As the dust settles

What’s the Proposition 8 strategy going forward?

As a father of a gay daughter who was married on November 1 to her partner of 15 years, I am very interested in overturning the ban on same-sex marriages in California. It is clear that as the dust settles on Proposition 8 in California, a new strategy is needed to fight for the civil rights of all our citizens, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

The issue of gay marriage rights is not one that divided gays and straights. On the contrary, when nearly half the electorate in California voted against Prop. 8, it signaled, for the first time, the existence of the largest coalition of gays and straights ever assembled in a common cause. It was democracy and diversity at its best.

As we move into the future, new ideas are needed. I am just one person with a few ideas, but here are some of mine:

• The political pressure needs to continue unabated from now until the courts decide this issue. There need to be several “Million Man and Woman” marches across the United States every month.

• Educational literature supporting GLBT civil rights needs to be promulgated in every community statewide. Special target efforts should be directed to communities with the highest percentage of “yes” votes on Prop. 8.

• There should be a plan to identify businesses and communities that monetarily supported California’s Prop. 8. Boycotting such businesses and communities is absolutely essential.

• Where counties are concerned, tourist dollars, goods and services, where applicable, need to be withheld.

• Church members who voted against Prop. 8 should work actively to alter the attitudes of other church members. People can worship without supporting hate and bigotry.

• Those in leadership positions in the GLBT community and supporting organizations need to develop a large war chest of money.

• There needs to be a new statewide organization formed called the California Alliance of Gays, Lesbians and Straights for Civil Rights.

• Supportive high-profile Hollywood and other celebrities need to give public-service messages supporting GLBT citizens and organizations.

• The activities of both grassroots and other GLBT organizations need to engage in the following: political campaigning, education efforts, television and radio commercials, and, if necessary, the hiring of professional political lobbyists.

The time has come for a sophisticated, comprehensive and carefully crafted set of strategic plans for fighting discrimination against citizens. The way ahead will have many challenges, but they must be overcome. Everyone’s civil rights are fragile, and we run the risk of losing them if even one group among us is denied.