prop 8

There’s Still A Helluva Lot of Infighting Between Gay Inc. and Olson/Boies


It’s sort of adorable how, after attacking the American Foundation for Equal Rights’s federal Prop 8 lawsuit, and then trying to join the lawsuit, and then forcibly (by Judge Vaughn Walker) being resigned to mostly sit on the sidelines while Ted Olson and David Boies try the case on Jan. 11, Gay Inc. groups including the ACLU’s LGBT Project, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Lambda Legal are all pretending they’re on great terms with AFER’s Chad Griffin & Co. Which is funny, because they aren’t!

Sure, these gay rights groups all want the same thing as Griffin’s team: To have Prop 8 declared unconstitutional and pave the way for same-sex marriage rights. But ever since AFER quietly introduced the Perry v. Schwarzenegger lawsuit just days before the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 on May 26, all of these groups have publicly attacked the courtroom approach to securing marriage rights. That is, until they tried to join the lawsuit, only to be rebuffed by Griffin in a tersely worded open letter accusing the trio of organizations of “[having] unrelentingly and unequivocally acted to undermine this case even before it was filed,” and, as such, finding it “inconceivable that you would zealously and effectively litigate this case if you were successful in intervening.”


But in a report in California Lawyer magazine — that serves as an excellent primer to anyone just joining the Prop 8 news cycle — Chuleenan Svetvilas claims “the LGBT legal groups insist they have all moved on” from the fracas dividing the two camps.

We can tell you, with much authority, that’s not the truth. Or at least, the whole truth. Griffin & Co. remain staunchly adversarial with these groups, even though they are working with them in an administrative role, offering assistance like expert witnesses and background research. And the ACLU, LL, and NCLR are still furious they won’t be included among the possible victors if Perry ultimately succeeds. They’ve accepted their defeat, yes, but none of these civil liberties champions are comfortable being pushed to spectator status in the lawsuit — all of which could have been avoided if they at least gave Perry a modicum of respect in the beginning.

Kate Kendell, the attorney and executive director of NCLR, now insists “there’s nothing I want more than for this lawsuit to succeed. And we are committed to doing whatever we are asked to do to help ensure its success.” Adds James Esseks, co-director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, avoiding a direct answer of whether he supports the litigation approach: “We are interested in doing whatever we can to make sure their case is as successful as possible. And we wish the plaintiffs’ legal team the best. We know they’re doing everything they can to put together a great case.”

This is a far cry from the ACLU’s LGBT Project founder Nan Hunter calling the lawsuit “reckless.” And a far cry from Lambda Legal — which helped overturn sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas and convince the Iowa Supreme Court, in Varnum v. Brien, to legalize gay marriage — saying, in a group Gay Inc. letter, “Rather than filing premature lawsuits, we need to talk to our friends, family and neighbors, and help them understand why denial of the freedom to marry is wrong.” (That letter, released May 27, arrived on the same day as AFER’s press conference announcing Perry, though NCLR’s legal director Shannon Price Minter says the Gay Inc. groups, including HRC, GLAD, GLAAD, and Freedom to Marry, now claims the timing was merely a coincidence, and not a direct attack on the litigation. LOLs, right?)

So it’s nice to see the ACLU, NCLR, and Lambda Legal all getting on board with Perry after the fact. But don’t think for a minute these two parties are walking into Judge Walker’s courtroom on Monday holding hands.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #aclu #americancivillibertiesunion #americanfoundationforequalrights stories and more


  • terrwill

    I am still a little leery of former frightwing soldier
    Ted Olsen. However, I am hoping that what happened to his wife led to some sort of awakening which inititated his departure
    from his formerly wicked ways…………..

  • Brian NJ

    The fear of losing, trying to win by waiting, trying to win by appeasement and phone calls, believing in a win based on the lie of an assurance of being granted an insider status — are all the failures of Gay Inc.

    Thank God for Ted Olson and company who know how to swing a bat, and use it are coming to our rescue.

  • Bill

    The only way we will EVER achieve equality is by supreme court order.

    Sad, but true.

    The heterosexuals who created each and every LGTB person on the planet today have showed us over and over again that they will attack us at each and every opportunity. Whether on the streets or at the ballot box.

    And a law-abiding citizen of the United States should NOT have to defend their rights at the ballot box. Or seek to have them approved by those who seek to oppress them.

    We are being abused via the law and denied WHAT IS ALREADY OURS by the very group of people, those pesky heteros, that created us. And they could care less. And they think we deserve it. And they have the nerve to utter the word ‘morality.’

    Clearly, god DOES make mistakes…

  • Flex

    You’ve based this article on old news. “”Rather than filing premature lawsuits, we need to talk to our friends, family and neighbors, and help them understand why denial of the freedom to marry is wrong.” (That letter, released May 27,” A lot has changed since then, and does it matter if there are divisions between the legal groups? It sounds like they’ve compiled a worthy body of work, and now it’s time to put it to the test.

