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How We Will Restore the Right to Marry in 2010 Version 1.0 ! July 21, 2009 by Love Honor Cherish
INTRODUCTION: Seize the Momentum
Two days before the election on November 4, 2008, a call went out to the opponents of Prop 8 in Southern California: Come to a rally at the corner of San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, and hold signs against Prop 8, to urge voters to cast their ballots against it. A couple of hundred people showed up. It wasn’t even enough for the police to close the street.
BEFORE: Anti-Prop 8 rally in West Hollywood, 2 days before its passage
Three days later, after Prop 8 passed, on the same corner there were thousands of people, enraged by the voters’ theft of their civil rights, and similar demonstrations broke out across Los Angeles, throughout California, and even nationwide. In downtown Los Angeles, 10,000 people marched. In San Diego, there were 20,000.
AFTER: Rally against Prop 8 in San Diego, eleven days after its passage.
As the song goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.” Although there were many failures in the Prop 8 campaign, the loss of Prop 8 was, above all, a failure of our own community to understand, and to explain to ourselves what was at stake. Because we did not comprehend what was at stake, we weren’t equipped or mobilized to tell the rest of California. Maybe we had to lose to begin to understand. Although the demonstrations were an immediate result, the passage of Prop 8 also unleashed an unprecedented amount of new activist energy, most of which is focused on the repeal of Prop 8 and working to change hearts and minds on same-sex marriage. This energy – energy that was largely absent during the last campaign – includes: 2
! The formation of several dozen new pro-repeal groups, several of which meet weekly; ! The Courage Campaign’s creation of the weekend program Camp Courage across the state, which has trained hundreds of new activists; ! The hiring of 25 field staff by Equality California and the opening of field offices across the state, many of them in locations that had no significant presence during the Prop 8 campaign. ! The launch of robust door to door canvassing programs by Vote for Equality, EQCA, the Courage Campaign and Marriage Equality USA which are going door-to-door and persuading people to support same-sex marriage; ! Strong public statements of support for same-sex marriage and opposition to Prop 8 from politicians and celebrities whose opposition to Prop 8 was largely muted or non-existent before the election; ! Rallies across the state in response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to strike down Prop 8, including Fresno’s Meet in the Middle, which drew thousands; ! The formation of the Out West Coalition in Los Angeles; ! The Poll4Equality Coalition’s polling project and the Get Engaged Tour, which explained the poll results to activists and communities across the state; and ! A series of statewide summits drawing together hundreds of activists, many of them working on marriage equality for the first time. Recent polls show that the voters are responding to this energy and are now willing to vote “yes” to restore equal marriage rights. Prop 8 passed by 52% to 48%. Just six months later, a poll taken in May by pollsters David Binder and Amy Simon showed that if a vote were taken now on an affirmative initiative to repeal Prop 8, and if the voter turnout were to approximate what is expected in the November 2010 election, 50% would vote to repeal Prop 8 and 42% would vote against (with 8% undecided) – so long as we clarify in the measure that it will not force churches and other religious institutions to perform same-sex ceremonies. Further, if just one-quarter of the undecided voters go with us, the repeal initiative would pass by 52% to 48%. This represents a complete reversal of the 48%-to-52% vote on Prop 8 in just six months, and, given that a “yes” campaign is generally considered harder to win, shows that we have made enormous progress with the voters already. Moreover, the poll does not account for any of the minds that will change as a result of a good campaign, or due to the increasing acceptance of marriage equality across the nation over time. The choice presently before us as a community is whether that initiative to repeal Prop 8 should be placed on the ballot in November 2010, or whether we should wait until 2012, 2014 or later. November 2010 is 15 months away. November 2012 is more than 3 years away. As set out herein, the Blueprint for Equality is not a formal campaign plan. Rather, its purpose is to demystify what is involved in a campaign to repeal Prop 8, to highlight some key aspects of the campaign, and to demonstrate that winning in 2010 is an achievable goal. The Blueprint will be revised and enhanced, and we invite suggestions and comments.
The Blueprint presents a campaign timeline that is driven by the September 23, 2009 deadline for proposing an initiative for the November 2010 ballot: August 2009 September 23, 2009 October 2009 November 2009 – March 2010 March 2010 – November 2010 November 2, 2010 November 3, 2010 The Blueprint contains five parts: I. II. III. IV. V. Goal 1: Get it on the Ballot Goal 2: Motivate the Base Early Goal 3: Win at the Ballot Box Resources Targets Decide to proceed with 2010 ballot initiative Last day to propose ballot initiative to State Gear up for signature gathering Gather Signatures Campaign Election Day Marriages resume
The Blueprint is premised on five related principles: 1. The energy to repeal Prop 8 is magnitudes greater than the energy to defeat it last fall. 2. This energy doesn’t last forever and will dissipate if not harnessed soon.
