After months of stellar polling, it appeared the effort by the Mormon Church and allies to deny same-sex couples their right to marriage in California was destined to fail easily.
A Public Policy Institute poll 9/9-16 gave the good guys, the "No" side, a 55-41 advantage. A 9/5-14 Field Poll (the gold standard of California polling), pegged the "No" side with a 52-38 advantage. Given that Californians are likely to vote "no" by default to ballot initiatives in this "citizen democracy" system run amok, it seemed like there was little to worry.
However, this past week has given us two new polls and new cause for worry.
This week, a Lake Research poll paid for by the campaign of 1,051 likely voters showed the proposition winning, with 47 percent saying they supported the measure and 43 percent saying no. The polling period was Sept. 29-Oct. 2. That finding is reinforced by a SurveyUSA poll of 670 likely voters showing the proposition winning 47 percent to 42 percent. That poll was taken Saturday and Sunday.
I don't think this can be stated strongly enough — if this amendment passes, the cause of marriage equality will be set back decades. There's a reason the Mormon Church and wingnut "family values" groups are investing everything they can into this thing — if they stop gay marriage in California, they halt all momentum earned the past few years. And right now, they've outraised the good guys by about $10 million.
Let me also say this — while small donations are important and help, that's a large deficit to close in a few weeks (people will start voting soon, I got my absentee ballot a few minutes ago). The "no" side has to have a major infusion of cash in the next week or two, and by "major", I mean four-, five-,six- and seven-figure donations, all allowed under state law.
Yes, this is a battle for universal human rights, but ultimately, it directly affects just the LGBT community. Since it has the most to gain, and the most to lose, the burden of this battle falls on their backs. And while lots of people — straight and gay — have stepped up to fight for what's right, many of the wealthiest gays and lesbians in this country have sat on the sidelines, complacent and aloof.
The LGBT community has lots of individuals who can write those big checks. They are well represented in the ranks of the millionaires. We need to urge them to get off the sidelines and engage in this fight. This is the line in the sand. We win this one, and progress toward equality will continue. We lose it, and it'll be a real blow to the cause. We can't allow the forces of bigotry that victory.
I wrote earlier that we can't leave anything on the road. We have to give our all to win at all levels. Hopefully, the LGBT community adopts that sentiment for themselves, knowing that as the votes are being counted, they did everything in their power to win this critical battle. Because right now, according to the "Vote No on Prop 8" campaign, only 30,000 individuals have contributed to the effort, despite there being tens of millions of LGBT in the country. And if the LGBT community won't stand up for its own rights, why should anyone else?
You can give here, but if you know anyone that can write the big checks, please make some calls.