FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2009
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Equality California Recommends Returning to Ballot in 2012 to Win Marriage Back for Same-Sex Couples
EQCA: "Waiting indefinitely to restore the freedom to marry is not an option"
LOS ANGELES -- Today Equality California (EQCA) released "Winning Back Marriage Equality in California: Analysis and Plan," a proposed 3-year-effort to repeal the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in 2012 with coordinated statewide organizing both on the ground and online, opportunities for families headed by same-sex couples to share their stories through advertising and other platforms, a timeline for a victory and an opportunity for both grassroots leaders and larger organizations to work together.
"Equality California is fiercely determined to win marriage back in 2012 with an aggressive campaign to change the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of California voters, hand-in-hand with our coalition partners, grassroots activists, allies and volunteers," said Marc Solomon, EQCA marriage director. "For us, waiting has never been a possibility. We've already talked to thousands of voters across the state. The real issue has been whether it will take 15 months or 39 months to change enough hearts and minds so that future generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians never have to fight again at the ballot box for their basic humanity."
EQCA arrived at its position after carefully considering input from vital stakeholders: LGBT community members, grassroots organizers, leaders in communities of color and faith, donors and coalition partners, as well as political strategists. It also conducted in-depth analysis of turnout models, polling and fundraising. Key factors that led to the decision include the belief of leaders in communities of color that moving likely voters in their respective communities requires more time, as well as the enormous challenge of raising the $40 to $50 million dollars needed to run an effective campaign during one of the nation's worst recessions.
"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. For the first time in our state's history, our community will determine the timing of an election for our equality instead of having to defend ourselves at an election chosen by our opponents," said Geoff Kors, executive director of EQCA. "Equality California is committed to working with every organization regardless of their position on when to return to the ballot to ensure that we work in a coordinated and unified way," Kors said.
Equality California has already begun the critical work of talking to voters across the state with tremendous results. Since launching its "Win Marriage Back: Make it Real," effort in May -- a mobilization campaign with on-the-ground organizers, door-to-door canvassing, and outreach in communities of color and faith - the campaign has:
- Hired 18 full-time organizers that reflect the diversity of our state, in San Diego, the Inland Empire, Orange County, Los Angeles, Coachella Valley, Central Valley, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Sacramento.
- Recruited more than 16,000 volunteers and knocked on more than 500,000 doors.
- Aired three TV commercials across the state featuring the stories of LGBT couples and their families.
"We look forward to growing our partnerships with Latino, African-American, API and faith community leaders who have been advancing equality for LGBT people in their respective communities for years," said Andrea Shorter, EQCA's deputy marriage and coalitions director. "We we must continue to share our stories with our neighbors, family and friends. We know that with our absolute dedication and unity, same-sex couples will once again enjoy equality under the law."
Equality California will continue soliciting feedback from community members and will hold a virtual town hall via livestream moderated by Bay Area Reporter Editor Cynthia Laird on Thursday, August 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. PDT. To join the town hall, visit http://www.livestream.com/equalitycalifornia at that time.
To read "Winning Back Marriage Equality in California: Analysis and Plan," click here: http://www.eqca.org/plan.
To offer feedback or ask questions about "Winning Back Marriage Equality in California: Analysis and Plan," please visit: http://ca-ripple-effect.blogspot.com/ or join the livestream.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org