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Friday, July 24, 2009

While San Fran Attempts to Butt Into Legal Challenge to Prop. 8, Pair of Gay Supe Hopefuls Plead for Patience

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Scott Wiener
  • Scott Wiener
This week, City Attorney Dennis Herrera petitioned to become a party in the case challenging Prop. 8 in federal district court, ramming full speed ahead into the legal challenge to the same-sex marriage ballot initiative.

Meanwhile, the debate continues about when same-sex marriage advocates should take the issue back to the polls. What's it gonna be? Is 2010 too soon to change public opinion? Will the issue go stale by 2012, with voters even more entrenched in their views?Two openly gay politicos who've registered their intent to run for supervisor in District 8 -- home of the liberal Castro and Inner Mission where moderate Bevan Dufty currently reigns -- nibbled on the question, and came to, more or less, the same conclusion: Wait.

Former Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club co-chair Scott Wiener echoes the club's platform that proponents of the ballot initiative best wait 'til 2012 in order to get organized. "When we go back to the ballot, we need to get it right. We can't afford to keep going back and losing." A deputy city attorney, Wiener said the key would be to preach same-sex marriage to more folks than just the choir. "I would definitely want to see more outreach to communities of color, and into the Central Valley...I think that's what could tip it in our favor."

Rafael Mandelman
  • Rafael Mandelman
Meanwhile, Harvey Milk democratic club President Rafael Mandelman said when the issue comes up at the ballot box is less important than having some leadership heading up the campaign. "I think it's very unclear who the leadership of No on 8 was. It was a statewide coalition ... but in the aftermath, not a lot of people have said, 'That was me.'"

Mandelman is not married, and says he has no plans to get hitched in the near future. "I think for a lot of people in the the LGBT community, it's odd to have our civil rights be defined by these institutions that we're not that we're much attached to like marriage and the military. It's peculiar to be fighting our way into these clubs that when we take a step back, we're not so sure we want to be in."

Mandelman says he was "part of the problem" of the complacency that led to the passage of Prop. 8, thinking gay marriage had it in the bag.  "For a lot of people, it's not the foremost thing on their mind and it's only when your fellow citizens tell you quite clearly that you're a second class citizen that it becomes a more urgent and pressing concern."

Now he says, if it's going to be 2010, it's time to get a move on. "As the days go by, I'm not sure this army we think we have is just waiting at the ready." As for leadership, look elsewhere. With a hot supervisor race in one of San Francisco's most active voting districts ahead of him, he's got his plate full.

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Lauren Smiley


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