3. This energy will translate into large amounts of volunteers and money if, and only if, a ballot initiative is actually proposed and appears headed for the ballot. 4. It is not essential to identify all of the volunteers, money, and other resources in advance in order to make the decision to proceed with signature gathering to repeal Prop 8 in 2010 because there are still 15 months until the election and the political campaign will largely ramp up in the final six months before the election. 5. Although consensus is preferable, not everyone will agree that we should proceed in 2010, and despite our differences, we can build a campaign that will win.
I. Goal 1: Get it on the Ballot. A. Preparing the Initiative.
1. Drafting Language. The process for qualifying an initiative for the ballot begins with submitting the language to the State of California. The exact language of an initiative is beyond the scope of this Blueprint, but final language should be agreed upon before the September 23 deadline for submitting language. Although there are many possible ways to write it, there is general agreement that a ballot initiative to repeal Prop 8 would most likely contain at least the following two provisions (for the sake of brevity, these are paraphrased): (1) Prop 8 is repealed and marriage equality is restored; and
(2) The initiative would not require any church or other religious group to perform same-sex marriages. These two provisions are not controversial. The first is essential to achieve the repeal of Prop 8. The second restates what is already required by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and is generally favored because of polling that shows the public is far more likely to favor repealing Prop 8 if the initiative contains this assurance. A third provision has also been proposed to address concerns reflecting in polling and raised by the proponents of Prop 8, that legalizing same-sex marriage would cause, or even require, the subject to be taught or discussed in schools: (3) The initiative would not affect current law about what is taught in schools.
This third provision is somewhat controversial for several reasons. Some believe it would be misconstrued to harm efforts to improve the lives of LGBT families and children by sending a message that children shouldn’t learn about gay couples or gay relationships in school. Others say that that it sends the message that there is something wrong about same-sex marriage. And still others contend that a provision of this type could have be interpreted to require schools not to include any reference of same-sex married couples in their curriculum, or to prohibit teachers from discuss such couples. The decision about including provisions 2 and/or 3 will be made by the group or coalition of groups that decides to circulate the initiative for signatures. In addition, to arrive at specific final language for all of the provisions, that group or coalition will consult with attorneys to resolve legal issues, with pollsters to determine the likely reaction of voters to various types of language, and with media consultants to shape the best language for the initiative.
2. Identifying Proponents. When the language is proposed to the State, it must be proposed by individual persons known as “proponents”. There can be one or more of these. Ideally, the proponents would be a small group of people, each committed to the initiative and adept at speaking to the media, and who reflect the diversity of those who favor repeal. The proponents do not necessarily control the campaign to get the signatures, or the ultimate campaign to pass the initiative. The proponents will have to be selected before the September 23 deadline. B. Qualifying the Initiative.
1. Requirements. To qualify for the ballot, the initiative requires approximately 700,000 valid pen-and-ink signatures by voters registered in California on forms mandated by the State. These would be obtained within a 150-day period that is triggered by when the language is actually submitted to the State. For example, if the language is submitted to the state on the September 23 deadline, the signature-gathering period will be approximately November 2009 through March 2010.
