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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

“This Is Probably Our Opponents’ Worst Nightmare”

Posted by on Tue, May 12, 2009 at 3:57 PM

When a handful of right-wing groups filed a referendum to repeal the domestic-partnership bill last week, they hoped conservative and religious groups would join together to halt the gay-marriage parade. But instead, their coalition is already fracturing and gay-rights organizations are growing faster than ever.

“We are building our capacity in a way we could not do without a referendum threat,” says Josh Friedes, advocacy director of Equal Rights Washington (ERW), which supported the domestic partnership bill. Within the first 72 hours of launching a multi-organization campaign against Referendum 71 last Friday, over 7,500 people signed a pledge refusing to sign the petition. In a typical three-day period during an outreach campaign, only 100 to 300 would sign up with ERW. “It is turning into a goldmine for identifying supporters of marriage equality,” he says. “We are in essence creating a network army.”

Numerous other groups—including groups that are not focused on gay-rights issues—are also piling on. Among them is Fuse, a state-based online advocacy group, which has been appealing to its 100,000-person list to organize against Referendum 71. “We believe that everyone deserves equal protection under the law and we have little patience for the right-wing hate machine,” says Fuse director Aaron Ostrom.

4570/1242170455-decline2signref71.jpgMeanwhile, a Facebook group to oppose Ref. 71 grew by 100 people an hour in its first two days, says Joe Mirabella, the Washington organizer of jointheimpact.com, which orchestrated the anti-Prop 8 protests last November. (In the time it took me to write this short post, the group gained 20 new members.) Moreover, the people signing up want to help run a campaign to defeat the referendum, he says. “People are really motivated to volunteer. They are coming forwards saying that ‘This is what I’m good at, how can I help?’”

The ballooning volunteer and donor base creates the groundwork for a campaign to completely legalize gay marriage in Washington State in the next few years. “In many ways, this is probably our opponents’ worst nightmare,” says Friedes.

Join the Facebook group here. Sign the decline-to-sign petition here.

 

Comments (21) RSS

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21
where is the equality and the civil rights of the boys and girls from the ages of 10 to 18 that homosexuals molest and rape, you dont need gay rights. And this country will eventually adopt a law like they got in the Arab countries gays have there heads cut off over there, and this will happen over here because we know that your people are making Death threats to people that sign a petition against your people for same sex marriage
Posted by dukenukem on July 3, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this
TurdFerguson1 20
Naa, I would rather sign it. I don't condone this nor do I care to learn or be forced to learn about this behavior. So I will be signing the referendum to ABOLISH same-sex marriage again and again. Thanks. Now you may commence with the barrage of witty comments. Enjoy ;-)
Posted by TurdFerguson1 on July 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM · Report this
TurdFerguson1 19
Naa, I would rather sign it.
Posted by TurdFerguson1 on July 2, 2011 at 2:54 PM · Report this
18
I usually would not pay much attention to this initiative but after the opposition threatened to publish the names of people who sign I sent for a petition and am gathering signatures, also I donated money to cause. Do they not realize their tactics will cause the opposite outcome they were hoping for.
Posted by Ron on July 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM · Report this
17
Marriage is between a man and a woman. Two homosexuals or two lesbians can't have a baby and it's not normal to adopt innocent children up in an abnormal, immoral lifestyle. It's also evil to push your agenda in schools, work places, etc. In fact, there are cases where the murder of a homosexual has been a robbery, etc. and not because the person was so-called gay but this is also wrongly stated and lied about in various news outlets, etc. The american people have voted for Prop. 8 and don't want to live in sodom & gomorrah or have to see a Folsom street fair in their area.
Posted by Dolorosa on June 10, 2009 at 6:12 PM · Report this
16
Let's make this very simple....marriage has always been and always will be defined as a relationship between a man and a woman. This is not mean spirited, but true.

