California | News | Proposition 8 | Roland Palencia

Equality California 'In Turmoil' as Executive Director Resigns

Following today's resignation announcement from Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia, the SF Chronicle reports that the organization is"in turmoil":

EqcaReached by phone, Palencia said, "I literally made a personal decision that I wanted to move on. There's really nothing more to it." He said he was not forced out by the board. About the group's financial situation, he said, "Right now a lot of nonprofits are having problems," but he maintained that the organization has "a lot of support."

Cathy Schwamberger, Equality California Institute board chairwoman, said its members were grateful for Palencia's service "and wish him the best in all of his future endeavors."

The organization appears to be in turmoil. Its recently laid-off Capitol office manager said staff has been cut drastically.

PalenciaPalencia released a statement to journalist Rex Wockner today about the organization's decision not to go back to the ballot:

"The decision about going or not back to the ballot to overturn Proposition 8 was a gut-wrenching one. Ultimately, I believed that initiating a signature drive could ignite something powerful in our movement here in California. This needs to be balanced with the responsibility of raising close to $2 million by December 2011 for the signature gathering alone; and maybe over $40 million to win this campaign by November 2012. Not a small task. Given the pending federal lawsuit, the economy, critical support among the base and a number of other factors, not winning this campaign could be a very disempowering experience."

Love Honor Cherish, a grassroots organization dedicated to repealing Proposition 8, said in an email today that it is "severely disappointed" in EQCA's decision not to go back to the ballot and it is "ready to fill the void" in fighting for LGBT Equality in California:

LovehonorcherishLast week, Equality California announced its much-delayed decision to, once again, abandon and postpone any effort to repeal Proposition 8 at the ballot box. EQCA's decision comes despite its members' favoring going to the ballot to repeal Prop 8, despite the town halls that EQCA held favoring being prepared to repeal Prop 8 if the Court case does not go well, and despite EQCA's making numerous statements favoring 2012.

Last night, we all heard the surprising news that EQCA's recently-appointed Executive Director, Roland Palencia, is leaving that position. LHC Outreach Director Lester Aponte says "Roland Palencia is a true gentleman is every sense of the word and has been a tireless advocate for our community and for all the least fortunate in society. Although we disagreed on important issues, our disagreements have always been respectful. Our concern is that his resignation reflects a far larger crisis in the largest LGBT rights organization in California and our movement in general. The failure by EQCA's Board and Mr. Palencia to push strongly for marriage equality is both a symptom and a consequence of this crisis."

In light of EQCA's abdication of their responsibility to fight for equality for the LGBT community in California and to honor their prior commitments, Love Honor Cherish stands ready, willing and able to fill the void and will have further announcements in the coming weeks.

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  1. Since LHC is doing the job that EQCA refuses to do year after year after year -- which is restoring marriage equality to the state of California -- LHC has all the support I used to give to EQCA, which is support that I will never give to EQCA again.

    Posted by: ohplease | Oct 12, 2011 12:16:04 AM

  2. LHC does not have the money, support or backing for this. In fact, they have failed before in trying to get the signatures. We will wait, LHC can have a seat.

    Posted by: wondermann | Oct 12, 2011 12:38:26 AM

  3. Thank you for the good writeup.

    Posted by: tiffany jewellery uk | Oct 12, 2011 1:39:40 AM

  4. Groups like LCR and GOProud are front groups infiltrating our communities for the Republican Party.

    Likewise groups like EQCA, HRC and Stonewall Democrats are front groups infiltrating our communities for the Democrats.

    The presidential candidates of both parties are bigots in view of their positions on same sex marriage and their front groups refuse to renounce support for them.

    In any case electoralism is a dead issue. Voting is not the way to change, mass action is. Madison and the Occupations are the opening shots of a new radicalization that promises to dwarf those of the 1930s and the 1960s.

    A perfect storm is descending on the Democrats and Republicans for their wars, their refusal to repeal DOMA or pass ENDA and because they're both lap dogs of Wall Street. That perfect storm, however long it takes to build will create real democracy in the country and that means nothing less than the rule of the majority in both politics and the economy. Working people have nothing to fear from that. On the other hand the rich and the paid political prostitutes who service them have a lot to lose.

    The partisan roles of EQCA, LCR, Stonewall Democrats, GOProud and HRC in our communities serves no useful purpose. They put party loyalty ahead of the needs of the GLBT communities. On November 6th, 2012 vote against Obama and the Democrats and Vote against whomever and the Republicans. Vote for important referenda. Vote left or just sit it out.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Oct 12, 2011 4:03:51 AM

  5. EQCA deserves to be fired. Just this year they spent precious capital to lobby a law that is so poorly conceived and drafted it actually reduces requirements that state contractors provide equal benefits to domestic partners and same sex couples. We already had those protections based on Leno's domestic partner legislation and FEHA. Now, thanks to EQCA, only companies with contracts over $100K have to provide them. Geez. If these are our friends...

    Posted by: haightbrad | Oct 14, 2011 11:16:12 PM

  6. @Haightbrad. The law passed and signed into law had nothing to do with domestic partners. It had to do with preventing the state from entering into contracts over $100,000 with companies that don't provide exactly the same benefits to married same-sex couples as the provide for their married different-sex partners. Perhaps you should be fired for wasting our time with your ignorance.

    Posted by: Jimmy | Oct 15, 2011 3:13:09 AM

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