INITIATIVE QUALIFIES (June ‘10) COLLECT SIGNATURES (Nov ’09 to Mar ’10) SUBMIT LANGUAGE (by Sept 23) YOU ARE HERE (July 2009)
July ‘09 Sept ‘09 Nov ‘09 Jan ‘10 Mar ‘10 May ‘10 July ‘10
WHAT IT TAKES: Steps to Get on the Ballot
Since there are inevitably many invalid signatures on ballot petitions, the typical goal in a petition drive is to submit about 150% of the required amount, or in this case about 1 million signatures, to the State. After the signatures have been submitted, the individual counties verify and count the signatures, and from 6 to 8 weeks later, the State makes an announcement that the initiative has (or has not) qualified. Assuming the signature gathering period is from November through March, the initiative should qualify by June 2010. 2. Signature Gatherers. Signatures can be gathered by volunteers or by paid signature gatherers, or by a combination of both. Volunteers who gather signatures must be recruited, trained and coordinated. If paid signature gatherers are used, they are recruited, trained and coordinated by private companies, which simply charge the campaign a certain amount determined by the marketplace, say $2, for each signature obtained. An all-volunteer signature gathering effort would be a major undertaking. It takes about 4-6 hours to collect 100 signatures in a public place. Therefore, to get the required 1 million signatures, it would take, for example: (1) 5,000 volunteers spending one full day at a shopping center, or a full evening at a bar to get 100 signatures, for a total of 500,000 signatures, plus (2) 500 “super-volunteers” each doing this 10 times over the course of 5 months, for an additional 500,000 signatures. This is a total of 5,500 volunteers, a number that is large but attainable given the high level of interest in repealing Prop 8. It is also important to note that signature gathering can occur anywhere in the state. The only requirement is that the signatures and the petition circulators are registered voters. A large volunteer signature gathering effort will become the cornerstone of the upcoming campaign to repeal Prop 8. Throughout the state, volunteers will be recruited and developed, and campaign infrastructure will be built. In addition, by hand carrying the petition form to the public and asking voters directly for their support, we will trigger millions of individual conversations, all of which will help in the final campaign. 3. Technology. The completed petition forms submitted to the state must be the original, hard copy pieces of paper with pen-and-ink voter signatures. Thus, internet petitions and the like cannot be used. However, technology can be used to disseminate the blank forms, to train the signature gatherers, to monitor their progress in gathering signatures, and to build community around the process. Presently, Love Honor Cherish is developing a custom set of technology tools for this particular initiative, and will introduce it before the beginning of the signature gathering process. 4. Fundraising and Budget. Even an all-volunteer signature gathering effort entails some expense, for administrative costs, printing, promotion and the like. An ample budget for this purpose is $300,000, which should be raised over the course of the signature gathering period.
Also, because it is not possible to ascertain in advance whether an all-volunteer signature effort would succeed in obtaining the 1 million signatures, as a backup it is important to raise funds for paid signature gatherers. We estimate that, in the present economy, it would be possible to find paid signature gatherers to gather signatures for $2 each, so to “buy” 500,000 valid signatures we would pay about $2 each, or $1 million. Therefore, we recommend that $1 million be raised toward the signature gathering effort, and that this money be raised by the halfway point of the 150-day signature gathering period, or by February 1, 2009. If this money is not necessary for signatures, it can be used for the campaign itself. II. Goal 2: Motivate the Base Early.
One of the greatest failings of the No on 8 campaign was that it relied mainly on paid staff and consultants and a media campaign, and did not motivate the “silent majority” of grassroots volunteers who could have done on-the-ground campaigning and fundraising for the campaign, and who would have lent a human face to the issue for the voters. The mere passage of Prop 8 has been enough to awake that sleeping giant. Now, a future campaign must direct that energy by showing leadership, a clear path forward and specific ways for grassroots organizations and individuals to participate. This should be done early – that is, this fall, before the signature gathering begins, and this winter, while it is underway – so that when the campaign kicks into high gear next summer, we have a running start. A. Meeting With Core Supporters.
Once the groups leading the effort to qualify the initiative have been identified, they should immediately begin holding regular meetings at which members of the community can come together and learn about the campaign plan, and what they can do to start executing it. In particular, we should reach out to the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who were able to marry last summer to encourage them to tell their stories. We recommend that initially the meetings present this Blueprint or some similar document, and then as a final campaign plan evolves, to use these meetings to share it with the community. Many of the attendees of these meetings will become core supporters of the campaign, and some will become its leaders. B. Enlisting Democratic Organizations and Obama Supporters.
During the 2008 campaign, many of our supporters were focused on electing Barack Obama president. During the 2010 election, these supporters can be mobilized. We recommend that leading democratic groups, such as Stonewall Democratic Club, meet with other Democratic groups and volunteers and enlist them in the campaign.
Promoting the Upcoming Campaign to Likely Supporters.
Thus far, many in the LGBT community are aware that there is an effort afoot to repeal Prop 8, but they may know nothing more than that. During the early phases of the campaign, there should be outreach within the neighborhoods, groups and other places where the LGBT community and its supporters congregate, to promote the upcoming campaign and create a sense of shared momentum toward the goal. This will to build a spirit of volunteerism, camaraderie and obligation around the effort. As just one example, Love Honor Cherish has engaged in a highly successful sign program, in which large signs labeled “Repeal Prop 8 in 2010” have been placed in store windows in West Hollywood, Silverlake, Westwood and Santa Monica. These signs alone have helped to create a sense of shared ownership of the campaign within these neighborhoods.
SIGNS OF SUPPORT: Businesses in West Hollywood
Fundraising Within LGBT and Allied Communities.