    Pass or fail, the religious bastards responsible for the passage of proposition 8, and the anti-gay vote in Maine, have gotten away with everything. Their religion deserves to be bankrupted. They need to pay, severely, for everything that they’ve imposed through their disgusting amendments, and repeals.

  • Christopher

    I’m just confused. What is this piece supposed to tell us? What do we take away? How is it in the least productive? These groups have realized that they acted prematurely (although in my opinion there was a legitimate concern with Ted Olsen and Co riding in on a horse to save the gays). They are now working hard to assist in whatever capacity possible and they all hope for success. The tone of this piece bothers me a great deal.

  • Mick

    @Terrwill- I shared your initial cynicism about Olsen, but really, when one is honest, the conservatives position SHOULD be marriage equality. Conservatives are supposed to be the ones ensuring the LEAST amount of government intrusion and the MOST individual freedoms as possible. Conservative values have been perverted by the bible humping wackos. Olsen is being true to a conservative’s values to be on our side.

    With all that said, we will win at every level until it hits SCOTUS. There we will be handed a decision that invalidates everything that has been won in the last 3 decades. Check out Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence…that dissent will be the majority opinion in this matter.

  • Jon Evanws

    Gay Inc = Status quo politics

    Thank goodness we finally get someone who advocates instead of participating in the status quo of politics.

    Chad Griffin and Co = Hero for our community!!

    Even if we loose- at least someone went out fighting. There is a time and a place to stand up for what is fair- this is that time and I wish them the best of luck!

    I pay PLENTY of taxes and work my ass off- I deserve the same rights as anyone else.

    If you want to bring religion into this argument- I dont believe in your religion- so therefore it doesnt mean anything to me and I still want the same rights as you!

    getting back to work now :)

  • Brian NJ


    The take-away is that Gay Inc. does not know how to fight, and have grown arrogant and complacent, and find criticism to be irritating due to sickening provincialism.

    But they have received help from a true fighter, Ted Olsen, and like snooty, pampered brats, want to make sure that they are invited back to court — and I do mean court in the Elizabethan sense. Hopefully they will stay out of Olson’s way.

  • Chris

    You know, there’s a good reason “Gay Inc” have been reluctant to take this to SCOTUS. Anyone who thinks this is a home run case is either totally uninformed, or an idiot. Olson and Boies could very easily lose this case, and if they do there are two possibilities. One, the court issues a narrow opinion that applies only to this specific case, leaves Prop 8 intact, and allows for future challenges – OR – they issue a far-reaching ruling that could undermine efforts at achieving gay marriage in other states, and even potentially undo the victories we’ve achieved so far.

    If you want to have a look at a group who lost their Supreme Court case, take a look at the pro-lifers. It’s been almost 40 years since Roe v Wade, and as much as they may protest and rally and donate and campaign and elect friendly politicians, they don’t achieve any measurable change. Their “victories” are all short-lived before they are overturned based on that one decision. Yes, abortion remains a controversial issue, but it also remains legal – the decision handed down by SCOTUS has lasted 40 years, and won’t likely change much in the near future.

    Too many members of the gay community seems to look ahead to this case with the assumption that we will be the victors. They fail to appreciate the consequences to the movement if we lose. We’ve been achieving victory for fifty years, slowly but steadily, and building up steam in the last decade. If we lose this challenge, we become the new pro-life movement, picketing and campaigning in futility for the next half-century.

  • T2inDC

    Christopher: (No. 5)

    The lesson here is STOP FUNDING GAY INC.

    They are NOT on our side – they are only interested in their salaries and expense accounts.

  • Brian NJ

    Ridiculous. There is a sufficient body of SCOTUS law to vigorously proceed, and win. Not only gay people have a stake in the outcome. Every American’s rights are implicated when the Equal Protection Clause is violated. The aggrieved have a right and an obligation to proceed to an immediate remedy, and not to be held hostage to Gay Inc.’s imperious procrastinations.

  • AndrewW

    @ Chris #10

    Victories? For over 50 years? Really?

    Name them.

    We have NEVER passed a single LGBT law in the US Congress and we have never won a single popular vote regarding LGBT Equality.

    You sound like Gay Inc. suggesting “progress” while asking for more donations. Progress towards our equality can ONLY be measured by public opinion. Gay Inc. does NOTHING in that regard.

    We will be equal when people believe we are.

  • adamblast

    “Rather than filing premature lawsuits, we need to talk to our friends, family and neighbors, and help them understand why denial of the freedom to marry is wrong.”

