Marriage Equality in California: Politics, the Ballot and 2012

Putting marriage equality on the ballot has certain advantages. The Prop 8 case — Perry v. Brown — is progressing through the judiciary like a sedated tortoise and there is no indication that the Ninth Circuit's final decision, which will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, will be handed down before 2012. What's more, if the Court recognizes the Prop 8 Proponents' standing, the merits case — the question of marriage equality in California — will have to go up the federal court ladder again. That could take us into 2013 or 2014.

And, during that time, the stay of Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling will remain in place. The Ninth Circuit's decision to keep the stay and not allow same-sex couples to marry while Perry moves at its exceedingly slow pace ensures that as long as Perry is marriage equality's great hope, same-sex couples will be harmed by the stay.

Prop8 But, putting marriage equality on the ballot again transforms our rights into a ping pong ball being swatted by competing groups. Participating in the political process for our rights gives us whip lash: we can marry, then we cannot, then we can (again, assuming we win in 2012). Who's to say there will not be another anti-gay ballot initiative in 2016? Still, as an argument for giving up in the political sphere and putting all our eggs in the judicial basket, that view is like declining to leave the house in the morning because it may rain later. Just because using the political process to gain our rights leaves us open to a future political campaign to take away our rights does not mean we avoid trying.

The gay rights movement has had its greatest success when it marries a political strategy — in state legislatures and in Congress and at the initiative level — with a legal strategy that uses impact litigation to sue for our rights. The strategies feed off each other, putting pressure on decision-makers in both realms: An increasingly successful political strategy gives judges cover for pro-marriage equality decisions since judges, for good reasons, are generally loathe to go too far out on a limb in controversial cases. And, a successful legal strategy empowers voters and legislators to take so-called "brave" political steps knowing they have the imprimatur of the courts.

Nor is this a choice between marriage equality in California and marriage equality nationwide. While Perry could possibly result in a merits hearing at the Supreme Court, that possibility is unlikely given the standing problems of the Prop 8 Proponents. It would seem that victory in Perry is more likely to mean the freedom to marry in the Golden State, rather than across the country.

There is, however, a deeper problem with returning to the ballot box in 2012. Should the gay community concede that its rights must be handed down by and subject to the approval of a majority of voters? My fundamental right to marry the one I love is neither incumbent upon finding a good political climate nor subject to the whims of voters whose rights have never been up for a vote. Yet, to put marriage equality on the ballot in 2012 accepts that we must beg for recognition like Oliver Twist, trembling, bowl in hand, asking for more.

Still, while a victory in 2012 — something we have assumed for the purposes of this discussion, but an eventuality that is far, far, far from foregone — would bring marriage equality to California before Perry, that victory may be temporary due to the fickle nature of politics. But, giving up in the political sphere hardly seems acceptable.

Also, a victory at the ballot box in 2012 would moot Perry v. Brown in all aspects. Legal "mootness" refers to a lack of a "case or controversy" — a real dispute — for a court to consider. With respect to federal courts, a "case or controversy" is a prerequisite for jurisdiction, i.e., to hear a case. Since a successful 2012 ballot initiative would bring marriage equality to California, there would be no point to have further legal proceedings on the issue of whether it is constitutional to deny those marriage rights — the issue in Perry. Depending on the timing, we would never get a final decision on the future standing of proposition proponents and, more importantly, we would most certainly not get a final decision on the irrationality of any denial of marriage rights from the gay community. In that way, victory at the 2012 ballot could be seen as short-circuiting a long-term legal strategy whose ultimate and eventual goal is to obtain judicial precedent for the recognition of our fundamental right to marry nationwide.

What do you think about putting marriage equality on the ballot in 2012? This column might have you given you whiplash, as I bounced back and forth with arguments on each side. But, it is a conversation our community must have. I eagerly await your thoughts, dear Readers!