As with any campaign, many people will wait to give money until the campaign is in its most intense phase just before the election. However, any effort has its early supporters, and it’s never too early to begin to build a sense of shared responsibility for the costs of the campaign. Therefore, even before signature gathering begins, the groups supporting the ballot initiative should hold fundraising events and make individual fundraising appeals directed at people in the LGBT and allied communities. Love Honor Cherish, for example, is already planning a gala fundraiser for October 2009 at which we hope to raise at least $150,000 toward the signature gathering effort. 9
Goal 3: Win at the Ballot Box.
The campaign to repeal Prop 8 has already begun in the sense that various groups are canvassing voters to persuade them to favor equal marriage rights and undertaking visibility campaigns within the LGBT and allied communities. Once a decision is made to place the question on the ballot in November 2010, these efforts will be further energized because there will be a specific achievement – the restoration of equal marriage rights on November 3, 2010 – to aim for. Setting a deadline will motivate the community to do the work needed in 15 months, rather than expanding that work to take 3 years or longer. It is beyond the scope of this Blueprint to provide a detailed formal plan for the underlying campaign. Much of the information needed to inform such a plan is in the possession of the executive committee that conducted the last campaign, including Equality California and other groups, and although Love Honor Cherish has requested this information, to date it has not been provided. In addition, some important components of a formal campaign plan – most notably the identification of campaign leadership and of major donors to the campaign – would be best determined after there is a commitment to go forward and inter-group rivalries are resolved. It is important to emphasize that neither campaign leadership nor major donors need to be located in advance to make the decision to proceed with a ballot initiative in 2010. As discussed in this section, those issues can safely be left to be resolved while the signature gathering procedure is underway. A. Meeting the Voters: The Field Campaign.
A primary component of the next campaign will be voter canvassing, i.e., approaching individual voters at their doors to change hearts and minds. Already there are numerous canvassing efforts underway throughout the state, involving both staffbased and grassroots groups, including EQCA, Courage Campaign, Vote for Equality (a project of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center), Restore Equality Now – West Adams / L.A. South (RENWL), Marriage Equality USA, Equal Roots Coalition, and Love Honor Cherish. Several of these have been focused on far-flung suburban areas and communities of color, both of which were neglected by the No on 8 campaign. There are disagreements within the activist community as to how many votes need to be changed by the canvassing effort. EQCA and Vote For Equality recently gave a presentation proposing that canvassers should seek to change 300,000 votes, which is equal to the number of additional votes that would have been necessary to defeat Prop 8. This presentation concluded that given that a 4-hour volunteer canvassing shift generally produces an average of less than one changed vote, in order to change this many votes, canvassers would have to put in over 300,000 volunteer shifts over the course of the campaign, or 10 times the number logged during the No on 8 campaign. Several other activists have cited similar statistics in opposing a 2010 ballot initiative effort.
Although this goal may appear ambitious, there is a strong argument that it can be reached and exceeded given the level of energy within the community and the fact that the field operation is getting underway 15 months before the election (in contrast to just a few months before the 2008 election). However, there is also reason to believe that the goal has been set far too high – because recent polling shows that many, or all, of the 300,000 voters at issue are already prepared to vote yes to repeal Prop 8. As discussed in the Introduction, the Binder poll shows that if a vote were taken now, and if the voter turnout were to approximate what is expected in the November 2010 election, 50% would vote to repeal Prop 8 and 42% would vote against (with 8% undecided) – so long as the measure clarifies that it will not force churches and other religious institutions to perform same-sex ceremonies. If we assume that in the election we would garner at least a quarter of the undecided vote the total pro-repeal vote would increase to 52%, i.e., a complete reversal of the 48%-to-52% result in 2008. Assuming the poll is an accurate reflection of the electorate in 2010, we don’t need to change a single vote; much less do we have to change 300,000 votes. Rather, we just have to defend the votes that we already have, turn out our base, and, of course, get more votes to give ourselves a comfortable margin of victory. Nonetheless, for purposes of this Blueprint, we project that the field operation for a 2010 ballot initiative should be able to change at least 100,000 votes. The estimated 100,000 volunteer shifts needed to do this can be shared among 7,000 volunteers, each logging an average of one shift per month for the next 15 months, for a total of 15 shifts each. Although the actual number of volunteers helping from the No on 8 campaign is not available, this goal of 7,000 volunteers is likely larger than the number who worked on the prior campaign. However, by any measure volunteer interest is already at multiples of where it was before Prop 8, even 8 months after the election, and despite the absence of a clear message to volunteers that their efforts will be parlayed into a 2010 ballot initiative. Once the word goes out to the community about the 2010 effort, the canvassing efforts should shift into high gear and intensify as the election draws nearer. B. Projecting our Images: The Media Campaign.
