probably won’t for as long as this corporate controled state falls apart.

  • Tim in SF

    This Rolling Stone article is being met with a lot of defensiveness and clutching of pearls. “How dare they criticize us! We’re the victims here!”

    Look, this post election analysis is CRUCIAL if we are to learn our lessons. It’s not about blame, it’s about analysis. Can everyone here agree that we NEED to know what went wrong so we know what to do next time?

    Take a breath and think.

    It is absolutely true that the leaders of the No-on-8 campaign made some terrible mistakes. I don’t believe they should fall on their swords, as do many here. But I do think they committed political malpractice and should never be let near another campaign. Ever. On the other hand, had they done everything perfectly, I believe it most likely would not have been enough. The simple fact of the matter is, they did not get the money early, and early money is crucial for victory. They got the money in the last couple weeks. That’s too late. Early money buys the best air time. Early money gets the ground game going – they had one, we did not. Early money wins elections. Ever heard of EMILY? Early Money Is Like Yeast, because it helps to raise the dough. Early money raises more money.

    I know we’re all very close to this issue and we’re fucking pissed. I sure am. But when looking at the campaign, analyze it dispassionately. Try to see it in terms of what works and what doesn’t, what was done well and what was done badly. Mostly, try to see this (and every election) in terms of what we need to do in order to get what we want. This is important if you want to win next time. And I want to win next time.

    Criticism is not simply The Blame Game. It is necessary and healthy and we certainly need it. The No-on-8 campaign should suffer a severe, painful audit; an analysis so probing and so far up the asses of the leaders that we know what they ate for breakfast. And they must submit to this analysis and judgment without getting defensive. We need this so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes next time. This is bigger than them.

    The way I see it is simple. Prop-8 ran a GREAT campaign (lies and all). They lied well, they lied early and they were unbelievably organized. The people who (somehow) were in charge of running the No-on-8 campaign ran a historically TERRIBLE campaign, strenuous efforts by the volunteers notwithstanding. And they didn’t get most of their money until really late in the game, compared to the bigots. That’s the sad truth.

    What were the results? Public opinion was pushed in the Pro-8 direction by over 20 points (way before our side matched their side in funding). The amount of shift in numbers was simply amazing (ask any political consultant – that’s a herculean task to drag public opinion that far). Any cursory analysis of their ground game shows a level of sophistication never before seen for a mere ballot prop. They hit us with a tsunami of money and volunteers and our side flailed about. We flailed admirably and bravely, but we never had any hope. What little our side managed to do in the face of this tsunami was insufficient, done badly and far too late.

    Lesson learned.

  • Tim in SF

    …this is not to say I think we should stop hating on the Mormons. Those fuckers funded this proposition. They got out in front. They did this to us.

    Make. Them. Pay.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Anthony in Nashville: Does criticizing Obama make you a communist? It does if you’re a cretin like Moag who only posts here to promote his blog for Democrats and who puts his party politics about his committment to GLBT rights.

    Political cretins engage in 1950’s style redbaiting to move the discussion away from the historic similarities between Obama and Clinton, whose promises were (and are being) turning into dust. Clinton gave us DADT and DOMA. Obama betrayed us in the fights in California, Florida and Arizona.

    I won’t say he was the main reason Prop 8 passed, but I suspect that his chat with Rick Warren and the ‘God is in the mix’ comment made a lot of “liberal” people feel okay about voting against gay marriage.

    According to the California Field poll we had a commanding double digit lead in California in September. We raised and spent much more money than them. However the timidity of the Democrats and movement apparatchiks who ran No on 8 squandered all that. Our numbers dropped. Then the California AFL-CIO, the NEA and other unions contributed well over a million dollars and lots of effort against 8 and large groups like the NAACP and MALDEF weighed in on our side. In late November the race tightened and our numbers rose a bit.

    Then the Yes on 8 supporters and their religious backers launched a huge last minute effort quoting Obama’s openly bigoted opinions on same sex marriage and that’s the only credible explanation of why we lost. Obama’s bigotry certainly accounted for the 22% of self-described liberal voters who voted for Prop 8 but the most important vote his bigotry galvanized was the 82% of Euroamerican christian rightists and Republicans who voted against us.

    Everyone got es on 8’s robocalls and doorknob flyers about Obama’s bigotry but they heard nothing from No on 8, who put the interests of their party allegiance to the Democrats above their alleged interests to the GLBT communities. They refused to comment on Obama’s bigotry.

    Just like Moag.

