Organizers of the No On 8 campaign, which sought to defend same-sex marriage in California from Proposition 8, a referendum that passed by a narrow margin, are being criticized for the loss. (The legality of the referendum will be reviewed by the State Supreme Court).
In the December 16th issue of The Advocate, Ben Ehrenreich writes this story, Anatomy of a Failed Campaign and Dan Savage discusses how a lack of outreach to the African American community (including gays and lesbians of color) affected the outcome in this essay, The “No on Prop 8″ Campaign, Race, and Responsibility. The Los Angeles Times is in on the action with a follow-up to The Advocate piece, No on Proposition 8 Campaign Official Defends Strategy.
To me, it felt like No On 8 was run like an old-school campaign. The updates and “buzz” were all about money, air time, and polls. Frankly, I think we drowned in our own analytics and sterility. Where was the emotion and outcry we’ve experienced in these weeks following the election? This is what we could have used before the vote.
(Hindsight is the clearest sight, right?)
Honestly, I think there was complacency in the LGBT community about the immediate threat the initiative posed, and many people thought that writing a check was enough. People who couldn’t write a check gave lip-service and bumper space to their No On 8 stance, but there was little gathering, rallying, or organizing of the type that has happened since Nov. 4.
Now we’ve finally got the attention of the nation, and we’ve finally got the attention of our own community members.
I think the biggest question shouldn’t be “who can we blame?” but rather “how do we keep this momentum going?
Note: My favorite outcomes of this whole mess? That would be the $60,000 that’s been donated to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in the name of Thomas Monson, President of the Mormon Church (LDS). You can read about it here, and the fact that the Mormon Church is now considering its involvement in the Prop. 8 campaign to be a public relations disaster. (You think mebbe?)