The No on 8 campaign spent $32 million – the vast majority of its expenditures – on TV production and advertising. Because the campaign raised most of this money in the weeks just before the election, it was forced to purchase the little remaining advertising time that was then available at a premium – which, according to industry sources is typically 50% higher than regular rates. In a future campaign, media will be purchased in advance, and thus at substantially lower prices. Also, industry sources report that in the present recession the cost of advertising generally has fallen 15 to 30%, and in 2010 there will not be a presidential campaign competing for advertising time. Considering these factors, we project that a TV advertising campaign equivalent to last year’s in terms of scope would cost 35% less, or about $22 million.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that media campaigns are generally driven by the need to match the other side’s expenditures. Indeed, the entire campaign budget for the No on 8 campaign was initially planned to be just $15 million, and did not increase substantially until after the Yes on 8 campaign began to raise much larger sums of money and used that money in its TV campaign. As discussed below, because of the recession and other factors, there is reason to be optimistic that the anti-equality campaign will not be nearly as well-funded this time as it was last year. Thus, in 2010 we may not have to mount a TV ad campaign of the scope we mounted last year. There are other ways to reduce the cost of the media campaign. For example, several experts have proposed that greater use be made of “microtargeting,” which is the production of advertising that features voices from very specific communities, defined either by geography or by characteristics such as race or religion. These ads are, in turn, broadcast only to the targeted community, generally through less expensive avenues such as cable television channels or radio shows serving a specific community. This strategy dramatically reduces the cost of advertising, because it avoids paying for viewers and listeners who aren’t being targeted. Another way to economize on media is to take advantage of the enormous amount of free production of pro-equality advertising being prepared by professionals and amateurs alike. The best illustration of this phenomenon is a set of advertisements that were produced gratis by HOMOtracker, a group of Los Angeles-area entertainment industry professionals in the fall of 2008 to urge voters to vote against Prop 8. These ads, which mimicked the popular “Mac” and “PC” ads by Apple and featured characters such as “No” and “Yes” and “the Constitution,” were a huge hit and were actually broadcast on TV by the No on 8 campaign in its closing days. Although they cost the campaign nothing, the ads were widely viewed to be better and more effective than ads which the campaign had professionally produced.
FREE TV PRODUCTION: “No” and “Yes” Ads by HOMOtracker 12
In light of the experience with the HOMOtracker ads, and given that in a future yes campaign the message will probably not be as tightly controlled as it was in the No on 8 campaign, it makes sense for at least some of the TV and radio advertising for a future campaign to be developed primarily through a “beauty contest” method, in which competitors submit their work for selection by the campaign committee. Of course, the internet is an important adjunct to any media campaign. The No on 8 campaign largely neglected the internet until just prior to the election. Recognizing this deficiency, the new campaign will focus on having a well-designed website with ample resources for swing voters and supporters, including pages microtargeted, for example, to non-English speakers and faith communities. The campaign will also make liberal use of so-called “new media,” such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogging and texting. C. Who’s In Charge: The Campaign Structure.
There are widely reported conflicts among LGBT and other progressive groups about who should lead the next campaign. Although this Blueprint does propose a means to resolve these leadership issues, it is not essential that they be resolved in order to proceed with a ballot initiative in 2010. There are several reasons for this. First, even without formal coordination, most groups are already working effectively in parallel toward the ultimate goal of repealing Prop 8, such as by canvassing voters and by mobilizing the LGBT community. Even those organizations who object to proceeding in 2010 have committed to doing work that will benefit the campaign. Second, with the November 2010 election still 15 months away, in the near term there is unlikely to be any substantial media campaign that would require large “media buys” by a central campaign, or the retention of political consultants that would require supervision by the campaign leadership. Third, the primary focus of the next 9 months – gathering the signatures needed to place the initiative on the ballot – is a specific, volunteer-driven task that can be handled by coordination among grassroots groups and others that have a track record cultivating and mobilizing volunteers with minimal administrative expense. Fourth, and most importantly, disputes among potential leaders about who is in charge – and of what – should not be allowed to derail the aspirations of the majority of the people they aspire to lead. The campaign consists of people, not leaders. When the campaign comes, the logjam will be broken. If it isn’t, then new leadership will emerge. Moreover, the leadership question may be overemphasized in importance. Each of the many groups working for marriage equality has its own strengths and is capable of working separately, or within decentralized coalitions, toward a common goal. Some may ask where volunteers and donors will go. In the private sector, customers buy the best product. In the non-profit sector, they give their time and money to the group that best advances their cause. Similarly, with the campaign to repeal Prop 8, volunteers and money will naturally flow to the organization that is getting the job done most effectively and speaking to the aspirations of the donors and volunteers. This sets up a healthy
competition among organizations, and avoids the sort of monopolistic control of the campaign, and the resultant problems, that occurred last year. Of course, a skilled campaign director and supporting staff will be necessary for functions that are best handled centrally, such as to supervise the statewide TV advertising campaign and to hire political consultants and pollsters. However, the leadership over those functions need not be identified before the decision is made whether to proceed in 2010. Rather, all of the groups who might have an interest in this decision can commit publicly now that they will arrive at a mutually acceptable leadership structure by a certain time, and that if they don’t, the question will be resolved by a neutral third party. There is precedent for this. In the business world, for example, parties to a contract frequently agree in advance to resolve disputes using “binding arbitration” before a third-party arbitrator who is selected according to a specified procedure. The parties then present their positions, and the arbitrator makes a decision. D. Where the Money Goes: Budget.