    JEEBUS. They could hardly be more wrong. If the last two years have shown anything, it is that the majority can NEVER be “educated” to grant a minority equal rights, or trusted with a minority’s fate at the ballot box. It is too easy to pander to their sense of superiority, and we will never have a bully pulpit that matches the Sunday pulpit.

    We will win our equality through the courts or not at all.

  • Chris

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, Brian. I’m just saying it’s a HUGE risk to put this in front of the Roberts court, and the consequences (if the result is a broad-reaching decision against us) are gargantuan.

    “Imperious procrastinations” seems pretty ludicrous to me considering what “Gay Inc” has achieved in the past ten years. Are there groups in the mix that I personally consider worthless? Sure. But the aggregate group referred to in this article has accomplished a lot with a strategy that proceeded state-by-state and won the sure victories without risking the ultimate loss.

    I’m not a huge football fan, but I understand that teams don’t win much by throwing a Hail Mary into the end zone on every play. I share everyone’s desire for a big, definitive victory that we can rub in the face of every homophobe out there, but the outcome of this case is terrifyingly uncertain – and the potential consequences dire.

  • adamblast

    It’s not that we think this case will win. It’s that we know the “ballot box hearts and minds” strategy is an even bigger loser, and the status quo is intolerable.

  • Chris


    I’m sorry, I was under the impression we now have five US States and the District of Columbia granting full marriage benefits to same-sex couples, and a host of others that recognize marriages performed elsewhere or offer domestic partnerships with almost-equivalent rights. Seven years ago, those numbers were zero and zero. Who do you think made that happen, the Same-Sex Marriage Gnomes? It was the result of persistent advocacy, lobbying, and public education campaigns led by many of the groups labeled here as “Gay Inc.”

    The fact that no battle has been won on the Federal level should DISSUADE people from wanting to go there. As a country, we have come a whole lot closer to amending our Constitution against gay marriage than approving it. The anti-gay voters are more angry and more mobilized. Here’s a question: let’s say the Olson and Boies challenge is successful. What stops Congress from amending the Constitution to outlaw gay marriage? They will certainly have the motivation.

    As for public opinion, any number of studies have consistently shown that attitudes toward the LGBT community are slowly advancing, but there are gaping differences from state to state. That’s why the state-to-state strategy works: you get laws passed in states that don’t have a large enough voting base to pass reactionary laws in response. California was a gamble that we lost, but I am of the opinion that the right response is to go back to the strategy that was slowly winning, not gamble again with all fifty states in the balance.

    To go back to (AKA, push way too far) my football analogy… It’s taken us an awful lot of plays, but we’ve kept advancing, and though we’ve only made it to our own 30, the difference here is there is no clock. We can keep advancing slowly just as long as we want – or we can risk a Hail Mary, which is what Olson and Boies are doing. If we succeed, sure we put points on the board, but if we fail we may sacrifice all of our hard-fought progress. Some of us would rather just maintain possession and keep up the slow advance.

  • Brian NJ

    The already was “the big loss:” Bowers v. Hardwick, and I am not ashamed to say I cried when I read it. But I also cried when SCOTUS called it garbage and threw it in the trash. Once they did that, the door has opened for us. Now we just need to walk through it. The State gay marriage cases in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Iowa wrote the entire matter already for SCOTUS. The reasoning in those cases is simply unassailable. What is missing is not the law, it is BALLS. Gay Inc. has somehow rolled over and let the U.S. Government rub our tummies. Once the gay movement regains it’s freedom, and breaks from the lock step march it has with the Democratic Party, they will again act like advocates, instead of residents of Stepford.

    The princesses of Gay Inc. have no clothes, and it is time to vigorously challenge their judgment and nutty excuses for inaction and provincialism, and to not accept every single word that comes out of their sweetened mouths as true.

  • naghanenu

    I am curious to see how to see how this goes.

    I want to watch it. This is going to raise some much dirt…sigh….I love court dramas….(i am visually Boston Legal)

    if it is however the snorefest that was OJ’s trial..then not so much.

  • Sam

    I think everyone here should actually READ the California Lawyer article linked to in the post. It’s a very good examination of the issues involved and the road that Perry has gone down to this point. If Queerty had read the article, they’d know that the gay groups’ release was written and approved before anyone even KNEW about this case – so it wasn’t showing disrespect.


    “Victories? For over 50 years? Really?

