2 September 2011 by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The time has come for the California Constitution to be amended by, basically, getting rid of the requirement that just about everything be voted on by the public and the ability for the public to so easily get amendments onto the ballot. This might prevent things like what is going on with Equality California and the push to overturn Senate Bill 48, also known as the FAIR Education Act. The act is designed to have school children learn about the history of lesbians, gays, trans people, and the disabled.
According to ECQA Executive Director Roland Palencia “The prospects are not good if this gets to the ballot. I am not under any illusion.”
Anti-gay groups have until 12 October to collect 504,760 valid signatures. The groups are being coordinated by the same groups that pushed Proposition 8, and they are gathering most of the signatures in churches, but they may hire signature gatherers in order to hit the big box stores before this is out.
According to ebar.com:
We noticed something on the EQCA conference call, which included coalition director Andrea Shorter and communications director Rebekah Orr: there’s no robust unified strategy to keep the referendum from qualifying or what to do if it does. There needs to be one message to meet the opposition. If we’ve learned nothing else from the Prop 8 fiasco, it’s that our side was disorganized, afraid, and timid.
Palencia later clarified his comments, but still maintains – correctly – that any ballot fight over SB 48, which would require public schools to include factual, age-appropriate information about the contributions of LGBT people and people with disabilities, will be extremely difficult. Orr acknowledged that the coalition has yet to find the “silver bullet” on overcoming the fear factor that the homophobes are quite adept at instilling in straight parents, especially mothers.
Part of the problem facing EQCA is that many within the LGBT Community have tended towards apathy when it comes to most issues. It was difficult to get people to call Governor Jerry Brown’s office to get him to sign the bill in the first place. Of course, the voice of the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins may help spur some action from the LGBT Community as a whole since he recently released a message to fundamentalist churches. He railed against the supposed propaganda of SB 48 and how it forces teacher to “advocate for behavior they find morally objectionable.” EQCA pushed back pointing out that the FRC is a hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and they went on to attack Perkins’ lies and misinformation.
Still, Palencia notes that “We are realistic about how difficult this campaign will be, how hard it will be to win. But we also know that even if we start way behind, a loss is not a foregone conclusion. From our starting place our chances may not look good, but I don’t believe it is impossible.”
Perhaps it would be best if EQCA were to start with a push to make it harder for these amendments to be put on the ballots in the first place. That would certainly help, would it not?