The No on 8 Campaign Virtual Town Hall Meeting You Don’t Want to Miss

Remember back in May, when it was clear that there was going to be a pitched battle over Proposition 8 in California, how all the folks behind the then-nascent No on 8 campaign invited the community to ask questions and give its input in a virtual town hall meeting that was open to anyone?

Neither do we, but now that the Prop. has passed and people are seriously questioning the effectiveness of our leadership, they are very interested in what you have to say.

Tomorrow night at 6:30pm PST, you’ll have a chance to get answers to your very pressing questions in a panel called “Prop. 8: The Facts and Future.” Questions can be submitted at [email protected] or through the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center website. We’ll be live blogging the whole thing for those who can’t attend.

The panel is a who’s who of Prop 8 leader: Lorri “The Only People We Should Blame is the Mormons!” Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Geoff Kors, Executive Director, Equality California (pictured), Rev. Eric Lee, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights Assembly Member-Elect John A. Pérez, Steve Smith, the No on 8 Senior Campaign Consultant and Amy Balliett, founder of the web netroots group Join the Impact.

We’ve been calling for gay leadership to be more responsive to the community, so this is a great first step, but you’ll have to forgive Queerty if he’s a bit skeptical. The message from the No on 8 campaign since the election has been “This was the Mormon’s fault, not ours. Do not question our tactics. Questioning us means you want to divide the community. Don’t be a divider! Questioning us is very very bad!”, which is exactly the sort of things we say when we’re covering our ass, too.

There’s something really alarming about No on 8 leaders refusing to acknowledge that they had anything to do with Prop. 8 passing. Had the proposition been defeated, I doubt they’d be giving the Mormons sole credit for it, so it’s strange to hear them give the Church of Latter Day Saints all the blame. But they have and at times in the last few weeks, it seems that the No on 8 campaign is now the No on Mormons campaign.

If you lose a football game, you can sit around blaming the other team or you can look at what you need to improve so you can defeat them next time. If the No on 8 campaign leadership can’t recognize the mistakes it made, it is doomed to repeat them. Before planning the future, we need a clear-eyed look at the recent past. If Barbara Walters has taught us anything, it’s that’s all’s forgiven if you can fess up to your mistakes- preferably in front of a gauze filter.

What questions do you think the leaders of the No on 8 campaign ought to be answering tomorrow? What do you want to ask?

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  • Raphael

    Here’s my question:

    How can we establish a precedent that civil rights should NEVER be decided by popular vote?

  • Rick Heintz

    I volunteered with No on 8 almost twice a week and everytime I went to phone bank I said we should be doing more face time with undecided voters. Why didn’t we?

  • Willie Hewes

    Why are you afraid to show gay families? Why did you not tell people that if they were worried about protecting Teh Children should worry about the children of gay parents, too, and allow them to have fully recognised and protected families?

    What do you plan to do to change the minds of good people who voted yes because they were worried about their children learning about homosexuality?

    Why did you call the “teach the children” argument a lie without addressing the worry and fear that underlies it?

  • ggreen

    Editor dearest, you are the only person I have heard being shrill about the Mormons “innocence”. (You are preaching to wrong choir.) There is plenty of blame to go around the first thing that our community needs to do is to decide what to do next. The assigning blame game can be done in any bar at happy hour.

  • Mad Professah

    Where is the forum physically located? You don’t actually say where the Forum is going to happen.

    I disagree that the NO ON 8 campaign has been saying that the Mormons are all to blame and been refusing to answer questions…

    The main leaders (Kate Kendell, Geoff Kors, Lorri Jean and Delores Jacobs) have been appearing on multiple panels, all over the state and in the media, answering all sorts of questions from people who may or may not have been involved with the campaign to defeat Prop 8, now that the measure has passed.

    My question would be:

    What do you think were the three biggest mistakes the NO ON 8 campaign made (or things you would do differently knowing what you know now), and how will the 2010 campaign be structured to not repeat those mistakes? (Cause there will be a 2010 campaign, either to defend the justices who vote to strike down Prop 8 or a new measure to re-legalize gay marriage.)

  • Japhy Grant

    @Mad Professah: It’s a “virtual town hall”, so it’s only online,as far as we can tell. You can visit it on the site. The details are hazy and we’ll try to flesh them out for you today.

  • Wolf


    I sort of agree with ggreen. Assigning blame and asking questions NOW afterwards is a waste of time and resources. This sounds more like damage control for them and I won;t be a part of it. Its ludicrous to look back and play this game instead of moving forward on other ways and means to get our rights.

  • mark

    I think broadening our community discussion to Historic allies NOW, NAACP, Latino/a, Asian, Native Peoples, Jewish leaders would be advantageous. I want a CA intitative which states NO MINORITY is left out of equal protection, and NO INTIATIVE can strip away human rights by a simple 50+1 vote of the electorate.

  • mark

    LDS elders and UT residents “civics lesson” of a BOYCOTT should remain in our plans, or we will face this CASH COW of H8 every G*D DAMN election.

  • Leland Frances

    Fucking please! Unless Jean, Kors, and Smith are going to FINALLY and publicly APOLOGIZE to the gay community for TOTALLY fucking up the NO campaign and RESIGN their positions, then I’M NOT INTERESTED. Nixon wasn’t a crook, either!

    Unless someone calls out freshly minted Media Whore and All Around IDIOT Savant Amy Balliett, founder of the web netroots group Join the Impacted Bowels, for saying that we should leave the Mormons alone and that CHURCHES should decide what to call OUR relationships [yes, that’s exactly the essence of what she told] it’s an even bigger waste of time.

