prop 8 town hall: interviewing assembly member curran price

cpad51priceAt the Nov. 22 African-American Town Hall on Proposition 8 I had a chance to grab California Assembly Member Curran Price after he had given some brief remarks. Price was an opponent to Prop 8 and reiterated his position to the crowd. Here’s our exchange:

There’s a question of whether the African-American community saw Prop 8 as a religious issue rather than a civil rights issue. Do you think that was factor in the final vote?

Yes, I do. I think there was certainly an emphasis on religious overtones and a failure to address the civil rights aspects of the legislation. There was an undue emphasis on the religious connotations and not enough of a hard look at the constitutional, legal and equity issues.

What do people on the marriage equality side need to do at better engaging the African-American community if and when this issues comes in front of voters again, maybe as soon as 2010?

I think there needs to be outreach to grassroots organizations. Certainly churches are an important component, but they are not the only resource in the African-American community. We’re not monolithic. So I think outreach to community-based organizations, special interest groups and involving the black gay and lesbian community more actively in the campaign, you know, not just sort of as an afterthought, or saying “we’ll give you a few bucks.” Let’s really involve that African-American gay community in the discussion, in the planning and the execution.

Did you feel you were reached out to?

No, not really. I certainly took a position in the legislature. There were several bills on marriage equality I supported. So it may have been somewhat taken for granted, “we don’t need to reach out to them,” but I think there should have been more effective outreach.


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