    Name them. ”

    Okay. In no particular order:

    – Fricke v. Lynch – requires schools to allow same-sex prom dates
    – Romer v. Evans – overturns sodomy laws
    – Lawrence v. Texas – strikes down anti-gay Colorado law
    – Goodrich v. MA Dept. of Public Health – Massachusetts marriage
    – Howard v. Arkansas – overturns gay adoption ban
    – Kerrigan v. Dept. of Public Health – Connecticut marriage
    – Baker v. Vermont – Vermont civil unions
    – Limon v. Kansas – strikes anti-gay consent laws
    – In re: Marriage Cases – California marriage
    – Varnum v. Brien – Iowa marriage
    – Lewis v. Harris – NJ civil unions
    – Miller v. Jenkins – same-sex parenting rights
    – In re: Gill – Florida gay adoption ban
    – Schroer v. Library of Congress – ruling that trans discrimination is banned by Title VII
    – Martinez v. County of Monroe – New York can recognize out of state marriages
    – Gillman v. Holmes County (and about two dozen others) – requires schools to allow GSAs

    I could keep going, but that’s just a few of the cases these “Gay, Inc.” groups have won for us. So before you show up like some ignorant activist dilettante and bash those who’ve won so much before you even started paying attention, study some history first.

  • Sam

    @Chris: Excellent reply.

    And for those who act like losing would be no big deal and at least we went for it, I have this question: what will you say to the 2-4 states that could get marriage through the courts in the next 3-5 years but DON’T thanks to a loss at SCOTUS? Sorry, but some rich dudes in Hollywood couldn’t wait ’til 2012 to repeal Prop 8, so you don’t get marriage either?

  • terrwill

    No. 20 · Sam: Thank you for talking me off the ledge……. : P

  • BethRa

    @Adamblast – I agree that, at least where marriage is concerned, the courts are probably our best bet (thought not our only hope – remember that in both Vermont and New Hampshire, equal marriage was won not in court but in by legislative vote). But that’s not the same as saying all court cases are a good idea.

    @Andrew – in fact, we have won at the ballot box. A few that come to mine: Maine’s anti-discrimination law was (finally) upheld by popular vote, Washington’s Referendum 71 gave same-sex couples “everything but marriage” by popular vote, and Kalamazoo passed an anti-discrimination bill. Not a huge list, but one that represents huge progress (a scary thought, but still true) As does the fact that 48% of voters in Maine supported MARRIAGE, whereas a year or so ago, you couldn’t have gotten 30% of Mainers to support even civil unions.

  • REA

    This post is really nasty. You really think “Gay, Inc.” is not acting with sense and decency to all gays? Yes, this lawsuit could win, but it is a HUGE gamble. You don’t think it is a little harsh to demonize groups for holding a perfectly legitimate stance that we should, I don’t know, wait 10 years until we have a majority of the public on our side before filing a federal lawsuit that has a 50/50 shot of either a) winning marriage; or b) setting gay rights back 50 years?

  • Brian NJ

    50/50 shot! Wait ten years! Gay Inc. has become so imperious, now they are making up numbers. Just nutz.

  • Brian NJ

    And don’t forget, David DuBois helped get O.J. acquitted, which was one in a million. There was a blood trail literally leading from the murder scene to his house. So enough with the bullshit numbers. WHAT DO YOU SAY WE KICK SOME ASS!

  • FakeName

    Chris: If you want to have a look at a group who lost their Supreme Court case, take a look at the pro-lifers. It’s been almost 40 years since Roe v Wade, and as much as they may protest and rally and donate and campaign and elect friendly politicians, they don’t achieve any measurable change.

    Are you nuts? Anti-choice factions have been chipping away at Roe for decades. In case after case the right to choose has been restricted subject to O’Connor’s “undue burden” test. Oh no, it’s not an undue burden to make a woman wait 24 hours, even if she has to drive 500 miles or more to the nearest provider because the anti-choicers hound providers out of business, or shoot them dead to the cheers of adoring righties. Roe faces challenges in almost every SCOTUS session and, with the current conservative bloc on the Court, generally results in some restriction or another being upheld with an opinion re-affirming the general principle. The end result is a constitutional right so restricted that exercising it becomes functionally impossible.

    Sam: – Romer v. Evans – overturns sodomy laws
    – Lawrence v. Texas – strikes down anti-gay Colorado law

    You have these reversed.

  • Chris


    My point still stands. After 40 years of adamant campaigning, and even though many states (likely a majority) would have it otherwise, abortion remains Federally legal.

    Your statement is absolutely correct, and I may have understated the way the Roe decision has been undermined through a myriad of devious tricks and workarounds. My point was to point out a parallel group, certainly far larger than the current gay rights community, and how futile their fight has been since a SCOTUS decision went against them.

    If you want to stretch the analogy, I certainly think limited domestic partnerships would be analogous to waiting periods and parental consents and whatnot. In states where the majority of voters would approve them, they would offer some avenue without violating the decision.

    Still, I ask, is that a scenario we really want to risk?

  • Guest

    Bitching hasn’t won rights for anyone. Sound legal strategy has.

    And Gay Inc. has done a lot over the past 8 months. I didn’t see Queerty at the signing of the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Act. I didn’t see Queerty attending the hearings on DOMA or ENDA of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. before Congress. I didn’t see Queerty giving public comment before the California Supreme Court.

