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Prop 8 repeal in 2012? Fat chance!

Crossposted from The Snitch – the blog for SF Weekly:

Yesterday Restore Equality 2010 announced it was abandoning its efforts to repeal Prop 8 on the November ballot.

The not-unforeseen announcement was also posted at a handful of blogs on Monday: Autumn Sandeen reported at Pam's House Blend, Towleroad posted it, as did Karen Ocamb, and SFist. These blogs all repeat the undisputed and unexamined meme that the REAL repeal effort is coming in 2012.


The repeal plan was debated at length last summer at venues across the state. Lots of people ranted and raved. The California big-name gay rights organization, Equality California (EQCA) kept its tasseled loafers above the fray and announced that it wasn't going to participate in a 2010 repeal effort. Instead, it would get strategic and raise funds and knock on doors to change hearts and minds one by one throughout Orange and Fresno counties in preparation for a 2012 repeal effort.

That sounds nice and prudent but really it reeks of self-preservation. Like the Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese, Geoff Kors from EQCA runs a gay ponzi scheme. Trust them! Invest in the organizations that provide their leaders with fat paychecks and watch the social justice trickle down back to the community. Unfortunately they are gay versions of Bernie Madoff. No on 8 was a multi-million dollar disaster. Why would any sane person support a repeal effort in the hands of EQCA?

Frankly, how can anyone contemplate a repeal effort in 2012 — no matter who is in charge of the campaign? Not only would we be faced with the dubious leadership of EQCA, but the ballot will also be shared again with Barack Obama. That didn't work very well for us in 2008. He didn't give much of a shit about Prop. 8. Sure he wrote a letter to a gay Democratic Party club in San Francisco, but that minuscule gesture was mishandled.

Face it — in 2012 Obama is NOT going to be any more helpful to us than he was in 2008. In fact, his re-election is liable to be more of a distraction than his first election. The right wing is throwing every weapon in its arsenal at him now. After the Democrats lose scores of seats this November the momentum will be on the side of the Republicans. He will need the undivided attention — and dollars — of all Californians. LGBT leaders in the Democratic Party will become very conflicted as 2012 approaches. All the “good gays” will line up to sacrifice the repeal at the altar of Obama — a man whose administration has done excruciatingly little for us.

EQCA thinks the key to a successful repeal is to go to the doors of the people that hate us most and beg them for mercy. If they want to succeed they need to get tough with our own allies – gay and straight – that avoid confrontation and conflict with the Democratic Party. EQCA must make an unambiguous statement that unless Obama himself appears and campaigns in support of a repeal, there will be no support for his re-election. We need to play the game that is always used against us. Sharing the ballot isn't enough.

The mainstream gay rights establishment might have been right about the poor odds of a successful repeal in 2010, but they are also wrong that a failure in 2010 automatically results in a unified and consequently problem free effort in 2012. Pushing for repeal two years after Prop 8 passed WAS too soon. Trying to repeal again in 2012 simply because more people vote during presidential elections, isn't a reliable plan either — not when we know the problems of sharing a ballot with Obama and certainly not under the management of EQCA.

Without an acknowledgment that we are facing far too many similarities to 2008 and that tactics must change in 2012, there should not be a reflexive move to join EQCA for a repeal of Prop. 8 in 2012. To do so would only enrich and elevate the organization that failed us bitterly in 2008. We need to take off our white gloves and get serious about exercising our political clout.

Patrick Connors is an uppity fag who is sick of everyone making a buck off his marriage.

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @uppityfag


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