  1. deedrdo says

    i took the EQ=CA survey and indicated that i did not want to go back to the ballot for two reasons, 1) i don’t want my humanity put up for a popular vote. i’d rather not be married than go through that again and again and again. 2) the republicans are already stoking up their values voters and cultural warriors for the 2012 cycle. a ballot initiative would only fan the flames of the culture war.

  2. Zlick says

    Personally, I am sickened by the thought of putting our rights up for a vote, on the “offense,” rather then the put-upon-us “defense” of the Prop 8 situation. That said, I’m more than willing to be pragmatic about it – and do whatever it takes to get us the recognition of equal marriage rights that are already ours.

    Ari, if we were to win those California rights at the ballot in 2012, would the Ninth Circuit consider Perry v. Brown moot, and dismiss it?

    Conversely, if we don’t go to the ballot in 2012 … and instead shoot for actual equal marriage rights (i.e., the federal rights that all California straight marrieds have), is there no chance (in your opinion) the Supreme Court will take up Perry v. Brown when it reaches that level?

  3. George says

    I think putting it up again is a great idea. It shows the other side that we are not going anywhere. We will put it up again and again, every two years until we win. Make them raise millions of dollars to fight us EVERY single year until they are just exhausted themselves. We have the momentum and passion of actually fighting for our rights. Their hate will begin to turn into apathy.

    Even if we lose again (which would be horribly demoralizing), just getting a few percentage points closer and having the debate every two years brings more people onto our side.

  4. jack says

    the rights of the minority are not or should not be subject to the will of the majority. the rights situation, however unfortunately, MUST wend its way through the courts.

  5. says

    @zlick: thank you for your comment. i updated the original post to answer your question, which is important. i am sorry i forgot to include that in the first place. yes, if we win at the ballot in 2012 and Perry had yet to be decided by that point, the case would be moot and prematurely ended. there would be no case or controversy for the court to hear.

  6. Chadd says

    The Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and in the case out of Virginia dealing with interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia) had nationwide effects. I don’t understand why the Perry case would not also have nationwide effects.

    As we are learning from Iowa, even a state judicial decision in our favor may not last. As far as the ballot initiative, I don’t think that my rights should be denied or granted by popular vote and winning in CA in 2012 is certainly not a slam dunk. Ballot initiatives that are routinely subject to judicial review prior to implementation almost seem like a waste of time. Gay Americans in ultra conservative states (the other 40) will never see equality through ballot measures, state legislatures or judiciary, so not until the US Supreme Court rules in our favor will all gay Americans gain equality.

  7. Joel says

    I’d like to see it go up for a vote. Through whatever legal/legislative channels change happens, it will only come about due to the visibility of the gay community and pressure it and its allies can exert. When Prop 8 passed, there was a lot of complacency on the part of the gay community. We lost, and now the complacency is gone. If we win, great. If we don’t, the community will just grow louder and stronger.

  8. peterparker says

    “The rights of a minority should never be put up for a popular vote by the majority.” We said it before Prop 8 and in the aftermath of Prop 8. But now we are okay with it because we think we might win? That’s bullshit.

    Every time our rights go up for a popular vote–whether we win or lose–it emboldens the bigots to continue to use the ballot box to bash us. We should NOT put this issue on any ballot until every legal remedy has been exhausted.

  9. Tony says

    I would like to see it back on the ballot. We have the public opinion this time and with Obama on the ballot we can definitely pull this one out. Plus I think the President will come out for same-sex marriages during the campaign!

  10. Patric says

    In your penultimate paragraph, you raise what might be considered a significant negative consequence for the broader struggle for marriage equality of a victory at the ballot box in California in November 2012: the Perry litigation would be dismissed and we would have lost our most promising vehicle, complete with a trial record very favorable to us, for advancing our case through the federal courts.