    1. DUMP the “leaders” who ignored the MANY lessons of past campaigns for gay rights [Anita Bryant 1977; Briggs Initiative 1978, ad infinitum] and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    2. Send back to Civil Right Movements 101 class confused children with a fast broadband connection like Balliett who want to play patty cake with our homohating enemies and call for circle jerk demonstrations at sites like City Halls which are NOT the center of our problems.

    3. Enough with the demos at City Halls and State Houses and in our own neighborhoods. Take the demonstrations/protests where it belongs: Mormon churches, the home of the SF Catholic Archbishop who, it’s been documented CONSPIRED with the leaders of the Magic Jesus Underwear Cult to introduce and pass Prop H8TE; to the HQs of Focus on the Family and CA’s Traditional Values Coalition, et al., etc. Did we learn NOTHING from the black civil rights movement?!!

    4. Give up the myth that just parading lambs before the bloodthirsty lions would have opened their hearts. That is, the only gay couples that SHOULD have been in those commericials were “how could ANYONE object” object lessons like 50+ yrs. together Phyllis Lyon and [the late] Del Martin. Their absence alone is enough to demand the resignation of their spokesperson Kate Kendall, one of the NO Big Four With the Small Brains.

  • Al Benson

    Hear, Hear! Lealand Frances dares to name names and point out that our mis-leaders are the real cause this thing went south after all the poling showed that Californians were for equality. The 4 mis-leaders need to go if are to win the next round of this battle…and oh yeah, id like to see some accountability for the 40 million dollars we all chipped in to send them.

  • Darin W

    Japhy, questioning or being skeptical of our campaign over protesting the opposition and the fact that our rights were taken away is the argument that our opposition makes. It suggests that putting this on the ballot was OK. We have to make people aware of the injustice that was done and not just retreat within the walls of our community for a round of finger pointing. The quality of our campaign is somewhat irrelevant considering that in a fair world we would not have needed a campaign at all.

  • Kevin

    It’s not a football game, it’s someone actively fighting to take away our constitutional rights. While I agree that we should work on our defense, it’s COMPLETELY VALID TO BE FUCKING PISSED about the outcome… and to do something with that anger.

  • Dexter

    I second Leland Frances from above.

  • chuck

    @Leland Frances:

    I hear you too, buddy. There wasn’t a soul in the City Hall on Saturday, and downtown Tampa was like a fucking ghost town.

    What good is the echo of a bull horn bouncing back from empty buildings and streets? It’s like the tree falling in the woods. Did anyone hear the sound of the tree as it fell?

    Take it to their fucking doorstep from whence it came. Let them step in bags of shit. Leave burning Books of Mormon, Bibles, whatever it takes on their doorsteps just like the shit they dump on ours.

    An eye for an eye…a tooth for a tooth.

    And get the bull horns out on Sunday morning when they are in their temples, so that they can hear us, loud and clear, even if we are forced to demonstrate from across the street by the cops.

    Take some notes from the good Reverend Fred Phelps. He’s a Master at the art of “protesting”.

    When was the last time you saw him and his flock shouting at an empty Civic building?


  • Darin W

    Perhaps Queerty should not make any statements of opinion — and only “invite the community to ask questions and give its input in a virtual town hall meeting” before it says anything. Then, Queerty need to prove to us that it has taken all of our opinions into consideration. And then we might allow them to do something.

  • Darin W

    By the way, what was Queerty protesting when it was out on the front lines in one of the protests in hollywood? Were you protesting our leaders mistakes, Japhy?

    Why were you not out in front of the gay and lesbian center protesting this “alarming” silence?

  • Troy

    My question:

    Why did Mr. Kors and Ms. Jean take extended vactions during the summer of this campaign and will the new leaders (hopefully there will be new ones) be required to actually WORK during the last 4 months of the campaign full time.

  • Troy

    My question:

    Why did Mr. Kors and Ms. Jean take extended vacations during the summer of this campaign and will the new leaders (hopefully there will be new ones) be required to actually WORK during the last 4 months of the campaign full time.

  • Sean

    I hope we get some answers even though I too am skeptical. What I am not liking myself is the call for Morman heads and disapraging remarks against African-Americans, Latinos, people over 60+, Catholics, and more. Our community is America by default! Our diversity is unparalleled in our civil rights advance. We look, sound, pray, and believe like Americans and are unique as American opportunity has given us the gift to be. We must not be Mr or Ms Nice Gay but by turning ourselves into our opponents is not the answer either.

    We must show that as American families in our own right our economic security is dependent on full marital rights. Without rights many of us cannot afford the legal fees required to protect ourselves nor the legal standing in which to protect our families due to a misdirected relative or state. We must show that during the economic crisis we too are threatened just like other American families from a loss of job, the high cost of day care, the burden of taxes, the strain of a mortgage, the struggle to keep on track to retirement, and the weight of credit card debt. We must go on offense on the issue not get in the face of our opponents.

    Standing in front of the Morman Temple is not going to convince a possible supporter in Florida, Montana, Delaware, or Tennessee to come to our side. We must reach out to them and reveal ourselves as every Americans neighbor not the screaming banshee at the temple gates. Ours in a personal campaign door-to-door with our neighbors, co-workers, relatives, church patrons, play groups, membership groups, and lesgislators to show them we are American families like them who are threatened by the very nation they love.

    Determination not anger should be our “CHARGE!” word this next year. We must advance out flag and make sure it has America behind it rather than under America’s feet.

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