Thanks Ray
Posted by Rayban2 on June 8, 2009 at 4:33 PM · Report this
15
BullyBasher, I agree with your last statement. They come on my property and it won't be pretty. Accidents happen. Homosexuality is nothing more than a mental disease. It should be treated, not worshipped.
Posted by YouHaveAMentalDisease on June 2, 2009 at 11:05 AM · Report this
14
Remarkable. A few of you intend to sign 71 only to spite the activists who are working against it. Moreover, you imply that you don't agree with intimidation or badgering... and yet you are perfectly comfortable denying rights to entire groups of human beings.

Logical disconnect.
Posted by rog on June 2, 2009 at 11:03 AM · Report this
13
I wasn't going to sign Initiative 71. Now I will.
I oppose efforts to intimidate people (which this is clearly designed to do).
Anyone comes onto my propery without permission will regret it.
Posted by BullyBasher on June 2, 2009 at 10:32 AM · Report this
12
I'll sign 71. Normally I don't spend the time or the hassle to sign initiatives, but I'm going to make an exception for this one. No, I'm not religious. Quite the opposite. I don't like an overly aggressive group of thugs, gay or not, trying to "scare" the average citizen. I know quite a few folks who will be happy to sign the initiative. Appreciate getting us motivated.
Posted by YouHaveAMentalDisease on June 2, 2009 at 9:40 AM · Report this
11
The homosexual activists strive to impose changes in laws, customs,morals and mentalities, so that homosexuality is not only tolerated but also accepted as good and normal. It is not enough for people to say that we respect all people but now we must also go a step further and proclaim that homosexuality is, I repeat, good and normal.

It is not good. It is not normal.

But that does not mean that homosexuals, heterosexuals, the elderly, children, the physically challenged or anyone should be treated meanly.

It seems to me that in our quest for liberty for all that we are concurrently choosing to say that right and wrong do not exist and that morality is now something that should be put on a shelf to gather dust.

God help us.
Posted by easternwawoman on June 1, 2009 at 8:55 PM · Report this
10
LOL @7 you are such an angry person. Lighten up. Sounds like you're just constantly looking for someone to blame.

My guess is ERW just won't listen to you because I know for a fact that they've listened to myself and friends before, and we were just volunteers at a Pride Parade once. And why should they listen to you? You obviously don't respect them, so why should you get their respect? Everyone has their flaws and we all wish that the rights would just fall into our laps, but while you're sitting around complaining ERW has been steadily getting all the rights needed to protect our Washington families. They just got us all the rights of state-wide marriage without the word. And you know what that does? It gives us an opportunity to protect our families NOW. The word will come, but when it comes to protecting families, you have to ask yourself what's more important? Your stubborn pride or "all the legal protections except the word marriage." If you choose the all or nothing approach, then you are putting a lot of Washington families at risk and only thinking of yourself.

If you ask me, I'm glad that they made that choice instead of someone as angry as you because there's no way in hell our state legislature would take you seriously. ERW has its flaws for sure, but they have earned the respect to play the game of politics and used their experience to determine how we could protect Washington's LGBTQ citizens now. And yes, there are great sacrifices that we have to make in a fight for equal rights, and right now the word marriage has been sacrificed. But beyond that, they have taken us extremely far and the word WILL come. So get over yourself for a second and think about all the families that have just been helped. If you want your opinions heard, then stop being such an asshole. Respect is not something you're entitled to. It has to be earned. So earn it or stop whining.
More...
Posted by Great Post As Usual on May 13, 2009 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Joe 9
@7 Here is the Join the Impact mission statement:
In an effort to make a positive impact in the lives of our community, our allies, and even our opposition, JoinTheImpact.com emerged. Our movement seeks to encourage the LGBTQ community not to look towards the past and place blame, but instead to look forward toward what needs to be done now to achieve one goal: Full equality for ALL. We stand for reaching out across all communities. We do not stand for bigotry, for scapegoating, or using anger as our driving force. Our mission is to encourage our community to engage our opposition in a conversation about full equality and to do this with respect, dignity, and an attitude of outreach and education. JoinTheImpact, as an entity, will not encourage divisiveness, violence, or disrespect of others and we do not approve of this. We do not stand for pointing the finger at one group and placing blame. The LGBTQ community comes in all different colors, creeds, religious beliefs, and political parties. If we allow ourselves to place blame on one community or another, then we are no better than those who oppose us. We will not pit one community against another. At JoinTheImpact, we are all inclusive. As such, we will continue to encourage debate from all sides of the conversation provided it is civil and respectful. We will encourage our community to not let anger steer the conversation, but with an understanding that anger is a human reaction and we hope that it can be used as a catalyst toward positive change. Finally, we stand for national unity in the face of opposing forces that have steered the conversation into a state by state issue. We will celebrate our state by state wins, but work as one large entity to help gain these wins and will unite in the conversation against us to plant the seed of change and community.