    Ultimately, I find that an insufficient reason for not moving forward with a ballot measure in 2012 if we conclude, based on polling and other considerations, that there is a high degree of likelihood that we will prevail this time. I do not find your concerns about submitting our rights to a popular vote to be persuasive in this regard. Sure, in a more perfect world our rights would be recognized and people would accept that those rights are not conditioned on the approval of a majority of the voters at any given time. That, however, is not the world in which we currently live. It was not the world yesterday, it is not the world today and, whether or not we move forward with a ballot measure in California in November 2012, it will not be the world twelve months from now. How would we accomplish anything for the principle that our rights should not be subject to a popular vote by doing nothing? At least until the conclusion of federal litigation (assuming a favorable outcome), which as you note might not happen for some years, our rights would still in fact be denied as the result of the whims of a past majority! Some victory for principle!

    I do think we need to make this decision carefully. It seems as if most prior polls have overestimated our performance when recognition of our relationships has been put to voters (in Cali in ’08, in Maine and in Washington in ’09, etc.) and, after all, we lost by about five points just two years ago despite a massive turnout of young voters for then-Senator Obama. No doubt you are correct that we should not take a victory at the polls for granted in 2012. Also, contrary to what some have suggested on this site and others, another defeat at the polls would harm our efforts – not irreversibly, but no doubt a defeat would be a bad thing in terms of its impact on our efforts to persuade voters and legislators in other jurisdictions and in terms of its impact on judges in the middle, who are sensitive to evolving public opinion on issues such as this.

    Having said all of this, if we conclude that we have a high degree of confidence that we can prevail in 2012, I think that we should most definitely move forward. I say this in large part because, quite the opposite of feeling that it’s bad precedent to willingly submit our inalienable rights to a popular vote, I believe that, in circumstances such as these, our worldwide struggle for equality could get a boost from popular validation by the voters of California that no court victory could ever deliver. Any court decision in our favor will certainly be attacked as the work of “activist” judges usurping a role not intended for them and substituting their personal preferences for those of the populace. While such attacks reveal a woeful misunderstanding of the most important function of the judiciary in our system of government, they nonetheless have proved quite effective in the past and have even engendered backlashes against us. On the other hand, having the voters of California themselves reverse their prior verdict on this issue and sanction marriage equality would be a shot heard round the world, from Maryland to Minnesota to Denmark to France to Ireland to Uruguay. People would take note and the tide surely would have turned irreversibly.

    One final note. Concerns about 2016 need play no role in this discussion. We may ultimately conclude that we are not confident enough of victory in 2012 to put this issue back on the ballot at that time but, if we do and if we in fact prevail, the chances that Californians would again reverse themselves in the future seem remote (and, indeed, I’d worry more about 2014, given the more conservative composition of midterm election voters, than 2016). Acceptance of marriage equality will have continued to increase at the impressive pace we’ve seen of late and even some of those who’d been on the fence but would have voted against changing the status quo when the status quo meant discrimination would similarly opt against changing the status quo when the status quo means equality.

  11. Justin says

    Ari, you are incorrect about what happens if the Ninth Circuit recognizes the Proponents’ standing to appeal. The merits questions have already been fully briefed. If the Ninth Circuit finds standing, it is likely to also rule on the merits in the same order, or in any event shortly thereafter. The case would not be going back up any federal “ladder,” except for the inevitable review by SCOTUS.

  12. Chris Gable says

    Aren’t we headed toward an opinion on standing from the CA Supremes in November 2011? So we’ll get a decision on standing from the 9th Circuit in January 2012? Do you really think SCOTUS would take up a standing issue that is essentially a single state issue, and when the Yes on 8 people have so little defense in claiming standing — CA law provides that if ballot issue promoters want to claim the right to defend it they can put that in the language of the ballot initiative itself. Yes on 8 didn’t do that. If we will know in 9 months and our odds are very good — why announce an initiative that could undermine us before that time?

  13. BillyBoy says

    RE “more importantly, we would most certainly not get a final decision on the irrationality of any denial of marriage rights from the gay community”

    Why are we eager to have SCOTUS rule on Perry? Given its present composition, our chances of a win there are not good, while time is on our side. Better to do anything we can to prevent Perry from reaching SCOTUS.