    Moag is simply lying when he says that “when Obama was on record as being Against Prop 8 and has and does say dozens and dozens of other serious statements about being pro-Gay equality.” Obama said he opposed Prop 8 because it was a “constitutional” amendment. He consistently pandered to bigots in his campaign and won them over. He didn’t even post a GLBT program on his website until after he’d won. He told the platform committee to excise the names of our communities from the Democrat platform.

    Obama and Biden (who voted for DOMA) never moved to repeal DOMA in their years in the Senate or anything else that might piss off the bigots. That’s because he wanted, and got, their votes, and because, as he admitted at Saddleback, he’s a superstition driven christer bigot too. The bigots elected him and now they own him.

    With Democrats like these who needs Republicans.

  • Tim in SF

    @Bill Perdue: Bill, Obama’s contribution to our fight (or lack thereof, I should say) notwithstanding, I think your analysis of the timing of when who got what money is way off. I followed the money on this campaign closer than anything else. It doesn’t match up with what you are claiming. :-(

    Besides, I don’t see how criticizing Obama get us anywhere. How is this going to help us win next time? You tell me. :-)

  • Bill Perdue

    @Tim in SF: Tim, about the money I only mentioned union money and am unaware of the money timeline in general. As I understand it we did raise more than Yes On 8 and outspent them.

    My point is not about the injection of money but about the political timeline, the timing of the injection of Obama’s bigotry by Yes on 8. IT came late and it lost us the election by galvanizing, organizing and empowering the bigot vote.

    The question is this; is Obama a friend or an enemy? So far he’s an enemy. I don’t expect that to change. The left is oing to begin politically dismantling Obama’s program for war, austerity and bigotry on January 20th, 2009. The Unions, GLBT movements for an inclusive ENDA, hate crimes and hate speech legislation, and the GI and civilian antiwar movements will be active in that work and as soon as you answer the question about whether he’s an enemy or not feel free to join us.

  • Roland Basque

    What a discordant amalgamation of dissolute popinjays.Queers know there is something intrinsically defective within them as they strive for legitimate adulation.What a fucking circus.

  • Tim in SF

    @Bill Perdue: “am unaware of the money timeline in general. As I understand it we did raise more than Yes On 8 and outspent them. “
    I think a close, careful analysis of the timeline is crucial to deconstructing our performance on this campaign, and learning from it. We should know everything that happened and when. Especially the money part.

    As for Obama, hey, I pick my battles. Obama isn’t one of them. He’s not where I would like him to be on gay marriage, but he is good on other issues, like gays in the military, which I think is actually a more important issue – if we are openly defending our country, I think it opens doors. AFAIK, he is good on the other gay issues as well.

    Besides, I think one of the lessons we will learn (and something I’ve heard repeated here) is that Obama sucked the oxygen out of the No-on-8 campaign, in terms of a ground army. Every good left-leaning ally I know was too busy volunteering their time or spent all their money on his campaign. Didn’t leave much left over for No-on-8. Not that No-on-8 would have spent it wisely, but that’s another issue.

    As for the question of whether he is an enemy or not (and “joining” you then, whatever that means), I actually kind of think your comments about Obama are off topic. For today, in this thread, I am interested in this Rolling Stone article. I am interested in its accuracy and how people want to use the information therein to learn from our mistakes. Or not. (as in, what did you think about what I wrote in post number 67 above? I’m curious).

    What I’m not interested in is debating Obama. Maybe you should do that on your blog.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Tim in SF:
    Fund raising is secondary, voter turnout is primary and Obama turned out the bigots. When you say I actually kind of think your comments about Obama are off topic you couldn’t be more wrong.

    And I actually think you don’t understand why we failed. In your No. 67 you reiterate a lot of the technical reasons but end us saying What little our side managed to do in the face of this tsunami was insufficient, done badly and far too late. Lesson learned.

    It was not simply a technical failure. Those failures, including ceding the battle in minority communities by never entering it, all flowed from the political failure of No on 8 to combat Obama’s homophobia. That was the tsunami.

    What does this mean: ”…he is good on other issues, like gays in the military, which I think is actually a more important issue – if we are openly defending our country. Does that mean you support the use of the US military to commit mass murder in the Middle East, and they’ve repeatedly done in Vietnam, the Philippines and all over Latin America? What else has the US military done since the Civil War? I’d rather GLBT folks not be involved in the genocidal international gangsterism of the Bushes, Clinton and Obama.

    When you say “Every good left-leaning ally I know was too busy volunteering their time or spent all their money on his campaign” you’re mistaken. The Democrat party is a right centrist party as are most of it’s activists. They support the war, bailouts for the rich and pandering to bigots. That’s why they voted for Obama.

