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Equality California’s New Executive Director John O’Connor Gets to Work

 
 
   

(Editor’s note: this is an expanded version of an earlier report for Frontiers magazine. —Karen Ocamb)

One month after officially assuming his position on Dec. 3 as the new executive director of the beleaguered statewide LGBT lobbying group Equality California, John O’Connor seems focused, a gay man on a mission. He is mindful of the pitfalls and the hefty responsibility of restoring luster to the tarnished organization, but he is confident in his own executive experience and dedication to achieving full equality.

“When there is a long-term executive director like Geoff Kors, it’s never an easy transition after their departure, and I think we all know that Equality California had a particularly difficult time,” O’Connor said in a phone interview with Frontiers on Jan. 3. “But rather than dwelling on what mistakes were made, I want to talk about the vision for the organization moving forward.”

That vision includes a rapid response to breaking news—and perhaps making some news in the process. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, O’Connor used the occasion of President Obama’s historic Inaugural address to send out an email urging EQCA supporters to ask Obama to weigh in on the Prop. 8 case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on March 26:

When the President acknowledges your love during his inaugural address, when he makes your equality a benchmark of America’s promise, when he draws commonality from our struggle for dignity and justice to Seneca Falls and Selma, it is impossible not to surge with gratitude and wonder at the progress we have made within the span of a generation.

But, as President Obama said, our journey is not complete. We cannot yet enjoy the freedoms promised; while we can see the hill, we can’t yet rest there.

For all of us who heard those powerful words yesterday, thankful and hopeful, we can now help President Obama take the next step on our journey, a journey that is incomplete until all Americans can marry the person that they love.

Please, take a moment and urge President Obama to file an amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Proposition 8 case. He knows that this is the path the country must take to achieve the promise of equality; take a moment to encourage his hand to follow his heart.

You can amplify your voice by sharing this with friends on Facebook or Twitter and making sure they urge the President to support the freedom to marry too. With your help, we can send 25,000 letters!

Make sure the President knows you want full equality and that his support is crucial in this historic case.

As Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed reports, the White House has not responded to repeated questions about whether President Obama believes Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, as he has similarly expressed his and the administration’s view that DOMA is unconstitutional. Geidner reports that, “The deadline for submitting amicus curiae briefs supporting the couples challenging Proposition 8 in the Supreme Court is Feb. 28. Amicus briefs supporting the Proposition 8 proponents or supporting neither side are due Jan. 29.”

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