The campaign to defeat Prop 8 cost over $40 million, of which about $32 million was spent on TV advertising and production. Here are approximate amounts from 2008: TV Airtime and Production: Campaign consultants and pollsters: Salaries and Professional Services: Literature and Paraphernalia: Postage, office expense and information technology: Print Ads: Miscellaneous: TOTAL: $32 million $2.5 million $1 million $1 million $2 million $0.5 million $1 million $40 million
Given that the No on 8 campaign’s media buys were unusually expensive due to late ad placement, and assuming that the advertising and production expenses can be reduced in the ways described above, we anticipate that TV airtime and production for a media campaign equivalent to last year’s campaign in terms of scope should cost about 35% less than last year, or about $22 million. Moreover, there is reason to believe that in a repeal campaign we would not need to mount a TV campaign matching last year’s scope. The proponents of Prop 8 raised much of their money from middle-class religiously motivated donors (especially Mormons). Due to the present recession, in a future campaign these donors may be hard pressed to match the kind of contributions they made to support Prop 8 last year. Many may also be dissuaded from contributing due to the backlash against Mormon donations. In addition to $22 million for TV airtime and production, for purposes of this Blueprint we anticipate that the expenses for a future campaign will be similar to last year, or about $8 million. Therefore, the total projected budget for the formal campaign –
which would last 7 months and would run from April 2010 (when petition signatures are handed in to the state) through the November 2010 election -- is $30 million. In addition to the $30 million projected budget for the formal campaign beginning in April 2010, we project that an additional $450,000 will be necessary to fund activities already underway to change hearts and minds on this issue, most notably the field efforts of groups like EQCA, Vote For Equality and Courage Campaign. We project that in the six months between October 2009 and March 2010, an average of $75,000 per month will be necessary to fund these “pre-campaign” field efforts, for a total of $450,000. Finally, as discussed above, we have allocated $300,000 to the administrative costs associated with the petition signature gathering process, plus $1 million for the possible hiring of paid signature gatherers. The total budget estimates for a 2010 ballot campaign are as follows: TV Airtime and Production Other Campaign Expense – April - Nov ’10 Pre-Campaign Field Efforts - Oct ’09 - Mar ’10 Petition Signature Gathering (administrative) Petition Signature Gathering (paid gatherers) TOTAL E. How to Pay For It: Fundraising. $22,000,000 8,000,000 450,000 300,000 1,000,000 31,750,000
As discussed above, more than $40 million was raised to defeat Prop 8, and any future campaign will likely cost at least a significant fraction of that amount – perhaps $30 million – plus additional amounts for pre-campaign field efforts and petition signature gathering. While this Blueprint discusses how fundraising would be undertaken to raise that money and sets fundraising targets, it does not identify major donors or other definite sources for funds to support the campaign. It may at first blush seem prudent to “find the money first,” and then start the campaign. However, in most initiative campaigns – and especially when the campaign is about a social issue whose effects are dispersed across a large number of people – the money comes when there is a campaign, not beforehand. Indeed, in the case of Prop 8 itself, the vast majority of the $40 million was raised in the final weeks of the campaign, when polls began to show that Prop 8 was leading and likely to pass. The same was true for the Yes on 8 campaign: The vast majority of donations were raised in the closing weeks of the campaign. (In contrast, the backers of Prop 8 had virtually no money at all until several months after they had begun collecting signatures, and yet the proposition qualified with several hundred thousand signatures to spare, and later passed.) This Blueprint will focus on the breakdown of various categories of donors to the campaign. We assume that once the decision has been made to place the initiative on the
ballot, and given the 15 month lead time, it will be possible to immediately begin raising substantial funds in each category. At the end of this Blueprint, we will present a series of fundraising targets based on the assumption that fundraising will be modest at first but will increase as the election draws nearer. 1. Trendsetters. These are donors of any size who are prominent and who, by virtue of that prominence, are likely to lead others to support the campaign. This includes political figures and celebrities. In the campaign against Prop 8, there was an embarrassing failure to cultivate support from these people, and especially Hollywood celebrities. In this campaign, early efforts should be made to impress on these trendsetters the importance of their support. This will mean going to them “where they live,” i.e., to people within their inner circle, such as agents, managers and the like. As part of this strategy, we must begin to cultivate supporters among these groups. 