  14. Daniel says

    I’d be concerned about the implications for the Democrats in 2012 if it was on the ballot. If the races are close, this ballot measure and the Democrats could both lose, and while the Democrats are far from perfect, they’re much better on other gay issues than (most) Republicans. It could do more harm than good.

  15. Rowan says

    Don’t go on the ballot. This shows that the gay rights groups are not EVEN on the same page.

    But they never were and we know of all the nasty back biting that happened.

    This is all One-manupship gaming. BIG time.

    Putting it to the ballot means that forever the USA will decide it’s laws by people who are not educated about issues or who have a grudge to bear will decided peoples lives.

    And to the above. If you don’t as an organization have enough money to fight the Christians, you think you will win? Look what happened in IOWA. These guys did their research and the public were for gay marriage,hell some were not even bothered and this how NOM won with all their money. To relentlessly keep on confusing people that gays are bad and as Christians, they should do the right thing.

    So WRONG.

  16. me says

    @Ari, thanks for answering my question on one of your previous articles about not expecting them to reverse the stay.

    Question again: If the 9th Circuit in 2012 deems that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, THEN do you expect them to continue the stay? So, in 2012 if we “win”, will we be able to get married or not?

    (does it matter whether it’s deemed the prop 8 supporters have standing? if so, assume they don’t).

    I still don’t understand why Judge Walker issued the stay but I guess anyone who follows the letter or spirit of the law also wouldn’t understand it.

  17. me says

    @BillyBoy, you asked “why are we so eager to have the supreme court rule on perry?”

    I do feel that with the current court’s composition they would rule against the constitution. But I’m hopeful that one of the conservatives will kick the bucket before then. Also, it’s possible that Kennedy will have a more sensible vote.

  18. Jollysocks says

    “a victory at the ballot box in 2012 would moot Perry v. Brown in all aspects.”

    I don’t necessary agree with this statement because even if we win in 2012, the haters could strip it away again in 2014. So, until the issue of same sex marriage is ruled upon via Perry V. Brown — there is still “controversy” because one of the core questions wouldn’t yet be settled — is it or is it not unconstitutional to have a ban on same sex marriage.

    I think there is really no harm in starting to collect signatures now for a repeal effort in 2012. Even if we do get an answer back from the 9th before, that doesn’t mean it’s going to go in our favor. If it doesn’t, we want to have the ballot measure ready ASAP and not wait around for a signature gathering effort.

  19. michael says

    Ari (or any law types):

    Say that we get this on the ballot for 2012, and the 9th Circuit issues that the proponents do have standing and that indeed prop 8 was unconstitutional before the election and then we were successful at the ballot box in November.

    I understand that the question would then be moot, but the 9th having issued a positive outcome would then in theory legalize marriage equality in all those states in the 9th circuit while mooting the question before it gets to the SCOTUS. Does this mean that we could bring equality to all 9 states plus 2 territories of the 9th circuit while still avoiding the SCOTUS?

  20. says

    @michael: thats certainly one of many possible outcomes. thats the thing with this case, the outcomes are varied and unclear. but, the way the case was filed — as against only two counties in California — complicates the reach of any 9th Circuit decision outside California. but your scenario is definitely possible. more in depth explanation later… off to a meeting.

  21. Glenn says

    Look, unless you believe in some kind of “natural law” approach — and the LGBT community should always be wary of any arguments as to what is or isn’t “natural — then rights necessarily emanate from an affirmative act of the polity, i.e., the enactment into positive law of a constitutional (or statutory) provision that conveys those rights. When you say you don’t want our rights put up to majority vote, you’re obviously relying on the fact that you think we’ve already been granted those rights (i.e., via the 14th Amendment or various state-constitution equivalents). But where do you think those came from? They were enacted (in the case of the US constitution) by Congress and the state legislatures; or in the case of states, usually by popular referendum.

    Put it another way: Say Perry gets up to the Supreme Court and they rule (as I suspect) that the 14th Amendment doesn’t require marriage equality. If there’s a proposal to put an overturning amendment before Congress and the States, will you moan about how your rights shouldn’t be up to a vote? Of course not.

