Karen Ocamb

Los Angeles Group Files Ballot to Repeal Prop 8

Filed By Karen Ocamb | September 24, 2009 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Courage Campaign, EqCa, Equality California, Geoff Kors, John Henning, Love Honor Cherish, Marc Solomon, Prop 8, Repeal Prop 8

A coalition of grassroots groups seeking to repeal Prop 8 in California next year filed an initiative with the state Attorney General Thursday morning. MailingBallotInitiative 014.jpgHowever, there is still no consensus on strategy or ballot language.

The proposed initiative submitted by Love Honor Cherish opens with strong language that protects "religious freedom" - exempting religious officials or institutions from have to perform same sex marriages.

The initiative then strikes the current definition of marriage as between a man and a woman and substitutes - "Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion."

Love Honor Cherish (LHC) co-founder John Henning said that the group conferred with attorneys and pollsters "within and outside the LGBT movement" on the language - some of whom do not favor the 2010 strategy - before the initiative was submitted.

Executive director Geoff Kors confirmed that they helped with the language.

We understand the passion for going in 2010 and have worked with LHC on ballot language as we want the best possible language to be submitted. That said, we believe a 3-year campaign to win back marriage is the smartest strategy and we will continue our work at EQCA to change hearts and minds so we can achieve victory in 2012.

EQCA Marriage Director Marc Solomon concurred:

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.

The Courage Campaign - which favors returning to the ballot in 2010 - is continuing to research the ballot language and did not sign onto the submission. Political consultant Steve Hildebrand told journalist Rex Wockner:

To reiterate, 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.

In a phone interview Thursday morning after confirming that Attorney General Jerry Brown had received the ballot initiative, Henning said that if the Courage Campaign comes up with "superior language," they would consider substituting that language. He said any conflicts "should be resolved long before any version has approval to gather signatures" - which he expects to be in mid-November.

Henning also said that he does not expect the Courage Campaign's research to show that 2010 is not a good idea - but if it did, "we would still go forward with the initiative we just submitted."


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Divide and conquer is a strategy to be used on an opponent not one to be enjoined with our allies.

Why is the LGBT cause turning into a movement where those who are the most impatient and the most politically obtuse call all the shots? Some want us to march, and some work very hard to shoot the rest of us in the foot.

Sometimes you don't go to war with the gay army you want, you go to war with the gay army you got.

It's all shades of Dick Cheney.

Ditto on what AJ said, but also I do have to say that Iove this:

Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

That's a great way to put it.

I am a member of Restore Equality 2010's statewide Interim Administrative Group.

To clear things up: much of the appearance of fragmentation is due to timing and strategy.

First, we have my group, Restore Equality 2010, who was formed on August 29 in San Francisco. Both the Courage Campaign and Love Honor Cherish's coalition of proponents were already well into the process of creating their ballot language, and Restore Equality 2010 left this task to them. We will work with the two organizations to determine what ballot language is the most powerful for the 2010 campaign.

We at Restore Equality 2010 are concentrating on organizing the grassroots effort on a regional and local level, raising funds to underwrite the signature-gathering campaign and setting up the ballot initiative for success once it is approved.

Love Honor Cherish felt that it was strategically important to keep the option of an additional 30 days of signature-gathering if they submitted yesterday and the language turned out to be the most powerful However, as Bil said in his article, LHC is open to re-submitting the ballot language if a subsequent version turns out to be more powerful than the language submitted yesterday, no matter where the language comes from.

The Courage Campaign feels it's important to research ballot language and other issues before submitting, and this research is currently near completion. All parties involved are waiting for the results and the analysis, and I am clear that all of us will work from our shared commitment to Equality and will do what's right for the campaign.

Restore Equality 2010 believes both approaches are valid, and does not see any fractiousness or contentiousness that presents any danger to the 2010 campaign. We are three groups with different missions and strategies, working towards full equality for LGBT Californians in 2010. As the days move on and the signatures are gathered, I personally guarantee all of us will be working together seamlessly with a united front.