Prop 8 repeal plot thickens

Love Honor Cherish announced today it will submit a ballot initiative to the state of California tomorrow to repeal Prop 8 in 2010. But key ally Courage Campaign, which has voiced support for a 2010 effort, is not yet onboard. Numerous other key California GLBT organizations, including Equality California, have said they want to wait until 2012 to go back to the ballot.

Some folks are wondering if there now is a 2010 sub-schism within the existing 2010/2012 schism, but LHC Executive Director John Henning said today that the decision to file the initiative tomorrow is based solely on maximizing the amount of time repeal advocates will have to collect the needed 1 million voter signatures.

“We have been aware for some time now that Courage Campaign was doing research and that their timeline doesn’t match up with submitting ballot language by Sept. 25,” Henning said. “We are still submitting by Sept. 25 because we feel we must preserve the ability to have (the full) 150 days to gather signatures … for the November 2010 ballot.”

It’s complicated but, basically, you file the initiative, Henning said, then the attorney general can take up to eight weeks to prepare a “title and summary,” then you can start gathering signatures, and then you must be done by April 16, 2010, if you want to make the November 2010 ballot.

“We think it’s great that the Courage Campaign is doing all the research they’re doing,” Henning said. “We’re really looking forward to their research helping to guide the community.”

Henning said that if the Courage Campaign comes up with better ballot language in October, then the initiative that will be filed tomorrow will be abandoned and a new one will be introduced, but repeal advocates then will have fewer than 150 days to gather signatures to make the November 2010 ballot.

The Courage Campaign, meanwhile, had this to say:

Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2009 17:30:07
From: Steve Hildebrand
To: Rex Wockner
cc: Rick Jacobs
Subject: Re: Rex inquiry

Mr. Wockner,

The main reason I decided to work with the Courage Campaign was because Rick was clear that there would be some very smart requirements about an eventual campaign that he and I both felt needed to be met before a campaign was waged. We’ve both stated them publicly as well as had many one-on-one conversations with folks in the LGBT community in California.
Hildebrand, left, and Jacobs – Karen Ocamb photo
To reiterate, we believe that to wage a winning campaign, there needs to be a strong governing structure, an experienced senior campaign team, the best research to steer the strategy and a sense that the campaign will be funded. We are working on all of those fronts, but because we will not have them in place by the time LHC submits ballot language, we will not be joining them this week.

The Courage Campaign is the only organization in California that has insisted on really smart research, backed it up with a significant financial investment and hired the best people to conduct it. We have to figure out a path for success — no matter if it’s a 2010 ballot fight or if the fight is waged at a later date. The bottom line is that this research will help guide the community to embrace a strategy to convince Californians to support marriage equality, and that persuasion effort needs to begin right away.

Hope that is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

Steve Hildebrand

By Rex Wockner


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