    In fact, if bitching is all that Queerty can do, that’s something it might be good at: Judge Walker is now accepting public comments on the case until Friday. I wonder if Queerty will even submit anything – the LEAST that Queerty can do. (Really, the LEAST.) Queerty’s constant tirade against Gay Inc. makes no sense and just fuels the haters’ attempt to trump up the gay community’s infighting.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Queerty’s staff are really the Sally Kern and Peter Labarbara in disguise.

  • AndrewW

    CHRIS Said:

    “We now have five US States and the District of Columbia granting full marriage benefits to same-sex couples, and a host of others that recognize marriages performed elsewhere or offer domestic partnerships with almost-equivalent rights.”

    That wasn’t accomplished because our fellow citizens agreed with it – the Courts did most of that, ordering States to provide same-sex marriage. Having our equality forced on anyone is not equality. Laws will never create equality.

    A victory for our equality would only be one where our fellow citizens said “yes, we’re equal.” That has never happened.

    The Courts have been our only progress, but it’s still not equality.

  • AndrewW

    @ Sam:

    Those are legal victories and they do not contribute to equality.

    We will be equal when our fellow citizens believe we are. You can’t “order” that.

    The only path to real equality is changing minds. Legal and political efforts DO NOT change minds – only conversation and understanding does.

    My point is that we (as a Community) spend no time or resources doing the real work of creating equality. Instead, we wish and hope for a legal or political solution. Wishing and hoping are not Plans. HRC has been 28 years of promising a “political solution,” while spending $550 million. It hasn’t worked and it is not going to work.

    We should do everything we can in the Courts, but it is no substitute for actually creating our equality.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    It will be volatile if the Supreme Court rules that discrimination is legally sound.

  • Jimmy P. Wood

    THANK GOD for this lawsuit. It is the ONLY chance we have for equality now that John Henning and his team of goons and trolls have destroyed it for California.

  • Vicky K.

    I will believe that this is a reasonable strategy when someone can name five Justices that would entertain this line of reasoning, along with anything that Justice has written that would support such a belief.

    Of course, we may lose one or more Justices by the time the case reaches them (if it does), and I don’t expect any Obama appointees to be even as liberal as the Justices that they replace.

  • AndrewW

    @ GUEST #29:

    I don’t think Queerty is out of line for suggesting accountability for Gay Inc. The biggest problem of our dysfunctional movement is accountability. Their behavior regarding the filing of this lawsuit is telling.

    Until we have accountability and agree to be very honest and objective, Gay Inc. will continue to exist more for their salaries, than our equality.

    Ask Gay Inc. to share their strategy for obtaining full LGBT equality – they don’t have one. But, they have great strategies for raising money.

    HRC has received more than $550 million of our money, it’s fair to challenge them (and others), and to ask for their strategy.

    I’d like to know when and how we can win. “One of these days” is not an acceptable answer.

  • Guest

    Again, the risk is destroying families – actual families, real people – who are in loving and committed relationships now. Happened in Hawaii, happened in San Fransisco. Finally courts are ruling that existing marriages shouldn’t be invalidated, but even in Maine where people got married and then the majority took rights away from the minority, those marriages are left in legal limbo.

    We have him to thank for Bush, who appointed Roberts and Scalia, who will almost certainly vote against equality of any kind.

    Some might say there is no great reward without great risk, but these families are too precious to risk destroying by a Roberts-led court that issues an antigay ruling. They have the power to destroy families with one document.

    Why should Gay Inc. trust him after he was the indirect cause of setting back our movement by electing Bush? Even if it’s for his atonement, even if it’s for his ego, he has no vested interest in winning this case for us.

  • AndrewW

    @ Guest:

    The solution isn’t a court case or any political effort. The solution to our equality is conversation and understanding.

    We will not have an effective LGBT Movement until we take responsibility for our own equality. The hired guns have had 50 years and several billion dollars – it didn’t work.

    We need a new strategy and a new plan. I hope the lawsuit is successful, but even if it is, it WILL NOT CREATE EQUALITY.

  • tjr101

    I have to admit that there were initial doubts on my part as to the motives of the Ted Olsen in this case but for all of our sake I’m really hoping this succeeds.

    The problem is very obvious and it’s that the Roberts led supreme court leans too much to the right for there to be a realistic chance of success. Ginsburg, Stevens and Breyer are getting up there in age and likely may not even be around when this case reaches the supreme court.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Obama to make several more selections (liberal nominees) to tilt the balance. If this case reaches the court in its present composition, a defeat will wound us all for the rest of our lives and I’m still in my twenties.

    To those who say courts and political efforts don’t create equality I say ask a black person or any other racial minority how they feel about the Civil Rights Act and Brown v Board of Education. These actions didn’t immediately create equality but it was a crucial step that forced the majority to recognize the rights of minorities with the full weight of the law.

