HOUSTON VOICE • NOVEMBER 16, 2001
D I S C R I M I NAT I O N
on CITY PROP 2
November 16, 2001
Dear Supporter of No on City Prop 2,
This is an especially hard letter for me to write. We lost our fight last Tuesday against City Proposition 2 by 6,710 votes. While my heart broke that
night, however, my spirit did not.
Before anything else, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your contribution and the role you played in standing up to discrimination and unfairness,
and thank you for moving outside your comfort zone as we had a very public, honest and positive conversation with Houston voters about the value of
gay and lesbian relationships and families.
In any close defeat, it is tempting to start laying blame and pointing fingers. A very few things done in a slightly different way could have affected the
outcome. It is even more tempting to rage at Dave Wilson, the architect of the anti-gay ballot measure, and his merry band of cowards who mask their
hate in the guise of values and pervert the concept of family.
But all that energy would certainly be wasted. As it turns out, we weren't really running against them - they ran next to nothing of a campaign. We were
running against a set of deeply held beliefs that take a lot of education to overcome. Even if the numbers were flipped, and we had won by a 2-point
margin, the fact would remain that roughly one-half of Houston voters still do not "get" the concept of gay and lesbian families.
That said, I want to thank you specifically for what we accomplished:
• Heroes: I know gay and lesbian people who came out of their closets; African American ministers who search their souls to discover their
opposition to discrimination against gay and lesbian people; volunteers who took vacation days to check petitions and work polls; and staff who quit
their jobs and moved to Houston just to work on the campaign.
• Numbers: In 1985, we lost an election to save a nondiscrimination ordinance for gay and lesbian city employees by 64 percentage points. In 2001,
we passed a nondiscrimination ordinance for gay, lesbian and bisexual and transgender city employees with little controversy. We lost an election about
domestic partner benefits, a much more controversial issue, by only 2.64 percentage points.
• Friends: We built a coalition of leading elected officials, corporate CEOs, unions, leading African American ministers and clergy of every color and
denomination, social justice organizations, students, parents and grandparents, working, middle and upper class people, leaders from virtually every ethnic community in Houston, and even of the Houston Chronicle and Channel Two, to stand up openly and publicly for gay and lesbian families.
• Education: We raised and spent over $300,000 on a public education campaign about gay and lesbian relationships, with more than 1,500 volunteers
talking one-on-one with over 50,000 voters and with television and radio spots reaching over 1 million people.
These are the reasons that my spirit is intact and my heart will heal. While, there is no doubt that winning is better than losing, it is my hope that we will
take the long view and continue a positive, open and honest dialogue with Houstonians about the value of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people
and their families. Again, thank you.