Buried in a note to supporters of Equality California on what Executive Director Roland Palencia describes as a new “breakthrough” project is the announcement that EQCA will not be participating in any return to the ballot in 2012 to overturn Prop. 8:
“This is exciting work, but it also means that given what we know about public opinion and the significant challenges of the current political and economic climate, Equality California will not lead an effort to return to the ballot in 2012 to overturn Proposition 8.”
Asked earlier about his reaction should EQCA decide not to go back to the ballot, Tom Watson, Acting Executive Director of Love Honor Cherish, told Frontiers:
"If EQCA abdicates their responsibility to fight for equality for the LGBT Community in California and to honor their prior commitments, Love Honor Cherish will fill the void. If they move forward as they should, we will work hand-in-hand with them."
Frontiers is working on a more complete report on this and other issues involving EQCA. In the meantime, here’s Palencia’s email:
I wanted to write this personal letter to share an important announcement with you about our vision and work for Equality California in the coming year.
Today, Equality California announced the launch of an exciting new public education project called "The Breakthrough Conversation," which is designed to identify and overcome the psychological, cultural and emotional triggers related to LGBT people and kids that drive down societal and political support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality—including the freedom to marry.
Our focus on this cutting-edge work—some of the most advanced in the movement to date—is critical, because although public opinion in support of marriage equality has grown since 2008, recent polls conducted by EQCA indicate that we still have much more work to do.
For decades, opponents of equality have used prejudicial and dehumanizing myths about LGBT people being a harm to kids and families as a weapon against us in the legislature, in the courts and at the ballot. Until we have and effective 'Breakthrough Conversation' about this core issue in the public sphere, we will continue to confront major societal barriers to securing full and lasting equality, including marriage equality.
This is exciting work, but it also means that given what we know about public opinion and the significant challenges of the current political and economic climate, Equality California will not lead an effort to return to the ballot in 2012 to overturn Proposition 8. (Read more about our decision.)
This was a very, very difficult decision. Every day that LGBT Californians are denied the freedom to marry the person they love, same-sex couples and their families continue to experience real harm and discrimination. It's wrong and correcting that wrong is a fundamental part of our movement.
In addition to our public education efforts around marriage equality and the core "Breakthrough Conversation," EQCA will continue to serve as the "community's legislative lobbyist" and close inequality gaps still existing in California law; protect the FAIR Education Act through electoral activism if necessary; implement existing laws to reform institutions that impact the daily lives of LGBT people; and support pro-equality candidates and legislators to protect existing gains and advance full equality. As part of this work, EQCA has recently hired a new Field Manager for the San Francisco Bay Area and is working to hire a Deputy and Political Director who will provide significant strategic direction to put these efforts to work on the ground across the state.
We look forward to partnering with you as we continue this march toward justice. We may not be taking our fight to the ballot right now, but make no mistake--our fight continues. And you are a critical part of that fight for full and lasting equality in California.