  • bryguy

    Vicky at 35: You can bet that Olson and his legal team carefully analyzed the Supreme Court votes before proceeding with this litigation, including a careful review of their past opinions on gay issues, equal protection and civil rights generally. They concluded that a win, NOW, with the current makeup of the court is viable. This is not some academic legal exercise — make no mistake, they are in it to win. As to the votes, I think they believe they can get the “liberal” wing — Ginsburg, Stevens and Breyer — as well as the untested Sotomayor (although no SC opinions, there is a wealth of federal appellate opinions she authored).

    The critical fifth vote is Kennedy — the very author of the hugely important Lawrence (2003) and Romer (1996) opinions. Kennedy has proved himself to be very open to recognizing constitutional protection against laws infringing on gay civil rights. Though certainly not a sure thing, it’s certainly reason for some guarded optimism. Kennedy surely will also be cognizant of a “inevitableness” of gay marriage may not want to be on the wrong side of history. Famously, in this regard, Justice Powell who was the deciding vote in the Bowers (1987) decision, stated publicly to New York University law students just three years after Bowers:

    “I do think [Bowers] was inconsistent in a general way with Roe. When I had the opportunity to reread the opinions a few months later I thought the dissent had the better of the arguments.”

    Trust that Kennedy will not make that mistake — however he decides, it will be after careful and judicious deliberation.

    Also, some commenters above are overstating the negative implications of a loss, I think. While it surely will have a negative impacts at the federal level, it will not have any impact on the legality of gay marriage in states where adopted legislatively or as a result of a state court ruling based on the state’s constitution. Further, it would not prevent a future Congress from legislating gay marriage, repealing DOMA, etc. Also, keep in mind that Romer was decided just 9 years after Bowers and Bowers itself was overruled after only 16 years — in 2003 by Lawrence.

  • Sam

    @FakeName: You are right. I was going too quickly. My mistake

    @AndrewW: You are right. We need to change hearts and minds and we are not doing that as a community. But I hardly think that’s these organizations fault. They launched a major effort to do just that (Tell 3 sponsored by a coalition of the major LGBT groups), and it fell on deaf ears. Since that time, Marriage Equality, Courage Campaign, NCLR, the Task Force and others have sponsored their own initiatives to encourage queers to get out and start talking to people about equality…and how many times have you seen THOSE efforts covered by Queerty?

    Also, how is it that we’re now up to “several billion dollars” raised by “Gay, Inc?” There’s no logical math that gets us to that amount of money. HRC – the biggest of them all – was only raising $6 million a year in 1995. The major explosion of gay money is very recent and – as five states with same-sex marriage in five years can attest – with money has come power.

    @Guest: There are no married couples in Maine in legal limbo. Same-sex marriage never went into effect, pending the outcome of the referendum, so no same-sex couples got married there. This is not California redux.

    @BethRa: I would add the Briggs Initiative and the nondiscrimination ordinance in Gainesville, Florida to your list.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Bryguy, You are like a cool breeze from Canada after steamy, hot, humid, dog-days of summer has NYC begging for October. Thanks for your #40 post.

  • Brian NJ


    You have misinterpreted the anger against Gay Inc. as “bitching.” It’s not bitching. It is trying to get the paid gay activists to clearly understand how they have become compromised by their elitism, susceptibility to political celebrity flattery, laziness, provincialism and isolation from the Gay community. Their “strategy” of being a Victorian spinster and “everyone will come to recognize your class and education and give you what you want” – is a complete failure.

    If you go to the HRC website there is NO CRITICISM of the fact that the White House has put repeals of DADT and DOMA at the bottom of the to do list. Every single other person is breaking ahead in line of gay rights due to this tea and crumpets I-am-an-important-insider “strategy.”

    Let me sum it up for you. When they told you they were on your side, but that you would have to be patient and wait, you should have said “We are not willing to do that. We are a minority, and need the extra protection now that the Democratic Party is in complete control of the legislative process. So until you deliver these repeals, we are going to mobilize pressure against you, because you are the government now.”

    If you believe that you an insider, you are a fool. Steve Goldstein in New Jersey used your strategy when the Democrats controlled the government and was told he had to wait too. Ask him now how well that worked.

    Break you agreement. Silence is no bargain, and when you are no longer a political problem, they will forget you in the end, just like they did in New Jersey.

  • CHIP1218

    If this goes to the Supreme Court, I say we bring in James Spader aka Alan Shore to represent the marriage equality side! I don’t think he’s been doing much since Boston Legal ended…

  • Cam

    No. 9 · Chris
    You know, there’s a good reason “Gay Inc” have been reluctant to take this to SCOTUS. Anyone who thinks this is a home run case is either totally uninformed, or an idiot. Olson and Boies could very easily lose this case…

    If you want to have a look at a group who lost their Supreme Court case, take a look at the pro-lifers.

    yeah Chris….and if you want to look at a group that won…look at the Black community. The Black community suffered setbacks such as the Dred Scott decision, but eventually won rights through the Supreme Court.

