Guest Blogger

No More Mrs. Nice Gay

Filed By Guest Blogger | November 10, 2008 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, Christian beliefs, Diane Olson, gay marriage, gloria allred, los angeles, marriage, marriage equality, Prop. 8, robin tyler, same-sex marriage

Editors' note: Robin Tyler was the original plaintiff, along with Diane Olson, in Tyler vs. the County of Los Angeles, which gave lesbians and gays the right to marry in California when the state Supreme Court ruled in their favor. On June 16, 2008, they became the first and only gay couple to wed in Los Angeles County.

robin tyler.jpgWe want marriage. That's the front of the bus. The Democratic Party wants to give us civil unions. That's the back of the bus. The Republican Party wants us off the bus.

And the radical religious right, including but not limited to the Mormon, Catholic and Baptist churches, has just thrown us under the bus!

The people who voted "Yes" on Proposition 8 are to Christianity what paint-by-numbers is to art.

There is no such thing as same-sex marriage -- because after marriage, sex is never the same. It was about marriage equality, the right of same-sex couples to marry.

I called our attorney, Gloria Allred, one week before Nov. 4 and asked her to prepare a lawsuit, because if gays and lesbians lost, my wife, Diane Olson, and I wanted to file a suit with the California Supreme Court immediately. We felt that Prop 8 was illegal and that, for the first time in American history, a minority was going to lose rights and be removed from the California constitution, setting a very dangerous precedent. We felt that if we could not retain the right to marry, then heterosexual couples should not be able to be married either.

That is what equality under the law means, and that is what the California Supreme Court ruled in May, that lesbians and gays were a Suspect class entitled to total equal rights under the laws of California. I was convinced that we would have a hard time winning the Proposition 8 fight, not just because of the lies from the "Yes" side,

But because despite raising 40 million dollars, the "No on 8" campaign was so incredibly weak.

Right up until the last week, (and only because of incredible community pressure did they finally relent and have silent same-sex couples in one television ad) the "No on 8 " campaign was afraid to show lesbian and gay couples in their ads. Their highly paid consultants told them that that doing so would insure our loss. The fact is that within 10 days of the first marriages been performed this June, after showing hundreds of same-sex marriages in the media, and because of the public watching these happy same-sex couples showering California with love, polls shifting from a resounding Yes on 8 (52 %-43%) to No on 8 (53% to 44 % Yes), a tremendous lead for our side!

Despite this, blaming their consultants and their polling data, "No on 8" made us invisible, and forty million dollars later, they lost. We all lost.

Look at us, leadership of the "No on 8" campaign. Our community will never, ever be made invisible again! The only input we were really allowed was to donate money.

You were afraid to use the word bigots to describe people who supported Prop 8 in your ads. Well, the "Yes on 8" people are bigots.

Until the end, the "No on 8" campaign wouldn't even use the term discrimination. So the "Yes on 8" side jumped you in the ads, and hid behind their Christian children, and lied and lied. And lied.

Rule Number 1 in political campaigns is: Never let the other side define you! But you did. And you let them 'swift boat us for a month' about teaching gay marriage in schools before you finally put out an ad that exposed the lies. But by then, their ads were pounded into the consciousness of people who didn't know what the issue was about.

And 'Yes on 8' defined it as 'protecting their children'. And you let them. You let them.

And with regard to African American voters, 70 per cent of your community sided with the same kind of bigots who supported slavery, who fought against interracial marriage, who vote to send your people who are addicted to prison instead of rehabilitation centers (and I am clean and sober, so I know prison doesn't work and their only chance is a program), and who vote to cut off aid to your families, saying that it is a moral issue because 70 per cent of your children are born out of wedlock, and therefore, you should be responsible. These are the people whom you sided. You got in bed with your enemies, the very people who have fucked you again and again, in the name of morality and their religious beliefs.

But I want to say that despite my overwhelming sense of betrayal, I am, as is our community, still firmly committed to Equality for African Americans, still firmly committed to continuing our fight against racism. Because, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, "injustice against one is injustice against all."

The California Supreme court struck down the ban on Inter-racial marriage in 1948, (Perez v Sharp) and thanks to the landmark Federal Supreme Court ruling in the case of 'Loving v Virginia', all state miscegenation laws were struck down in 1967.

