Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Prop 8 briefs: PG&E helps launch biz council


NCLR's Kate Kendell gives a "thumbs up" as she joins EQCA's Geoff Kors and PG&E Vice President Nancy McFadden at the announcement of a $250,000 shareholder donation from PG&E to the No on 8 campaign. The three are joined by members of PG&E's Pride Network employee group. Photo: Rick Gerharter
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Pacific Gas and Electric Company has made a shareholder contribution of $250,000 to the Vote No on 8 – Equality for All campaign, and the utility will be approaching other businesses to join the fight to defeat the ballot measure.

At an event at PG&E's headquarters Tuesday, July 29, Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said that businesses have stood with the LGBT community in efforts to win equality, and "that's going to get us victory."

"Businesses understand why this is important ... and they understand it's the right thing to do," he said, noting the value of equality to both employees and customers.

EQCA is a lead member of Equality for All.

"We assure you we will not let you down," Nancy McFadden, PG&E senior vice president of public affairs, told a crowd that included people from the Vote No on 8 campaign, LGBT employees of PG&E, and members of the city's business community. "We will stand with you until we are victorious in defeating Proposition 8."

According to the campaign, PG&E's contribution is the largest corporate and only utility-made donation it has received to date.

Thom Lynch, fundraising consultant for the campaign, said some Silicon Valley companies and some financial firms in San Francisco have expressed interest in the advisory council.

Steve Adams, vice president and regional manager of Sterling Bank and Trust and president of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro, said the bank would be making a contribution and holding fundraisers in August and September. He said he didn't know how much the bank's contribution would be.

Asked whether the campaign had developed criteria for allowing companies to be part of the council, such as examining their Corporate Equality Index score from the Human Rights Campaign, Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a member of the coalition, said she didn't know. But there's plenty of need for everything from money to volunteers.

"With a campaign this large, the scope of the need is so great that anyone who can give anything can find a way to make a contribution," Kendell said.

Steve Falk, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that, "The chamber's support for eliminating marriage discrimination is consistent with our organization's advocacy of policies that are inclusive and contribute to business' ability to attract and retain a diverse, talented workforce. This, in turn, gives California companies an advantage in today's highly competitive marketplace."

Last November, the chamber filed an amicus brief with the state Supreme Court in favor of eliminating discrimination in California's marriage statute.

As of early July, data filed with the secretary of state's office indicate the Vote No on 8 campaign has received contributions over $2.2 million since January 2007. That includes some money from the Human Rights Campaign California Marriage PAC. According to HRC, so far that PAC has raised about $1.75 million.

Still time to meet fundraising challenge

Former Ambassador James Hormel has issued a challenge grant to the Vote No on 8 campaign of $100,000. More than $75,000 has been raised. The deadline for making contributions to match the grant is today (Thursday, July 31).

"With your help, we will keep the momentum going so we can defeat Prop. 8 in November and secure marriage for a lifetime for all the loving and devoted couples who deserve nothing less," Kors said in an e-mail blast to supporters. To donate, visit

NCLR launches PAC

NCLR announced Tuesday the creation of the No on 8/NCLR Social Justice Fund, a political action committee intended to help defeat Prop 8. Through the fund, NCLR pledges to contribute significant money to the Vote No on 8 campaign.

"Proposition 8 seeks to deny LGBT couples the right to marry, but the stakes go far beyond that critical issue," Kendell said in a statement. "If the initiative passes, it could be devastating – for every issue affecting the lives of LGBT people in California and the rest of the nation. If our opposition succeeds in their efforts, they will not stop there. As they have done before, they will be back again and again, chipping away at the basic protections for LGBT people in this country that we have fought long and hard to win. With a win they will be revitalized and emboldened. That is why we are doing absolutely everything we can to defeat this initiative."

For more information, visit

LA police chief contributes to No on 8

William J. Bratton, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, and his wife recently made a contribution to the Vote No on 8 campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times. The donation was a wedding gift to his friend Howard Bragman and Bragman's longtime parnter, Chuck O'Donnell, according to the paper.

A spokeswoman for the campaign told the B.A.R. the donation was made through Equality California's online wedding registry.

"The constitution guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the Times lang=EN quoted Bratton as saying. "I see no reason why gays can't pursue happiness through marriage."

According to the Times lang=EN , Bragman had requested that the donation be made in lieu of a gift, and that it be made public.

Labor group votes to oppose Prop 8

The California Federation of Labor voted Wednesday, July 23 to oppose Prop 8.

Delegates to the state labor federation's convention passed the resolution unanimously. The resolution commits the federation to "educate and mobilize its members to vote against" Prop 8, and encourages its 23 central labor councils statewide to do the same.

The resolution also specifies that the state federation will oppose the initiative in the slate cards that it distributes during the election campaign and in its voter guides.

The federation has more than 1,200 affiliated unions.

T Santora, president of the Communications Workers of America, Local 9000, which is part of the federation, and national co-president of Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, said he thinks the impact of the resolution will be "enormous."

"We've got over 2 million union members in the state, and information about the election will go to every one of those households," said Santora, who submitted the resolution. He said that translates into more than 4 million voters getting the message that the California labor movement is opposed to Prop 8.

The resolution states, "We hold a firm commitment to the principle that there should be equality for all workers regardless of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and/or expression ... In an effort to secure some equity for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters unions have been securing groundbreaking contracts that provide some protections and benefits through anti-discrimination contract language and domestic partner benefits."

Steve Smith, of the Dewey Square Group and a senior campaign consultant for the Vote No on 8 campaign, wrote in an e-mail, "We are very pleased to have the support of the over 1 million strong state federation of labor. This dramatically expands our ability to communicate with all of the [California] voters."

Mass. group gives to No on 8

The Massachusetts-based group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, which was the lead organization that helped secure same-sex marriage in that state, has helped raise $34,000 for California's Vote No on 8 campaign.

GLAD donor Scott Davenport put up $15,000 at an event last weekend and urged others to contribute, too.

"When we protected the freedom to marry in Massachusetts, we did so with the help of folks from many other states," Davenport said in a statement. "Now it's our turn to help in California."

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