Friday, April 03, 2009

No on 8 honchos catch a break

Last Nov. 15 when gays and their supporters marched against just-passed Prop 8 in 300 cities in all 50 states, San Diego had the biggest march of all that day, making many locals wonder, WTF? But things apparently have calmed down here since, and the classic "chill" attitude of our local GLBT dudes and dudettes again rules the day. Last night, the Equality California, et al., traveling road show came through town -- to update us on marriage-equality issues in California and seek our input on how to proceed -- and not one of the 125 people who turned out at the gay center criticized the No on 8 honchos for their handling of the campaign that lost us same-sex marriage in California. Apparently, at least here, it is time to move on. Speaking above, the ever-foxy Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. To her right, Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors and, to his right, EQCA's new marriage director, Marc Solomon, former head of MassEquality.
The night before, the road show was in L.A. I'm told some 400 people turned out there and that the crowd was somewhat less forgiving, but I've yet to see any actual news reports from the gathering.
Unfortunately, most of the audience questions in San Diego weren't really all that informed. One can only assume that people who are already informed didn't so much feel the need to attend.
It's clear EQCA has high hopes for Marc Solomon, hired away from MassEquality after beating back moves there aimed at undoing same-sex marriage. Wishing him and EQCA all the best.

But I still think there's one thing we may need in California that we do not at present have: some kind of gay leader. Kors kinda maybe was our leader pre-Prop 8, but the failure of the No on 8 campaign, where he was sort of a figurehead, means his role going forward is something else. Kendell is a possible candidate but she doesn't want the job. She wants to stick with what she knows best: leading kick-ass NCLR, a purely legal group. There is no one person who really jumps out as the prime candidate for this needed role. Personally, I've had my eye on Ellen DeGeneres' wife, Portia de Rossi, lately. Every time I see her speaking out on same-sex marriage or doing something funny-but-profound on this issue on some TV show, I'm more impressed with her. We need someone to inspire us and fire us up, and around whom we can coalesce. We need someone who is well-spoken, comes across good on TV, and has an easy rapport with straight people. The person, of course, has to be informed and clever and smart. Who do you think might be able to most effectively lead the California gays back to full equality?
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