And yet it wasn't until 1991, 24 years later, that inter-racial marriage was supported by a majority of Americans. Had the Caucasian people who supported "Yes" on Prop 8 been voting on your right to inter-racial marriage, until 1991, just 17 years ago, you would have lost. And as I sat in the California Supreme Court on March 4, 2008, the bigots, used the same argument against us that they used against you. " It was 'tradition.'" And the justices answered "so was slavery." And the bigots argues, "God doesn't want inter-racial marriage which is why he put the races on different Continents." And in 2008, California Supreme Court justices ruled "it is illegal to hide behind religious beliefs in order to justify discrimination."

That is why we have a court system. That is why the United States constitution says that 'the rights of a Minority may not be denied by the Majority.' That is why Proposition 8 is Illegal. This is not just about marriage equality. This is about civil rights, which Dr. King said is for everyone. Bayard Rustin, the great African American leader who was gay, who called for and organized the 1963 March on Washington, D.C., turned over in his grave Nov. 4, 2008.

This is not an issue for only "rich white gays." Black male same-sex couples in the U.S. are almost twice as likely to be living with a biological child as a white same-sex couple. Black female same-sex couples in the U.S. are just as likely to be living with an adopted or foster child as a black married opposite-sex couple. Many of these African American couples want to get access to marriage so they can provide a more secure future for their children.

And Barack Obama, I voted for you -- even though you said your Christian religion would not allow you to support same-sex marriage. Well, I did not vote for you to be my Christian President. I voted for you to be my President.

You said you were going to be the president of all the people. You even mentioned the word "gay" in your election-night speech. Well, how can you be the president of all of us when LGBT Americans do not have one civil right on a Federal Level?

The Democratic Party has used the gay community for years. It promised us full rights but asked us to wait -- "until the election is over" -- and then gave us nothing, ever, even when Democrats were in total power. President Bill Clinton signed the two most anti-gay pieces of legislation: "Don't ask, don't tell" where LGBT people could serve in the military, and die for their country, as long as they didn't mention their 'sexual orientation' and as long as their loving and grieving partners back in the USA did not try to claim benefits when their partner was killed defending the country who does not defend their rights. And Clinton signed DOMA, the 'Defense of Marriage Act" where marriage is legal only between one man and one woman. Well, he should have read his own bill.

The gay community's honeymoon with the Democratic party is over. We get in bed you and, you promise us everything. Then, the morning after the elections, we wake up to find you gone. With Democrats once again in total power in Washington, it is time the party made good on the promises made to our community since the 1970s! Now we are demanding that you make good on them, not one right at a time, but all of them. It has been a one sided engagement for long enough. We are through being screwed.

The gay community wants total and equal rights with the straight community, including marriage. Offering gays only domestic unions and civil partnerships is separate and not equal. When African Americans had to drink from separate water fountains, it was called segregation. It meant they were not good enough to drink from white water fountains, that somehow, they would 'taint' the water, because they were 'less.' To ask us to accept only domestic unions and civil partnerships is marriage segregation. It means that you consider our relationships to be less than yours, that somehow we will destroy the 'sanctity' of marriage. How has my marriage affected yours?

Fifty percent of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. Eighty percent of people ordered to pay child support, most of them men, do not pay it. Three out of every four children are sexually abused. And speaking of sexual abuse, the Mormons campaigned against us and for limiting marriage to one man and one woman. These are people, who, despite their denials, have not even begun to prosecute the polygamous marriages in which child sexual abuse is rampant. And they call us immoral.

They would have done better to use the 20 million dollars they put into "Yes on 8" toward finding and prosecuting these child abusers. And they call us immoral?

This is not a movement about our lifestyle. It is a movement about our lives.

For years, science called us sick, and religion called us sinful. For years, we were subjected to shock therapy and locked up in mental institutions and penal institutions. For years, our families, whom society made to suffer because they said it was our parent's fault, rejected us. Gay youth have the highest suicide rate in the country and gays have one of the highest drug-addiction rates -- because of the indignities that have been heaped upon us.

No more. No more. Never again. It ends now. Tens of thousands of lesbians and gays are on the streets across this country.

I want to emphasize that we need to follow the non-violent teachings of Dr. King and of Mahatma Gandhi. Some have infiltrated from other groups and want to make our demonstrations violent. Don't do it. We are better than that. We're angry, yes. But we're fighting for the right to love and have our relationships recognized by law and, therefore, must go beyond our anger and refuse to be violent. But stay angry. Power is never given, it has to be taken.

Here is what we are going to do.

