"It goes without saying that marriage equality is the life force of the LGBT movement today. We clearly have two different tracks going on in our community. We have the track that's typically guided by the professionals that looks at the polling data and sees 2012 or 2014 as far better opportunities for us. And then we also have this grassroots groundswell, which is angry and emotional that wants us to go as soon as possible meaning 2010.
I think the professionals are tactically correct - but it's like when a train starts barreling down the tracks, it's kind of hard even for Superman to stop it. I wanted to see, to feel what's going on on the ground here. I happen to be close with Rick [Jacobs] and folks at the Courage Campaign, and close with Marc [Solomon] and the folks at equality California. And I see both sides of the debate - and in fact I contemplated signing the document put out by the groups of color from the community asking for the delay [Bauman is an advisor to HONOR PAC]. But I recognized that there is a momentum and the greatest danger we cause ourselves is fracturing the community.
If a ballot measure were to qualify, and if the funding streams from our community and our supporters aren't there - and we lose and get whomped - that's a set back for a generation because instead of building strength over time, it looks like we're losing strength over time. We're arguing about something that is very personal and very emotional to most gay and lesbian people. And I'm not sure that having an argument about what's rational and about what the best tactic is gets us to the issue at stake here.
And particularly young people who got activated and excited last year in the wake of Prop 8, in the wake of Barack Obama, in the wake of everything that's going on - I'm not sure they want to hear these kind of rational arguments from old political pros.
One thing for sure, we need to start working on this campaign today - whether it goes on the ballot in 2010 or 2012. We need to have a governing structure for our campaign that's not just one or two or three organizations but that's actually representative of the broad spectrum of our community in every sense - both the A-listers and the grassroots activists, big groups and small groups. There has to be some way to do that. There has to be a centralized professional campaign manager who can synthesize and integrated everyone to work together to build this for the future.
The good news is that so far nobody has killed each other today. But there's definitely a lot of emotion in the room.
The [California Democratic] Party's on record in overturning Prop 8 and in fact, at our executive board meeting last weekend, [former] Sen. John Burton, the new chair of the party, listed overturning Prop 8 as among his top two or three priorities going forward. But of course he said, we'll see how it looks in terms of when it qualifies and what the race looks like.
But I think we all know that the only way we win is to have tremendous leadership from the Democratic Party and from our brothers and sisters at Log Cabin. This is not a Democrat-only issue. Democrats cannot carry this by ourselves. If moderate and liberal Republicans can't join with us and can't be part of the structure, we cannot win. If Independent voters are not with us, we cannot win. So even though I'm the vice chair of the Democratic Party and for me, I'm very partisan - I recognize that we have to be sitting at the same table and using my expertise to talk to Democrats and using Log Cabin's expertise to talk to Republicans to make sure that everybody has a message and a place to be part of this."