    There’s nothing mystical about our “rights”. They don’t come from God. You have to fight for them, and yes, that always means ultimately in the down-and-dirty arena of politics.

  22. Brianna says

    If anyone had a memory that extended beyond 48 hours, you would know that this 2012 idea is an EQCA scam. In January,, the folks who do the weekly Prop 8 on Youtube, contacted EQCA and asked them about a repeal effort in 2012. EQCA said that it wasn’t even on the radar. Check it out at 1:25. BTW, this video was posted here on Towleroad, so it is disappointing that Andy T. can’t even remember that his posts in March are directly contradicted by his posts in January.

    Obviously, if EQCA were even half serious about a 2012 repeal effort, it would have been working diligently through 2010 to prepare – retaining signature gathering firms, fundraisers, pollsters, etc. (The need for a lot of time to prepare was the reason we didn’t attempt it in 2010.)

    Yet we are to believe that now EQCA is seriously considering it? More like EQCA needs cash and is floating this in order to get people excited about a big battle. After they have banked a few million, they’ll announce that it is better to wait to see how the litigation plays out.

  23. Brian says

    I understand people’s dislike/disgust of having voters and legislators decide civil rights issues but that’s what we do in the United States. We’re a democracy, we vote on things. And how is having a judge or set of judges decide our fate better?

    What’s more, the legal strategy in Perry strikes me as little more than Ted Olsen saying, “Justice Kennedy is my friend, I think he’ll vote for me.” There is not a strong line of Supreme Court decisions that mandate a pro-gay outcome in the case.

    There are only 5 states that permit same-sex marriage and only 5 more allow civil unions. We’ve lost several high profile cases, legislative votes and ballot initiatives. We are slowly and consistently advancing, but there is not momentum enough to say to the justices that our position will necessarily prevail nationwide and a contrary decision will be another Dred Scott or Bowers v. Hardwick.

    We can’t get Congress to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA. Why do we think that the Court will overturn same-sex marriage bans in more than 35 states. That’s a very sweeping decision for a Court that has been very cautious in recent years.

  24. Bob M says

    To add to your whipshawed feeling, remember that the CA S.Ct. decision upholding Prop 8 went out of its way to uphold CA’s domestic partnership laws and stated they are in all ways equivalent to marriage. All Prop 8 did, according to the Court, was prohibit same sex committed partners from legally using the word marriage.

    Now, that’s still not a good thing because separate is not equal.

    But given the $80 million or more needed to wage a ballot initiative, do we want to focus our money right now on winning back this word? Or do we want to focus on fighting DOMA, on electing pro-equality legislators to make that happen? To fighting in the Courts?

    Basically, one of the questions is thinking about how important is this particular fight right now compared with the others set before us.

  25. Doug says

    I think we very much need the Perry case or something similar to go to the current SCOTUS. Anthony Kennedy wants to retire but will only do so when a republican is president. As the author of both the Lawrence and the Romer decisions, he has shown leadership in his willingness to see us as equal in the eyes of the law. he is not likely to be replaced by someone as friendly. He was nominated at a time when Reagan was able to put social conservatives in their place when necessary. The current GOP refuses to ever do this, and they will ensure a very conservative judge replaces Kennedy.

    At the risk of hearing Maggie and Co. continue to peddle garbage about judicial activism, I think we should NOT put it on the 2012 ballot. As someone who volunteered during the 08 campaign, I was very turned off by what it entailed…begging fellow citizens for my equality. I think we need to use this as an opportunity to educate Americans that the Constitution guarantees everyone that some things don’t go up for a popular vote. I’d even donate money to a campaign that featured ads that explained to voters why we are pursuing this through the courts, and what the implications are for everyone if the equal protection clause can be nullified by the majority. In this approach, we are able to educate and convince Americans while not giving in to submitting our rights to a popular vote.