(1) We are going to wait for the California Supreme Court to do the right thing and rule that Proposition 8 is invalid. But if it doesn't, I call on millions of lesbians and gays across this country to take to the streets and vow never to stop protesting until we are full citizens with equal rights. Are you ready to stay on the streets? Yes!

(2) If the California Supreme Court rules against equal marriage rights, we will put an amendment back on the ballot in four years. Only this time, we will not let the incompetent, undemocratic leaders who appointed themselves to head our campaign. It will be a grassroots movement that will start the petition to get the issue back on the ballot. Are you ready to organize? Yes!

(3) And if the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama do not support us by giving us total equal rights this time, then we must withdraw support from them. Are you finally willing to hold the Democratic Party accountable? Yes!

I am 66 years old. In 1978, I called for the very first gay march on Washington. In 2000, I called for the last march on Washington. I produced the main stages of the 1987 and 1993 marches. Marches work, not because Washington listens, but because they mobilize youth, and our youth need to carry on the leadership of this movement. Are you ready to lead? Are you ready for a National March on Washington? Yes!

We must not make this a fight with the African American community, or we will all slide to the bottom. That is what the right wing wants. We need to reach out and to keep educating minority communities. And we need to remember the numerous churches and religious Individuals and the 250 California rabbis who sided with us.

We must finally see ourselves as a civil rights movement, and act accordingly.

Kate Millett, the great lesbian feminist author, wrote ' we must never forget the nights of our love and the days of fighting for its freedom.'

What do we want? Equal Rights! When do we want them? Now!

What do we want? Civil Rights! When do we want them? Now!

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Excellent piece, Robin. I appreciate so much of your sentiment. I hope you're reading the comments, as I've got a couple of points I hope you get a chance to hear.

First off, child sexual abuse is horrible regardless of whether it is perpetrated in a poly or monogamous household. And while the mormons and their polygamy is what most people think of when they think of poly people, the majority of us have nothing to do with that population, are no more likely to be predators than anyone else, and are primarily motivated by the same desire for civil rights and recognition of our families that you have.

Secondly, mostly a point of confusion, when you say:

"Black male same-sex couples in the U.S. are almost twice as likely to be living with a biological child as a white same-sex couple."

I had to read that twice. A biological child? As opposed to a synthetic child?

Then I realized you probably mean children with a biological connection to their same-sex parents. But in my mind, it shouldn't matter, and children who lack a biological connection to their same-sex parents shouldn't be seen as any less valid or a part of their families. Was that just a part of the statistic you had, or what?

I don't quite recall where I found it; but if you have a chance, Tobi, google search an article on the highest concentration of gay parents being in the Bronx, and subsequently the highest ratio of same-sex parents being ethnic/racial minorities.

It shouldn't be surprising. African American and Hispanic cultures emphasize family-making much more than its Caucasian counterparts. Not to come off as full of it, but it is in my experience that Caucasian Americans are rather cold in family interaction and family rituals in comparison to minority families. Being of Italian and Hispanic descent, I really notice a difference in family dynamics and how much family is valued among these groups. Family being so central to African Americans and Hispanics, it wouldn't be surprising that raising children would be a key feature of assimilation by minority gay couples into their cultures.

I love you.
Charles Merrill

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 10, 2008 8:05 PM

Hey, Robin, I don't know if you remember me or not but our paths crossed in the early-1980's in San Francisco. I was living as a dyke then, took a bunch of photos of you at the Northern California Women's Music Festival (can't remember the year, probably 1982?) and brought them by your place on Dolores Street.

I'm really proud of what you and Diane are doing!!! And I agree with what you're saying here.

Just curious, do you know who the consultants were--what firm? And just how much of the money I donated went to them? I sacrificed to give to the campaign, thinking the money would probably go to TV ads. It didn't occur to me that it was actually going into the pockets of high-paid consultants and that that was why the campaign took such a conservative approach. Reminds me of the Democratic Party in general: once the likes of Terry McAuliffe took over, the Dems began sucking up to business, sticking it to progressives, and--until now--losing elections.

Well written and this even I support.At least with Republicans you always know where they stand on this issue.Liberals and Democrates nope you never know but now we do!Til the next time they want our vote.

Reformed Ascetic | November 10, 2008 8:40 PM

It doesn't say it in the editor's note, but this looks like the speech mentioned in Karen Ocamb's article "A Rainbow Arc of History..." posted on TBP below for those who might have missed that article.