2. Large donors ($10,000+). The large donors to the No on 8 campaign were in many cases already connected with established LGBT organizations and in the intervening months have been made aware of what is at stake in a future campaign to repeal Prop 8. However, there is a distinct possibility that these established large donors will not be “early adopters” of the next campaign. Some of these donors have expressed reservations about the future campaign in private meetings and/or in the press, contending that the campaign does not have a sufficient chance of success to be worthwhile, that they are reluctant to contribute because of the way they were treated by the last campaign, or that, due to the economy, they simply cannot donate at the same level that they previously did. Therefore, initially it may be necessary to proceed without the support of these donors. We expect that after the proposed ballot initiative has gained signatures and traction in the community, these reluctant donors will reconsider their position. In the meantime, we need to cultivate new large donors to support this cause, perhaps from outside the orbit of the traditional LGBT groups. (Similarly, the last campaign planned to rely primarily on large donors, only to have the expected donations not materialize as planned; thus, it had to, and did, find alternative sources for most of the $40 million raised.) Corporations and business people striving to appeal to the LGBT community are obvious targets for this effort, as are high net-worth individuals – gay and straight – who may be inspired by the positive message of the campaign. 3. Mid-size donors ($1,000-10,000). This category of donors was not adequately tapped in the campaign against Prop 8, due mainly to the campaign’s failure to generate sufficient energy in the circles where they live and work and to counter the mistaken belief that we wouldn’t lose. As just one example, even though there are thousands of LGBT attorneys in California, and even though they were presumably well informed of what was at stake with Prop 8, just a few days before the election the Los Angeles Daily Journal reported that only 9 lawyers in the entire state had given $10,000 or more to the campaign. This illustrates that even lawyers – much less other professionals -- were not brought into the campaign in sufficiently large numbers to make them significant players in the fundraising effort. The next campaign will need to appeal to high-income individuals who are capable of making donations over $1000, through
high-profile fundraising events, personal appeals from colleagues and friends, and public relations efforts. 4. Small donors ($1-1,000). Small donors were an important source of funds for the No on 8 campaign, and will be again in the next campaign. In order to reach these donors, it will be critical for the remnants of the No on 8 campaign to turn over its donor database to the new campaign. Small donors can be also be reached by personal appeals, small and large fundraising events, and house parties. Indeed, in our experience, many people will donate $500 or more spontaneously at a fundraising event if the message is inspiring enough. Our challenge will be to create the environment in which that message comes across. In addition, people will respond to appeals made through email or online, especially when they are accompanied by proof of how the money will be used, such as TV ad messages, and/or personal requests from friends, colleagues and family. IV. Resources.
This Blueprint will not take a thorough inventory of the resources available to the future campaign. However, suffice to say that those resources are ample and exist mainly within the individual groups active on the marriage issue, as described below. A. Established LGBT Groups.
Numerous established LGBT groups were active in the campaign against Prop 8, and will play a role in the future campaign to repeal it. These include Equality California (EQCA), the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center (LAGLC), the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, and various other groups representing and/or serving specific constituencies within the LGBT community, such as API Equality, California Faith for Equality and several LGBT Democratic clubs. EQCA and LAGLC’s Vote for Equality project are already undertaking substantial field efforts and canvassing on marriage equality, and EQCA has raised money to hire 25 field personnel in the coming months. Many of these efforts are co-sponsored by other LGBT groups and are targeted toward outlying areas and ethnic and racial groups that were neglected during the last campaign. B. Courage Campaign.
A hybrid between a grassroots group and a so-called “netroots” group, Courage Campaign has a broad progressive agenda extending beyond marriage equality. Since the election, it has been extraordinarily effective at mobilizing grassroots activists and others through the internet around repealing Prop 8. Courage Campaign also devised and operates the popular “Camp Courage,” which is a weekend training seminar for grassroots activists modeled after Camp Obama that has been held across the state.
Marriage Equality USA.