  26. Ben In Oakland says

    If they run the same kind of closeted, shame based campaign they ran against prop.8, I would not support putting it on the ballot again. If they fail to tackle head on the issues of religion, bigotry, religious bigotry, and children, i would have even less interest.

    The issue is always the closet. The more we talk about it, the less power the closet has.

  27. JDB says

    I volunteered every week to protect our right to marry, usually more than once a week, from even before Prop. 8 had qualified on the ballot. It was an exhausting campaign, but I can tell you that I would gladly do it again. If we lose, we still have the courts. If we win, we destroy NOM’s argument that no state has ever approved of gay marriage in a popular vote of the people. Yes, it’s galling sometimes to ask your fellow citizens to recognize your inherent equality, but it must be done.

    And even if it’s a loss at the ballot box, it’s a win because opposing gay rights is getting more and more expensive by the day. Any resources directed by NOM and their ilk at California cannot be directed to denying adoption rights in VA or FL, or at undermining ENDA passage efforts in DC, or at ousting judges in Iowa.

  28. Brianna says

    @Ben In Oakland:

    A campaign to pass or defeat a referendum is not an alternate form of psychotherapy for you. No on 8 was ineffective, but not b/c it didn’t advance arguments that make you feel good.

    No on 8 didn’t need an ad campaign attacking peoples’ religious views. It needed a campaign theme that focused on voter self-interest. In the middle of an economic meltdown and 1 year into a recession, a campaign theme focused on the economic benefits of marriage equality, bolstered by supportive statements and ad appearances by CA’s largest employers, would have been an effective complement to the primary themes of fairness and justice. No on 8 fell 2 percent short of a win. What impact would have resulted from an ad campaign featuring pleas for a no vote by Google, Yahoo, Lockheed, PacBell, and a dozen other major employers?

  29. MiddleoftheRoader says

    For those who think that the US Supreme Court is going to strike down Prop 8 — GIVE UP. You can continue to delude yourselves that there are 5 votes to throw out Prop 8, but the reality is that Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts and Kennedy (yes, Kennedy) are NOT going to find Prop 8 unconstitutional. So, we have a choice of 2 evils —- let the Supreme Court rule on Prop 8 and when it finds that it’s valid, we will have a Supreme Court case that sets back gay rights throughout the US for at least another 20 years, OR let the voters of California overturn Prop 8 by voting. Yes, none of us wants people to vote on our fundamental rights. But we are not in a vacuum here — look at the option that the Supreme Court will do long-term damage. Wake up.

  30. Keith says

    As a California resident who got married when marriage equality was briefly legal, and who stood on street corners in pouring rain every day listening to the hate and ugliness of the PropH8 people, I can assure you that California voters have not moved far enough yet on this issue for us to be assured of success. Also, we are still not organized or politically prepared to put this on the ballot again in California. . .there’s no leadership, strategy, or single vision of how to push our issue through the voter process towards a successful outcome. I think we need to wait for a few more of the older generation to die off before we’ll reach a tipping point of acceptance and support on this issue. . .and need to be patient and politically savvy enough to recognize this fact.

  31. me says

    @Ari — can you tell us what you predict with Kennedy — i.e. do you predict that he will vote against Prop 8, or for it?

    If you predict that he will be in favor of keeping Prop 8, then the best outcome would be:
    a) win in District 9
    b) win in the ballots in fall of 2012, possibly stopping the Perry case before it reaches the Supremes.

    (although i’m not sure whether (b) would stop the case?)

  32. Ken says

    With all the effort that’s been put into the Perry case I think it is best to let the legal process play out before going back to the ballot in California. However I do think trying to win a vote would not be a bad idea. Oregon has a marriage ban which can be repealed the same way as California’s. And it’s a less expensive state to run a campaign in and I beleive the polls are even more favorable to us than in California. I’d love to see us win a vote and take away the argument that marriage equality has never been approved by the public.

  33. Satire says

    We need this on the ballot ASAP. Those who support gay marriage are growing in number every day. A recent national poll showed 53% support. Thus we win the election and by the time the bigots can get another head of steam built up to fight it, they will be in a very small minority.