As someone thousands of miles away, thanks for the opportunity to read these words. I look forward to seeing how they are put into practice.

I noticed that too, Ref. The opening lines are the same at least. I doubt this whole thing was a speech though - or it would be a long one. :)

Robin? I disagree with the campaign being weak. until the mormons pumped in an extraordinary amount of money into the Yes on 8 side, we were winning easily.

then we had to play catch up- in fundraising to get more air time. did you know that the final weekend before the election the Yes on 8 people had enough money to buy all the air time for the weekend and we were still scrambling to get donations?

I guess you were at your lawyers office.

sorry you wanted to participate more in the strategy than giving money but that would have meant being there from the start. participating.

call for another march but you want to check in with some ordinary organizers and see if they already have.

not that you'll take the time to read this.

I have been a street activist for almost 4 decades. I also co-produced (along with Power-
Up) 18 PSA's against No on 8 with celebrities and
lesbian and gay couples. All of us were volunteers, the the PSA's were terrific. One of the spokeswomen was Dolores Huerta. I also spoke for months at organizations and colleges. (no fee involved). So, don't tell me not to speak out about the No on 8 campaign, or infer my time is spent in my attorney's office. Robin Tyler

I will tell you not to speak out with bitterness and anger. it's not productive.

and no one will listen.

I appreciate your decades of service- I too have been active, not as long but I'm a few years younger. What worked in 1970 might not be as effective today. you might want to think about who you are trying to reach.

because you sound like someone who didn't get the starring role and can let it go.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 15, 2008 11:01 PM

Sara, that's just plain rude. Even though I don't agree with you on this one I've read enough of your writing to know you can argue the point on the merits of the issue and shouldn't have to stoop to this sort of attack.

What I know about this campaign -- and I admit my knowledge is not that of a day-to-day insider while being, however, neither uninvolved -- is that this was a campaign more like what Robin's describing than not.

The contrast between it and the way the Obama campaign worked, for instance, was striking -- particularly in its approach to organizational control, utilization of the energy and organic creativity of the grassroots, turnaround and attack response, and skillful use of the media and new technology while not eschewing the basics of voter ID and GOTV ground games -- all things my wife and I expressed concern about to its near deaf and quite dismissive leaders early on (including, shockingly, the NGLTF representative carrying their water who damned well should have known better) before deciding they were hopeless and ignoring and going around them to support what grassroots effort was being mounted, however amateurish yet sincere and hardworking it was.

Count us among those saying "Yes!", Robin.

We were never winning.

The sum of the undecideds plus Yes surveyed was always more than the Nos. Which means, as I'm sure you know, that the No campaign had to get votes from some of those undecideds.

That didn't happen. Thus, despite consuming outrageous sums and uncompensated hours of toil from volunteers, we lost.

That is a giant, ugly failure that we must analyze, not deny. I respect your efforts personally, but you can't seriously believe that because I was unwilling to support a play-it-safe, run-ads-for-the-14th-Amendment strategy with my money and time, I am not permitted to speak out on this disaster.

The time to point out to EQCA that their focus groups and phone surveys were not going to lead to effective messaging is now, because they ignored me and everyone else who is employed in this field who isn't part of their gay-mafia, Polish-vodka clique. As a result, my family's legal status is now in question.

While I can't be sure that a positive, family-oriented truth campaign would have worked to get us some of the undecideds, I can be sure of one thing: The process of running the ads and answering questions about them would have moved us ahead for the next battle.

The reason this autopsy must be completed is that common sense and marketing psychology were in agreement, yet this campaign did the opposite. I think I have the right to know WHY?

Then the next question is, how do we bypass these folks?

Reformed Ascetic | November 11, 2008 1:46 AM

That's a great question Alex and to the point.

How do we bypass existing orgs, and maintain a cohesive structure that can be both effective and acceptable to everyone?

What's far enough? If everyone agrees on the mistakes and vows to do it differently next time, is that enough? Or does the house need to get burnt down to build a new one?

I apologize for not being as succinct as Alex :)

RA, that's probably the first and last time I'll ever be accused of being succinct on this site. :)

I think we're off to a flying start with the effective use of social networking sites to organize a national day of protest, endorsed by No One Important.

Let's see how that pans out and work on state-level organizing.

As to 'do we have to conduct a Maoist purge, AKA burning down the EQCA-HRC-NGLTF house?' question: Why bother? They are irrelevant now.

