Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summit meeting of California LGBT organizations.

A summit meeting of all the major LGBT organizations of California was held on 25 July 2009 at San Bernadino, CA. This conference was “live streamed” on the internet and could be viewed by anyone with a computer. I have to smile as I imagine people watching the proceeding in their homes and offices.

Since this was broadcast on the internet, both friends and foes of full civil rights for LGBT people were watching. The scene at the summit was a mixed bag. Experts gave informed opinions regarding a host of subjects which included: buying media time in 2010 (25% to 35% cheaper than in the 2008 campaign), the process of registering a petition with the Secretary of State of California, the wording of the ballot, feedback from canvassing efforts, and strategies for victory.

This part of the summit was informative and gave much room for realistic hope of victory. However, the room itself was polarized between those who want to move forward with a ballot initiative in 2010 and those who wish to wait until 2012 or later. This last phrase, revealed at the end of the day caused me to pause and ask, “What the heck are they thinking?” I instantly thought of Dr. Martin Luther King’s statement “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Old habits die hard, and lots of LGBT people are still trying to be “good little boys and girls” in the hope that someday, if they are polite enough, society will finally grant their fondest wish accept them and gift them full civil rights. Do not hold your breath, as Malcolm X said, “no one ever gives you rights, you have to take them!”

The most salient argument that those who wish to wait presented was that “the big donors are all tapped-out.” Additionally, the argument was made that the economy is in a de facto depression, that this will effect donations and that the other side has “unlimited funds. “ This last line made me laugh. The notion that the Catholic Church has gold and platinum bars in the basements of its churches is an old and unfounded stereotype. Trust me, after the HUGE payouts over the pedophilia lawsuits, most dioceses are not rolling in cash. Donations are down for other religious groups for the very same reasons they are down for all other charities, the economy is an equal opportunity blight for everyone. The counter argument to this is that it was small donors who helped Obama win in 2008.It will be small donations that will help us win in 2010.

In addition to all of these economic considerations, the leadership of the Catholic Church and LDS (Mormons) are not stupid people. They know that statistically this is a losing battle, eventually they will lose. Why throw good money after bad? Recall how when Utah wanted to be admitted into the Union, the Prophet in Salt Lake City received a revelation that polygamy would no longer be practiced by LDS (Mormons). Recall the Civil Rights movement and how “suddenly” the Prophet in Salt Lake City received a “revelation” that blacks could be admitted into the priesthood. As for the Catholic Church, yes Pope Benedict XVI is adamantly opposed to “aggressive homosexuals” (i.e. LGBT people who refuse to shut-up and accept discrimination), but he is 82. At the last conclave, the very progressive Jesuit Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires was almost elected Pope. A number of items will be discussed at the next conclave, including the role of bishops vise a vise the papacy and mandatory celibacy for priestly ordination.

Having to shell out 40 million dollars in California, two years after having to shell out 40 million dollars in California will be a hard sell for Catholic & Mormon leadership. Even if they do, it will be 40 million dollars that they will not have to fight us on the repeal of DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, in New York State, and other states where this issue will come up. The issue will increasingly come up as America continues to move towards abolishing “separate but equal” laws. Ultimately, change will happen and the PR costs to the LDS (Mormons) and the Catholic Church will become unsustainable in the face of changing public opinion. Oh, they have resisted popular opinion before, you say? When was the last time that Cardinal Mahony, or any other American bishop, gave an impassioned homily against artificial birth control? You may find a few, but only a few.

So, how did the summit end? Essentially, those who wish to move forward with a ballot initiative in November of 2010 will do so. Over 40 LGBT organizations are supportive of Love Honor Cherish, an organization working hard to repeal Prop 8 and the hatred it represents. If you want to help to restore full marriage equality in California and the human rights of LGBT persons, contact them at When they succeed in placing an initiative to repeal Prop 8 on the 2010 California ballot, other LGBT organizations will join in, or have hell to pay with the greater LGBT community.


Steven said...

While I did not "watch" the summit, I will admit that I was a bit more supportive of waiting until 2012, thinking that we wouldn't be ready or strong enough by 2010. But your revelation of Love Honor Cherish gives me hope to look to 2010.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info on the gathering of the LGBT organizations.

The leadersip can only do so much///it is the rank and file of the LGBT community that must support them through contributions of time, talent, and treasure...then you can succeed in 2010....from afar
Fr Vince

Freedom said...

Excellent post Father. Justice delayed is indeed just denied. It's just that I tired,so, so tired. Give me the stregth to fight the good fight.