Marriage Equality USA is a large volunteer-driven group formed more than a decade ago and is committed solely to accomplishing marriage equality. Marriage Equality USA has chapters throughout California (and across the country), including chapters in many outlying areas in California where marriage equality is not a popular cause. As demonstrated by its role in facilitating the Get Engaged Tour, a multi-city project to inform the community about the results of the recent Binder/Simon poll, Marriage Equality USA can motivate and organize across California. D. Love Honor Cherish.
Love Honor Cherish is a large volunteer-driven group that began in May 2008 to fight Prop 8, and which since the election has emerged as the primary advocate of a 2010 ballot initiative to repeal Prop 8. Love Honor Cherish is based in Los Angeles and has an active membership base with weekly meetings. LHC raised $500,000 for the No on 8 campaign and is preparing to raise far more than that for the next campaign. E. Post-Prop 8 Grassroots Groups.
In response to the passage of Prop 8, several dozen new groups have formed. These include, among others, the Equal Roots Coalition, Equality Network, and Latino Equality Alliance (Los Angeles); Yes! On Equality (Sacramento) and One Struggle, One Fight (San Francisco). In Southern California, many of these groups have joined with numerous established LGBT groups and formed the OUTWest Coalition, which has a formal governing structure and monthly meeting. (OUTWest has voted to endorse a 2010 ballot initiative.) The new grassroots groups have produced a series of well-attended rallies, educational programs, and YouTube videos, and are presently considering, among other things, what role they would have in a future ballot campaign. These groups have also brought creativity to the movement. For example, a group called White Knot for Equality devised the popular “white knot” symbol after the election, and has been very successful at attracting press attention to celebrities who wear white knots. F. Other Potential Volunteers.
With all of the new groups that have formed in the wake of Prop 8, there are still many potential volunteers who have not been enlisted for the cause. The primary reason for this is the indecision within the community about whether there will be an effort to repeal Prop 8 in 2010, or in a later year. Similarly, many volunteers who were mobilized immediately following the passage of Prop 8, and who attended demonstrations and early meetings, lost interest soon thereafter because of the lack of a specific effort in which they could enroll. Once a commitment is made to return to the ballot in 2010, many of these volunteers should return.
In addition, special efforts should be made to mobilize volunteers on college campuses. College students have time and enthusiasm and thus are especially well suited for signature gathering, voter registration, and canvassing. V. Targets.
Based on the above, here are a series of targets for fundraising and volunteers. In addition, although there are numerous paths to victory at the ballot box (i.e., obtaining at least 300,000 more votes than were cast against Prop 8), for illustration purposes we present below one of set of vote targets that could accomplish that goal, namely, to increase the pro-equality vote by 5% in just five Southern California counties, where the majority of the votes for Prop 8 votes were cast. A. Fundraising. Phase Amount Allocation Aug-Sep 09 $ 250,000 ($100,000 petitions, $150,000 field efforts) Oct-Nov 09 500,000 ($350,000 petitions, $150,000 field efforts) Dec 09-Jan 10 1,000,000 ($850,000 petitions, $150,000 field efforts) Feb-Mar 10 2,000,000 (100% to campaign) Apr-May 10 4,000,000 (100% to campaign) Jun-July 10 8,000,000 (100% to campaign) Aug-Sept 10 16,000,000 (100% to campaign) TOTAL: $31,750,000 = $1,300,000 petitions, $450,000 pre-campaign field efforts, $30,000,000 campaign B. Volunteers. 5,500 for signature gathering (500 @ 10 days each, 5000 @ 1 day each) 7,000 for canvassing @ 15 days each TOTAL: 12,500 volunteers C. Votes. Vote in 2010 54% in Los Angeles County 50% in San Diego County 46% in Orange County 37% in San Bernardino County 40% in Riverside County TOTAL: Change from 2008 +5% + 150,000 votes +5% + 55,000 votes +5% + 50,000 votes +5% + 25,000 votes +5% + 20,000 votes + 300,000 votes
CONCLUSION: Let’s Move
As set forth in this Blueprint, the objective case for proceeding in 2010 is already strong. However, some things can’t be easily measured in a campaign plan. Among them are inspiration, guts and the obligation to simply do the right thing. When all of the factors are considered, the decision to move forward now is an easy one. Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? Expediency asks the question - is it political? But conscience asks the question - is it right? There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, nor political; but because it is right. -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For More Information, Please Contact:
John Henning firstname.lastname@example.org 323.655.6171 -orTom Watson email@example.com 310.890.9080 Or Go To: www.lovehonorcherish.org www.repealprop8.com
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