I stopped supporting my state equality org when they got honest about the fact that they are NOT about getting legal equality for all, but instead are devoted to negotiating with state party Dems for the best deal they feel like making us. Since my goal is not negotiable--I want full equality for my family and our community--I see no need to pay anyone to negotiate for me.


Strategy Not Fear | November 11, 2008 9:47 PM

Show us the marketing research. You're entitled to speak out and nobody believes otherwise - but you are not convincing.

Oooh~ Someone's out, kicking ass, and taking names. Angry Sara is just loooovely ;D.

It's a good thing that Robin, while perhaps shamefully absent, is one of the plaintiffs filing a lawsuit that might well overtunr Prop 8.

yes, three legal groups have filed suits.

and robin.

very nice. effective way of working together.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 10, 2008 11:08 PM

Sara, I think the No on 8 campaign deserves criticism--and I both volunteered and donated a lot, so does that give me the right to criticize?

The campaign adopted a very conservative approach, in its ads and outreach. Obviously-trans and queer folks were nowhere to be seen in its literature or its ads. Nor, as far as I saw, were African-Americans. They were slow to respond to the Yes campaign's lies--lies they should have seen coming for miles and miles.

Overall, the Yes campaign let the No strategists set the agenda. I heard many people saying this, even before we lost.

I'm not going to criticize the volunteers, like you, who got out there and gave it their all. And there were MANY of us. But I am going to criticize the people making and directing the strategy. And this is where I think Robin Tyler has it right: this was a top-down campaign. I felt it from the beginning. At the time, I chalked it up to being in San Diego and to the lack of historical continuity in the LGBT movement. But now that I hear that a lot of money was paid to consultants, I'm re-evaluating what I believe happened.

As for Tyler "only" filing a law suit...I'm at a loss for words. Do you realize how much time, blood, sweat and tears--not to mention, money!--it takes to file and follow through on a law suit like this?!!

Let's direct our fury towards those who deserve it. I don't think Robin Tyler is among them.

Brynn, please. One trans or genderqueer on the ads, and Prop 8 would've passed with dashing colors.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 10, 2008 11:56 PM

Lucrece, and you know this how? Because you yourself feel that way?

Brynn, either transfolk are the most vulnerable among us because you're the most hated and despised, or not. Pick one. I happen to think that if we learn nothing else from the hate crime non-statistics, we can glean that leading with trans folk is not going to be successful.

Your point is taken, though--one of the reasons we were stuck with this antiseptic campaign is that our organizations would rather lose my family's rights than confront the rage of our outliers when they chose mainstream-appearing couples and families to humanize us on TV.

PhoenixRising put it rather well.

It would take the most pitiful of imbeciles not to understand why making genderqueers and transfolk visible on the No On 8 campaign would've been political suicide. You mounr Duanna's death, and yet it seems like you have learned nothing from such cases of injustice.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 11, 2008 11:18 AM

So now I'm the most "pitiful of imbeciles" if I argue for trans and queer inclusion in a campaign against Prop 8?!

Just because trans and gender-queer folks may be despised by some within and without the LGBT community does not therefore mean we should be absent from all outreach. We WERE active in the campaign and we WERE voters. So were our families, friends, lovers, etc. Prop 8 was OUR issue as well as lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Yet we were carefully sanitized from anything and everything to do with the No campaign.

You and PhoenixRising are arguing for that sanitized strategy without providing evidence that it was anything other than prejudice among the campaign's strategists.

Well, as one of the No on 8 activists on the street, I can tell you that the strategy alienated two segments of the voting population--radical queers and transsexuals-- who would have normally been strongly on the No campaign's side.

If they voted Yes, they weren't needed to begin with.

I also ask you to present us with the proof of transphobia, just as you have asked us for proof of strategic outcome.

You might want to play the "trans inclusion" game of rainbows and flowers in your ideal political arena, but some cannot afford to go throwing away 70 million dollars just not to wound your sensibilities because you refuse to face how overwhelmingly mainstream society is revolted at the thought of transfolk and genderqueers.

It's not a matter of queer and trans people voting yes, but whether or not they get involved in the campaign, donate, volunteer, etc. Not to mention that extreme apathy can lead to not voting. See more details about the impact of alienating your base in my recent post, Election Politics: Winning to Lose or Losing to Win

But additionally, the campaign supposedly made their decisions based on an intensive series of focus groups, polls, and consultants. There should be evidence behind the political decisions made. And if the exclusion of outreach to trans people didn't come from that information, that would probably be the evidence of prejudice.