    What blog. Should I create some self-serving device like that idiot Moag? To babble with other leftist? No thanks.

  • Bill Perdue

    @@Anthony in Nashville: Anthony, your instincts were right.

    Here is some new polling data from Public Policy Institute of California done since the election. The data gives the lie to the myth that African Americans defeated us but it does point out the role of thee usual suspects including Republicans voters, those without a college degree those over 55 plus evangenital christians.

    But the key poll number indicates that

    “Three in four Republicans (77%) voted yes, two in three Democrats (65%) voted no, and independents were more closely divided (52% yes, 48% no). Supporters of Republican presidential candidate John McCain were far more likely than those who backed President-elect Barack Obama to vote yes (85% vs. 30%).”

    In other words Obama voters and Democrats, who beat McCain 61% to 39% are the ones who put Prop 8 over the top. 30 to 35% of his voters voted against us.

  • Doogie Mormon Agnostic

    I’m a former Mormon turned agnostic and sympathetic to the cause of gay marriage (notice I did not say ‘civil right’ – this strategy was a mistake IMO). Let me offer a few suggestions on how to deal with the Mormons in the future:

    First: recognize that for the Mormons this effort was just as much an effort to join the ‘Christian Club’ as an effort to protect and defend their definition of marriage. The Mormons were drafted into the Yes on 8 campaign by the Catholic bishop in San Francisco and other evangelicals – a so-called ‘council of churches’. For the Mormons, who are often singled out by these churches as ‘not Christian’ this opened an opportunity to work within a coalition and demonstrate their ‘christianess’ to all of these other people who deny to Mormons the thing that is most central to their core. All I can say is SHAME, SHAME on the leaders of these churches who drafted the Mormons into this cause knowing full well that they would do most of the dirty work for a few ‘atta boys’. At the end of the day, they got their way and left everyone blaming ‘the Mormons’. I have yet to see anyone take them on for drafting the outcast to do their dirty work. Hit the Catholics and Evangelics hard and they’ll hesitate next time to involve the Mormons so much. Publicize that the Mormons got ‘used’ by these other groups to do their dirty work and it will demoralize the Mormons so that they won’t come out swinging next time. That’s the right way to deal with the Mormons.

    Second: recognize that Mormons are thriving on the protests against them and basking in their new-found ‘persecution complex’. Protesting against the mormons is the wrong strategy because it hardens them to do this again in the future. Persectuion is actually strengthening the conservative core within Mormonism.

    Again, make their leaders feel like they got used.

  • JB

    One word sums up the Prop. 8 aftermath: hypocrisy. Gay people want their rights and are calling Prop. 8, “Prop H8” and are throwing the word “bigot” around a whole lot and yet they stand outside a place of worship considered sacred to a lot of people and demonstrate a little bit of bigotry themselves. How can they expect sympathy when they are doing exactly what they accuse others of doing? And that is discriminating and intimidating others based on their beliefs. Practice what you preach! Maybe you don’t realize that Mormons, as individual members of the church, donated money on their own free will and actually only make up about 2% of California’s population! About 70% of black voters voted Yes on 8 but it would be considered a hate crime or racist to protest outside a predominately black church, so why is it okay to do that at a Mormon church? It doesn’t make any sense to me why Mormons are targeted. Maybe because they’re right….

  • Tim in SF

    @JB: if you want to hang out with us queers, you should do so in a gay bar.

  • dalea

    Quote: ‘Yes, no one is stopping anyone from going around knocking on doors.’

    The No on 8 leadership did; they refused to support door to door canvasing. They had no literature to handout. The conscious decision of the leadership was that the campaign would not be: ‘the kind that passes out flyers’. Flat out told that door to door was forbidden. Oh, we would need to create our own, translate it into Spanish and pay for printing it.

  • Jaroslaw

    AMEN Tim in SF – If JB really doesn’t understand, he should hang out in a Gay bar for a while and TALK to people instead of BSing on a blog here.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Doogie Mormon Agnostic:

    Oh. Now the Mormons were the victims?

    Poor babies. How awful.

    They fucked the gay community over, big time and now they are feeling sorry for themselves.

    Fuck them and asses they rode into the Christian camp on.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    See my post to Doogie.

  • Doug

    @Justin Allen: Who knew there were so many bigots?!

    The comment should be: One can never underestimate how many bigots are out there or how many reasons those bigots can find to hate us. There’s never any good reason, and the bigots’ number is legion — without number!

Comments are closed.