I went to a talk at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center last night, sponsored by Our Family Coalition, our amazing local LGBT family organization. Â Family Law and Estate attorneys Deborah Wald and Deb Kinney spent an hour and forty minutes helping explain the mysterious inner workings of the law, as it functions for those of us who — for the next fifty-four days, at least — have the dubious distinction of enjoying marital status at the state level, but stranger status at the federal. With registered domestic partner status woven all around that.
I learned a great deal (mostly that I should have paid more attention to the chalkboard and less attention to my spitwads, back in high school civics classes). Â But it was the last twenty minutes that stuck with me. Deb Kinney embossed into our skins some facts about Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage proposition Californians will vote on this fall:
- No internal polls clarify that Proposition 8 is sure to be defeated; in fact, people have historically are ashamed to admit their bigotry to pollsters; in the privacy of in the voting booth, they’ll reneg and vote bigot. Like, 7-10% of them.
- The percentage of undecided voters on this issue — a whopping 20% — are way more than enough for either side to clinch the vote.
- The Yes on 8 forces are a “machine.” Meaning, busloads of people are being driven in and deposited in neighborhoods to go door-to-door.
- The pro-8 forces are just as aware as we No on 8 folks are, that THIS IS AN HISTORIC ELECTION WITH NATIONAL CONSEQUENCES. Â The supreme court didn’t just interpret the California state constitution to protect gay people’s rights to marry. Â It set out a template by which no discrimination against anyone, based on sexual orientation, is legally defensible. Â Period. Â No wonder this election has such wide-reaching impact. Â Its success will create the blueprint for a sea change in gay politics nationally. [Read Deborah Wald's recent post, "Moving to the Front of the Bus," for a concise and illuminating argument for this.]
- It will be won or lost by a fraction of a percentage point.