As for the Duanna's death, what lesson would you have us learn from that? Go back in the closet? Stop asking for rights? Don't sue the police if they beat you up, just be grateful they didn't kill you?

The lesson I learned from it is that we cannot allow our people to be isolated and invisible. An individual target is easy to take out, but if thousands of us from across the country demand justice for Duanna's death, there's no easy target. In the interests of combating that invisibility and isolation, it would make sense that our political campaigns at the very least do outreach to trans people.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 11, 2008 4:14 PM

If they voted Yes, they weren't needed to begin with.

My, aren't we quick to make assumptions. What if they just stayed home? What if they didn’t volunteer, their time or money? What if they stayed silent when confronted with “Yes on 8” sentiment in the workplace, or out with friends?

I also ask you to present us with the proof of transphobia, just as you have asked us for proof of strategic outcome.

Are you seriously asking this, right before you say the following?

some cannot afford to go throwing away 70 million dollars just not to wound your sensibilities because you refuse to face how overwhelmingly mainstream society is revolted at the thought of transfolk and genderqueers.

Haven’t you just made my argument for transphobia?

Furthermore, it’s not my “sensibilities” that are wounded. What I’m upset about is that WE LOST our right to marry in California. And I believe that the campaign’s conservative approach, including its lack of outreach to trans, queer and black voters, contributed to this loss.

Your arguments all along have been founded on a belief that just because you and your gay friends find transsexuals and genderqueers revolting, then all voters do. You offer no proof. Moreover, your assumption is founded on a baseless supposition that the LGBT community is more open-minded on the issue of trans/queer folks than the community at large—a supposition not supported by my everyday experience as a queer-identified FtM.

I am fed up with people arguing the supremacy of conservative approaches in political campaigns with no supporting evidence. Especially after a Black man just won the presidency running on a campaign that espoused higher taxes for the wealthy, and during which his opposition painted him as a radical socialist terrorist. Obama won, against Clinton--whose campaign, by the way, first brought up Ayers and Obama's alleged inexperience. Clinton, who listened to the conservative voices of the Democratic party until the final days of her campaign, lost, defying the expectations of pretty much ALL mainstream political pundits just a few short months ago.

If that doesn't repudiate the wisdom of listening to the mainstream pundits and consultants, what does?

I agree - I have no idea why Robin Tyler is taking heat here personally. She did more than almost everyone else did.

Reformed Ascetic | November 11, 2008 2:39 AM

This is a personal loss for everyone, even for those of us across the country.

I have a lot of respect for everyone who participated, and I don't believe dissolving into arguing over who did the most is productive. I can understand that those who directly participated can take some comments personally. And I can understand why everyone wants to get to the autopsy as quickly as possible. But, in point of fact, even behind closed doors, autopsies are conducted in ways designed to show respect and maintain professionalism.

Frankly, I don't give a shit who's ass goes up on the chopping block, but finger-pointing, even in the worst of times, is of limited usefulness. Even unquestionable, cold facts need to be tactfully presented when people are personally invested. Please troubleshoot the system, identify the bugs and if in the process certain individuals turn out to be clear hindrances, remove them.

Remember unless there is sweeping federal reform, there may well be decades of ugly fighting before marriage gets to all of us.

Here's what we need in all the states where marriage (or unions) were already banned:

We need you guys not to dissolve in unproductive internal squabbling. We need you to find the errors, fix them and develop a winning strategy so that it can be exported. We would like to be of help now, and we will want your experienced guidance then.

Double agreement.

Robin and Dianne made history for our community. It may have been them "and three legal groups," but I see no reason whatsoever that Robin should be forced to sit down and shut up when she was the one brave enough to stand up to start with.

I'd enjoy having Robin as a regular contributor. (Especially since, as Lucrece says, "Oooh~ Someone's out, kicking ass, and taking names. Angry Sara is just loooovely ;D." If there's one woman I'd love to kick my ass, it'd be Sara! :)

of course there should be a constructive critique of the entire campaign. why didn't they go more aggressively to the signature drives and challenge those before it even became an ballot question?

sure. lots to say. does your or Robin's public blasting of the campaign help? no.

Do you have the right to write about this Brynn? of course. I hope you can find a tone that can be heard because shouting won't work with anyone who was in charge.