  • AndrewW

    @ Sam:

    Just because a few organizations failed at the real way to create equality – conversation, doesn’t me we should abandon the it. It is the only way to create equality. We will be equal when other people believe we are.

    HRC has received more than $550 million. Add GLAAD, Lambda, NGLTF and it’s more than $1 billion. All the political funding for LGBT – Stonewall, Log Cabin and many local, State organizations and recent SSM votes is $1.2 billion.

    Last Fall I worked with a group of LGBT advocates and activists. We wanted to know how much money has been given during the last 40 years. Many of the organizations provided their totals and we relied on some media reports for others. The total given to LGBT efforts in the last 40 years was $2.7 billion. We stopped at that amount, knowing we had missed many local organization.

    I am suggesting that we continue to allow Gay Inc. to do the same things they done for 40 years, but we expect different results. There is NO political or judicial solution to LGBT Equality, but we spend all of our money ($230 million in 2009) on those two make believe strategies.

    Gay Inc. continues to waste the time and energy of the LGBT Community. We need a new strategy and a new Plan.

  • Sam

    No. 45 · Cam
    yeah Chris….and if you want to look at a group that won…look at the Black community. The Black community suffered setbacks such as the Dred Scott decision, but eventually won rights through the Supreme Court.

    That they did…AFTER a long campaign of going state-by-state, repealing anti-miscegenation laws and passing laws prohibiting racial segregation. 16 states had outlawed segregation when Brown was decided. 25 had repealed their anti-miscegenation laws when Loving was decided.

    We’ve got five states. Five. Can’t you see why the lawyers who have been doing this work for years MIGHT think that it’s too soon?

  • Sam

    @Andrew: “Just because a few organizations failed at the real way to create equality – conversation, doesn’t me we should abandon the it. It is the only way to create equality.”

    I’m in complete agreement. Now how do we get the rest of the community to join us and do it? All of the (alleged) billions of “Gay, Inc.” were behind it, and I haven’t noticed an outpouring of LGBT folks having these conversations.

    “The total given to LGBT efforts in the last 40 years was $2.7 billion.”

    That assertion doesn’t pass the bullshit test. Show me the data.

  • AndrewW

    @ Cam #45:

    The Black community suffered setbacks such as the Dred Scott decision, but eventually won rights through the Supreme Court.


    Blacks didn’t win equality because the Courts didn’t end racism. No court can change behavior – we must do that.

    Bigotry, like racism, will only end with understanding. Gay Inc. is not changing any minds.

    We will not be equal until our fellow citizens believe we are.

  • AndrewW

    @ Sam:

    All of the data is going to be released in February. This is HRC:

    LGBT Resources to HRC:

    2000 $21.04 million
    2001 $21.36 million
    2002 $28.98 million
    2003 $29.62 million
    2004 $34.17 million
    2005 $35.87 million
    2006 $39.03 million
    2007 $42.00 million
    2008 $43.95 million
    2009 $57.79 million
    10Y $343.81 million

    In the previous 18 years HRC received another $192 million.

    In 28 years HRC has received $513 million and they have another $20 million in Trust. That’s more than $550 million, since 1980.

    What, besides those “cruising stickers” do we have to show for it? What exactly has HRC accomplished?

  • Sam

    @AndrewW: I don’t doubt the HRC number. Just the total. So I look forward to that report.

    And you won’t hear ME defending HRC. I think sending them money is about as effective as throwing it in the trash. All the progress we’ve made (up until hate crimes this year) has been accomplished by state/local LGBT groups and the legal groups.

    “What, besides those “cruising stickers” do we have to show for it?”

    Be fair. We also got an office building in DC. No rights, mind you. But definitely an office building on Rhode Island Avenue.

  • AndrewW

    @ HRC: Oh yeah, that building is in the shape of an “equal sign.” That must be expensive, too.

    I agree with you – it’s time to rethink our so-called movement and look for real answers. I have conducted meetings in several cities regarding our LGBT Equality Strategy. I was looking for ideas – ideas to actually achieve equality.

    It looks promising. There are four very compelling ideas and seven different media campaigns. I think our equality is achievable within 3 years with their strategy. The ideas take a whole new approach and they have the research to back it up. I’m in my 40s and I’ve never seen anything like it. What struck me (and others) who have seen it was a simple question: why didn’t we do this before?

    I can’t say a lot about it. They’re going on a National “collaboration” Tour to 34 cities before they launch. This group isn’t about starting another non-profit, they want to start a movement – one that will actually win.