Sincerely,

The JoinTheImpact Team
More...
Posted by Joe http://www.joemirabella.com on May 13, 2009 at 12:38 PM · Report this
8
@7 Looks like the work of the ISO, always boo-hooing everything but never offering solutions. Way to beat up the movement!
Posted by Please Shut-up on May 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM · Report this
7
What are they doing with the money? Why does no one care to ask this question? And why is ERW so elitist and think that they are the only queers in the entire state who have the intelligence and the right to shape the direction of the movement? Why is Iowa apparently more progressive than Washington gay marriage? Why, with a Democratic majority in the Legislature and a Democratic governor, have they made no moves to repeal Washington's Defense of Marriage Act? Why do we always get emails from ERW asking us for more money but never an email from ERW asking us to come share ideas and help develop strategies? Why do they use the term "volunteer" to describe "free labor" and why do they have such a high volunteer turnover rate? The right is so successful because they actually mobilize people. They go to church one week and dozens of people are out rallying and petitioning the next. On the left, elitist groups like ERW and Join the Impact think they know better than everyone else what lgbt people should do and actively discourage grassroots organizing, and so the thousands of people who protested Prop 8 in November have no way of becoming more active and fighting for their rights.

This is what one former employee of ERW had to say about their game:
"So, I met up with a friend I used to work with who was laid off by ERW [recently]. He was actually XXXXX's direct supervisor until that point, a Field Organizer. We talked for several hours and he just totally went off on ERW top-down organizing style.

Part of his job was to try and organize things with smaller groups around the state. He told me that the problem is that ERW continually fucks people over because they're only really concerned with where the money is coming from, though they put up a front that they want to help the community. As an effect, he said that he'd have people from these different community groups calling him all the time cussing him out because ERW would last minute decide that plans with a certain group weren't profitable, and would just get the order to ditch out on them. He said that it felt like 80% of the groups they would work with would be so angry at them, because they were really only worried about the most profitable 20%: the big donaters.

He also said that he felt bad for the people that worked there because they're massively overworked and underpaid, working on average 60 hours a week, and more during big events. The bosses don't listen to the suggestions of any of the volunteers, but give orders to them based upon the wants of those with the dollars.

So basically I'm saying that our assessment of ERW as a top-down, conservative organization is pretty accurate, straight from the horse's mouth itself. Should we still work with them, yes. But should we be prepared for them to fuck us over if we can't bring them money? Yes. Let's just be as careful with them as possible. This is why I personally prefer a grassroots approach in which all of our opinions are valid and help shape the outward focus of the groups' activities. We're not tied down to donations, and they are. This is also why they're not prepared to "rock the boat", and why we have a very important role to play in building this movement."
More...
Posted by 16 Years of Grassroots Gay Activism Means Something on May 13, 2009 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
Just remember, each and every day, the opposition to gay marriage literally just dies away.

(ding) there goes another one!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 12, 2009 at 4:47 PM · Report this
5
But if Ref 71 fails to make the ballot, an even greater reverse-psyche opportunity will be lost!
Posted by RonK, Seattle on May 12, 2009 at 4:44 PM · Report this
kim in portland 4
I can't sign, because I'm an Oregonian. So, I'll make a donation to ERW for you all.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on May 12, 2009 at 4:37 PM · Report this
3
Obama had 10 million e mails.

Probably about 200,000 in Washington state if not more. \

He could put those in the mix.
Posted by PC on May 12, 2009 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
Great stuff.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 12, 2009 at 3:59 PM · Report this
1
Your reporting on this continues to be terrific. Thanks.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 12, 2009 at 3:55 PM · Report this

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