How does this piece help? does it offer a thoughtful analysis? is it respectful in it's tone? does it go in depth to dealing with the immediate issues the campaign faced day to day?

No. it's a loud shout of bravado- hell I know what's best- and isn't in any way constructive.

I agree with RA- we need to "dissolve the unproductive internal squabbling." That's all Robin's piece is.

it doesn't motivate me it just pisses me off.

and I saw her PSA's and they were fine. and they were used over and over on the internet.

and bil, I'm happy to kick your ass.

Strategy Not Fear | November 11, 2008 2:09 PM

Robin, if you are truly committed to winning and believe that we cannot "make this a fight with the African American community, or we will all slide to the bottom," please edit your work and don't put the truly inflammatory stuff about how "betrayed" you feel up at the top. Your dedication to equality is apparent and unflagging, but everything I have seen you do suggests that your ego is running the show every time. This is not about you, and scoring cheap points at the top of your piece by fanning the flames of all the racism our community has displayed in the last few days will get us nowhere.

Oh, the community doesn't like being called racist? Feels like that's counterproductive and makes it harder to sympathize with black people?


Great. More signing of petitions "demanding marriage rights and equal protection under the law". More "marching on Washington, D.C." Yeah...these approaches have been so effective.

Doesn't anyone realize how their tax money is the MOST powerful thing they control?

Doesn't anyone feel sick when they pay FULL taxes for UNEQUAL rights, confirming they are society's most worthless?

Government is RESPONSIBLE to ALL of its citizens, yet we have embraced our role as SUB-Americans so well that we are oblivious to how pathetic it is to beg-plead-donate money for a right we ALREADY deserve....years ago!

When I tell America to "PAY MY TAXES", I also include my fellow LGBTQ Americans who seem to have NO PROBLEM with taxation without equality. Do you really deserve rights....if you are willing to pay for them (Prop 8 donations), or willing to be taxed despite being DENIED those rights that are doled out like candy to other Americans?

Too harsh? I apologize - I am no longer able to march or donate or hold signs. All I have are my words and my tax dollars; I AM STILL IN CONTROL of those 2 things.

ruthie and connie | November 13, 2008 8:31 PM

Robin, We so appreciate what you wrote. it is well-written and to the point. It has the passion of conviction and is non-violent. You told it as it is and most importantly what we , as a community, must do to get our civil rights, not just piece meal.
We appreciate that we finally have someone, you, who speaks for us and writes for us. We will do the marching, the giving that is needed to rekindle Stonewall and ACT-Up!!.
The time is NOW!!!!
love you both, Ruthie and Connie

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 16, 2008 12:09 AM

Several things...
I was struck by your bus analogy -- and by a childhood memory of being on those buses in the apartheid deep south, sitting in the middle, which was "colored maid traveling with white employer's child" turf -- a place where she could go no further forward but neither could I go any further into the back.

You wrote, "Had the Caucasian people who supported "Yes" on Prop 8 been voting on your right to inter-racial marriage, until 1991, just 17 years ago, you would have lost." Actually, it should read "our right to interracial marriage" and "we would have lost". It wasn't Mildred Loving only who was banned and jailed. Her husband paid that price, too.

The places where we come together are the places it is clearest that segregation negatively affects both the discriminator and those discriminated against.

As for whether this is a time for a "loud shout of bravado", I refer us all to Terrance's latest piece.

I have never, ever heard Robin say we should "only" march, etc., and I don't hear her saying it now. On the contrary, I've seen her support our big organizations, attend the conferences, listen and hear criticism -- sometimes from me -- with a very active ear, and learn from it. I've also seen her hard at work doing not just the out-front cheerleading but the unsung, unsexy stuff, too. She knows the benefits of direct action and she knows its limitations and she doesn't make the mistake of thinking in black and white terms about either direct action or the inside game. For one thing, Diane probably wouldn't have been interested in her if she had been one-dimensional that way.

Both of them are smart enough to know that there are times you must act or lose -- and that this is just such a time. But I would caution that a firm timetable for reintroduction be changed to one dependent on achievement of certain benchmarks necessary for a successful outcome -- things that might not have to wait as long as four years and might have to wait a bit more, depending -- but that reintroduction be outcome-, not clock-determined. And, yes, I'd be more than happy to sit down with folks to look more deeply at what those benchmarks should be.

Is that why African American women count as the most single mothers in America? Really? Please don't generalize about white families. Racism can go both ways baby.