    [Sam, email me and I’ll make sure they contact you. [email protected]]

  • Chris

    Solely in the interest of fairness, I believe the Equality Index made a big difference in the way corporations approached their LGBT employees. I’m not enthused about speaking up in defense of HRC, but credit should be given where credit is due.

  • AndrewW


    The Equality Index is a helpful bit of information. But, like HRC’s “scorecard” for Politicians it doesn’t matter. HRC gives meaningless scores for “gay-friendliness.” Equality is a YES or NO proposition.

    My biggest problem with HRC is the repeated efforts to give “false hope” to our community. For the past few years they have suggested we can win in the Congress with “lobbying.” Despite millions of dollars we haven’t won anything in the Congress. We can’t get anything passed by the US Senate and it’s about to get worse.

    We have only two options – change the Senators (and other politicians) or change the minds of their constituents. Until we do one of those things, we will not achieve a political victory. I would focus on changing minds – it’s easier and quicker than changing politicians.

    It can be done. But, we need to get over the idea that our equality will come from politics. It must come from the people.

  • Sam

    @Chris @AndrewW:

    I actually agree with Chris: HRC’s Equality Index has been a very useful tool for LGBT employees trying to get their companies to adopt LGBT-friendly policies. I’ve heard several stories at Out & Equal about companies where employee LGBT groups were able to get better policies by pointing to a competitor on the Index and telling management “you don’t want THEM to have a better score than US, do you?”

    That said, this has never been HRC’s main purpose. Their stated mission, and what they consistently say they are fighting for, is pro-LGBT federal legislation. And at that, they are ABYSMAL. Over half a billion dollars invested and all we’ve got is a VERY recently enacted hate crimes law to show for it.

    I’ve said for awhile now, they are not effective because they pander WAYYY too effing much. At Planned Parenthood, you don’t get an endorsement unless you have a 100% voting record on choice issues. That means if you vote against PP’s agenda even once, they will NOT support your re-election. HRC has endorsed candidates with as low as a 53% record, as long as the other candidate is worse. What incentive does a Democrat in a swing-state have to vote FOR our tougher issues when they KNOW they’ll get endorsed anyway?

  • Brian NJ

    I think the HRC has become a non-offending lobbying entity, which has compromised its ability to have and leverage of say on gay civil rights. The are a gigantic, rich, spoiled Borg drone, focused on corporate partners and protecting the White House by waiting for the Democrats to take care of other business until getting to two simple repeals of DADT and DOMA.

    They made a huge, fundamental strategy error by making silence the main feature of their Obama policy. Silence is just the last thing an advocacy organization should be doing, because verbally advocating should be the first and foremost job.

    HRC believes it is just being cooperative and engaging the White House in productive, positive working relationship. That is very corporate of them. And it has nothing to do with getting things done in Washington.

    You can see the results of this failed strategy, as the White House is saying it wants civil rights for landscapers next, and certainly before the 2010 midterms, and HRC says? — nada, or “go ahead and move us down the queue again, we don’t mind.”

  • Brian NJ

    If anyone wants to study the HRC “Nice guys finish on top” strategy, do a review of that exact strategy in New Jersey, and see how that turned out. The deal between the party and the gays? Be nice gays, and we will get to it, at worst, in the lame duck session. Gays were very nice. Joe Solmonese is very nice. He has told the gay community not to judge Obama until after the lame duck session in 2017. Same strategy.

    The Netflix Queue we’ll get to you plan, very cheap for Rahm Emmanuel — Very risky for us.

  • Winston Johnson

    All of the LGBT marriages that are now legal are basically meaningless due to not being recognized by the FEDERAL government.

    Ask any one of the 30,000 LGBT couples who are NOT able to live together in the USA because one of them is not a US citizen.

    State by state marriages do not change IRS laws about inheritance in which MARRIED couples can inherit UNLIMITED amounts from a spouse. These couples are not married as far as the federal government is concerned. Social Security benefits are due to spouses in marriages that are recognized by the federal government only.

    Finally, the only way that we have equal protection under the law is a decision by the US Supreme court, because the time when a majority of US citizens would “vote us our rights” is not conceivable for many decades. If we lose, as we did in Bowers v Hardwick, it only took 16 years to reverse that decision. It is my belief that whatever happens, we get to our goal faster because of this suit. For any doubters, read Ted Olson’s cover story in the current Newsweek. Just the positive message to MILLIONS of Americans by this article alone is unquantifiable.
    Winston Johnson

  • FakeName

    Existing legal state-level marriages are not meaningless by any stretch of the imagination. Not only do they provide invaluable legal rights and protections at the state and local level to those in them, every day they exist is one more day that the nation hasn’t collapsed because of them and one more day for people to realize that they cause no harm to anyone.

Comments are closed.