Oct 15 2008

First off, congrats to my neighbors in the Nutmeg State on an amazing victory BUT...

I was shocked when the news came down that not only were we not leading anymore in the fight to Frank retain marriage equality in California but - get this - we were being outspent by our opponents by an astounding 60%! Over 10 million dollars! My first reaction was to be angry that we have allowed ourselves to get into this political position with No On Proposition 8. Then I heard that less than 30,000 people had contributed to the fight to stop the Proposition and I was simply pissed off! Over three times that many have contributed to the battle to undo our right to marry in our most populated state.

Think about it: Only 30,000 of us have contributed in the entire nation. Out of millions and millions of members of the LGBT community only 30,000 of us care enough about this epic battle in our history to make a donation. What does that say about us as a community? Do we not care about our equality? Do we not care about justice? We have an unparalleled opportunity to win the most important battle in our history and the community across America mostly checks out. What??? Folks, we don't get a "do over" here.

This IS the most important battle of our lifetime in regards to marriage equality and I say this as a New Yorker who is still fighting every day for the rights of the gay & lesbian community in my home state to tie the knot within our borders. As California goes, the country goes. Just think about how energized the opposition will be if we lose the right to marry there. It would be devastating to our movement not in years but perhaps decades.

When I ask people why they haven't contributed I get a variety of excuses.

One is that no one has asked them for money. What planet do they live on? Almost every progressive blog in the country has written time and time again appealing for people to contribute with direct links. Every progressive publication has written articles. Most of the mainstream press has covered this battle and some, like the New York Times, have editorialized against it. It is too much to ask to click on these links or even go online and find the site and contribute on your own initiative?

The other reason given is that people are giving to Obama and other political entities. Now, don't get me wrong, I support Obama wholeheartedly and have written checks to his campaign. But clearly we must have the capacity to do both don't you think? Why in the world would you give to Obama and not at the same time contribute to the struggle for your own freedom? It just doesn't make sense. If you give x dollars to Obama or some other entity then match it with a gift to No On Eight. It is the least you can do. We don't live in an either/or world especially in these complex times.

How horrible it would be to lose this battle because we didn't have enough money. That enough of us didn't care about our own future let alone the future of our youth in the LGBT community to contribute whatever you can afford. It is just wrong, pure and simple, wrong.

So please just do yourself and our community a favor. Click here and make a donation today. And then click here next week and make another one.

Frank Selvaggi is Co Chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and is an activist for marriage equality.  He lives in North Salem and works out of New York City. He and his husband, Bill Shea, were married in Massachusetts and are major donors to the No On 8 campaign