    Yes, it would be nice to fight this out in court as there’s no doubt we’d win. There’s no constitutional basis to deny us marriage. But I want to see something more immediate. As the republicans continue to implode (shout out to Scott Walker!) and the younger generation starts to vote in record numbers, this is the fastest means to the solution. Put it to a vote!!! ASAP

  34. Doug says

    Not sure why you’re so confident about Kennedy’s vote – I really don’t think Ted Olsen and David Boies get involved in cases unless they see a reasonable chance of winning at the SCOTUS.

  35. Ben In Oakland says

    Brianna– it’s not what makes me feel good. i have written extensively on the subject, and predicted the outcome. The isues that i mentioned were the issues being expressly avoided, and these were the issues that 2% or so decided on.

    I don’t know a single out, grounded, thoughtful gay person who did not think the campaign was a loser from the get go. The strategy they used has failed every single time it was advanced in a campaign.

  36. me says

    @Satire — if you think there’s no doubt we’d win in court, you haven’t been paying attention.

    @Doug — I agree. Given the background/experience of Olsen/Bois,I’m also leaning towards riding it out. But I think we should get the signatures required in case District 9 upholds prop 8.

    @Ari: if the supreme court also upholds prop 8, you write that it won’t have a broader effect. (“”It would seem that victory in Perry is more likely to mean the freedom to marry in the Golden State, rather than across the country.”)

    So, then maybe it’s best not to risk it, that is:
    a) win in District 9
    b) win the vote in 2012
    c) never ask for the Supreme Court’s opinion if it doesn’t further our rights.

    Or, is there some other benefit to winning in the Supreme Court?

  37. Francis says

    CA is 20 percent of the USA population. We lost 8 by just a couple percentage points. Overturning 8 by popular vote will transform the argument across the nation in our favor. The bigots fought so hard for 8 because they knew this. They will pour everything they have into defeating us again. Whether or not we put our rights up for a vote they will find ways to to do just that, anyway. I support putting marriage equality on the ballot but only if we can energize ourselves, unite and focus. If we remain divided and if we have our own fighting against us then we can’t pull it off.

    We need to pursue both avenues and not wait for our conservative majority on the SCOTUS because it is very likely they will maintain our rights are up to each state. I know that is wrong, but let’s be realistic!

  38. mj says

    The rights of the minority must never be determined by a majority vote. Even if they expect a favourable result, the gay community must boycott any popular vote on their rights. Validating and unjust process will only come back to bite us.

  39. just_a_guy says

    I see myself as a political realist.

    I think we NEED California. I think we need the PEOPLE of California. And I believe that the PEOPLE of California are with US. I think we should fight to win over EVERY SINGLE California voter.

    I don’t think we fought hard enough in the Prop. 8 battle. I think we believed we would win easily because, come on, it’s Cali. But we underestimated the power of Mormon-hater-money spent on PR in the state.

    We need to fight harder this time. We skated around issues in Cali and in Maine — instead of taking them head on. We need to take them head on this time.

    The Supreme Court in my view is crazy-conservative (never mind what the Wingnuts say).

    I think long-term we NEED places like Cali to have SUPPORTED US AT THE BALLOT BOX to win big in Court for the rest of the country. I think we need to go hard in Cali, win our “friends” already. Then when the Court has to tell Missippi and West Virginia that their anti-gay marriage positions are bs, the Court won’t be politically overturning the whole nation…just the will of some backwater places.

    We need Cali.

    Cali needs us.

    I say let’s bring it home. Let Cali voters redeem themselves as human.

    F the hater-Mormons — but, y’know, let’s win some mainstream Mormon families, too. Hey, every single Cali Mormon family we convert to our cause of love should be like a MAJOR gold star.

    We can do better. We have to keep fighting. Waiting on the Court is not enough. Bring it on, anti-gay Mormon-prophet: Your gay-hate is coming DOWN.