After voters in Maine repealed the state's legalization of gay marriage this past Tuesday by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, California's gay-marriage activists are still gearing up for a challenge to overturn Proposition 8. Some want to put a measure on the ballot in 2010; others, in 2012.
What lessons do you think gay marriage activists can take away from what happened in Maine?
I think we have to really look at the vote and analyze it before we can draw any specific conclusions, but what's clear is, even though we significantly outspent the opposition for the first time, and supporters of equality out-organized the opposition, our side still fell short. So I think one of the lessons to take away from this last election, and from last year on Prop 8, is how far we've moved on this issue in a remarkably fast time.
What follows is a lightly edited interview from Thursday evening with Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, one of the principal groups that led the "No on 8" campaign in 2008.
The last two elections, both Maine this year and California last year, we lost by less than five points. Four years ago, the average we lost by was 25 to 30 points. The movement is tremendous in the direction of equality, and I think the biggest lesson is we have to keep doing what we're doing. We have to keep telling our stories, we have to keep out-organizing the other side, and we have to keep out-fundraising the other side, and if we keep doing this over the next few years, we're gonna start winning marriage ballot measures. And the other key lesson is, looking at the overwhelming victory in Kalamazoo, Washington, where they tried to overturn an anti-discrimination law and used fear tactics, and in Washington state, where we have domestic partnership, is the majority is clearly supporting equal rights. There's still a slightly smaller percentage that are ready to support marriage, but that gap is shrinking.
Can you describe how the campaign in Maine went? How many groups were involved?