in-fighting

Why Did Equality California Just Shit on the 2010 Ballot Repeal?

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We used to think Equality California’s Geoff Kors (pictured) and Marc Solomon — who, after listening to well-paid political strategists, decided to wait until 2012 for their own Prop 8 repeal effort — were just going to let the 2010 activists play out their repeal attempt while sitting idly by, hoping for their own shot two years later when 2010ers failed. See, when the Courage Campaign decided to listen to its members and move forward immediately for 2010, Kors was at least trying to mask his ire: “Waiting indefinitely to return to the ballot is not an option, but we must be strategic in selecting the election that gives us the best opportunity to permanently secure the freedom to marry.” His words were very different today — when Love Honor Cherish submitted its 2010 repeal ballot initiative to the attorney general.

EQCA isn’t even pretending it’s amused by the 2010ers. Now they’re angry, and not trying to hide it. Says EQCA exec director Kors: “We helped Love Honor Cherish draft the language they have submitted, by spending hours with them on the phone for discussion and feedback. We didn’t approve the final version, as we aren’t involved in the effort to file this language, but we wanted the language to be as good as possible. Submitted language should always be shown to key stakeholders, and different options should be tested.”

Hear that? He’s pissed that after EQCA helped out LHC, they didn’t even have the courtesy to run their final ballot language by him.

And if Kors statement wasn’t enough, Massachusetts import and EQCA marriage director Solomon had to add: “At Equality California, we are working our hardest to move Californians to support the freedom to marry. We respect those pushing for a 2010 ballot measure and passionately share their end goal. However, for the first time in our history, our side gets to choose when we return to the ballot, rather than having the date set by our opponents. We believe we will be much more ready–and much more likely to prevail–at the ballot in 2012, and we are working tirelessly towards that outcome with our coalition partners.”

Again, the message to LHC and the 2010 repeal supporters: You’re fucking everything up.

(This, from an organization still accused of raising more than $1 million by telling some supporters they were pushing for a 2010 repeal.)

The office of Attorney General Jerry Brown (who’s running for Cali gov, remember) must now approve LHC’s ballot language, which could take up to eight weeks.

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But there’s still this possibility: More in-fighting, this time between LHC (led by John Henning, pictured right) and the Courage Campaign (led by Rick Jacobs, pictured left with Dan Choi) over control of the 2010 repeal effort. The Courage Campaign has spend six-figures on research and polling to get the ballot language phrased just right to deliver the most votes for a repeal. Surely, they’re streaming LHC beat ’em to it, since the AG will only accept one ballot measure on the issue.

For what it’s worth, Henning says there won’t be any feuding with CC: “We think it’s great that the Courage Campaign is doing all the research they’re doing. We’re really looking forward to their research helping to guide the community.”

As for the Courage Campaign, strategist Steve Hildebrand submits: “We believe that to wage a winning campaign, there needs to be a strong governing structure, an experienced senior campaign team, the best research to steer the strategy and a sense that the campaign will be funded. We are working on all of those fronts, but because we will not have them in place by the time LHC submits ballot language, we will not be joining them this week.” Uh huh.

Either way, somebody better start collecting those million-plus signatures.

(Photo: Karen Ocamb)