A few weeks before Virginia's legislative elections in 2005, a researcher working on behalf of a clandestine group of wealthy, gay political donors telephoned a Virginia legislator named Adam Ebbin. Then, as now, Ebbin was the only openly gay member of the state's general assembly. The researcher wanted Ebbin's advice on how the men he represented could spend their considerable funds to help defeat anti-gay Virginia politicians.
Ebbin, a Democrat who is now 44, was happy to oblige. (Full disclosure: in the mid-'90s, Ebbin and I knew each other briefly as colleagues; he sold ads for Washington City Paper, a weekly where I was a reporter.) Using Ebbin's expertise, the gay donors — none of whom live in Virginia — began contributing to certain candidates in the state. There were five benefactors: David Bohnett of Beverly Hills, Calif., who in 1999 sold the company he had co-founded, Geo-Cities, to Yahoo! in a deal worth $5 billion on the day it was announced; Timothy Gill of Denver, another tech multimillionaire; James Hormel of San Francisco, grandson of George, who founded the famous meat company; Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., the billionaire grandson of the founder of medical-technology giant Stryker Corp.; and Henry van Ameringen, whose father Arnold Louis van Ameringen started a Manhattan-based import company that later became the mammoth International Flavors & Fragrances.
Among gay activists, the Cabinet is revered as a kind of secret gay Super Friends, a homosexual justice league that can quietly swoop in wherever anti-gay candidates are threatening and finance victories for the good guys. Rumors abound in gay political circles about the group's recondite influence; some of the rumors are even true. For instance, the Cabinet met in California last year with two sitting governors, Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, both Democrats; political advisers who work for the Cabinet met with a third Democratic governor, Wisconsin's Jim Doyle. The Cabinet has also funded a secretive organization called the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), which a veteran lesbian activist describes as the "Gay IRS." MAP keeps tabs on the major gay organizations to make sure they are operating efficiently. The October 2008 MAP report notes, for example, that the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force fails to meet Better Business Bureau standards for limiting overhead expenses.
DANGER - WARNING:
1. It is my understanding an appeal has been filed to overturn the lower court's ruling in the McConkey v. State of Wisconsin Court Case. For more information, please see:
http://www.wifamilycouncil.org/materials/07-07-27%20-%20Initial%20Pleading.pdf - Court Case
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=701716 - McConkey article
http://www.proudparenting.com/node/1068 - McConkey article
2. The Appellate Court could declare the Traditional Marriage Amendment unconstitutional and strike it down.
3. If the Appellate Court ruled that the Marriage Amendment is constitutional, parties to the case could appeal the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where some observe there is a split among the justices - 4 more liberal-leaning justices to 3 more conservative-leaning justices.
4. Should the Marriage Amendment be struck down by Wisconsin's courts, it is likely that liberal interest groups will attempt to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unions such as The Equal Rights Amendment (2007 Senate Joint Resolution 2) - http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2007/data/SJR2hst.html .
5. With the Democrats in the majority in the State Assembly, State Senate, as well as the Office of the Governor, challenging days could be ahead in our state as there would likely be no way to stop such legislation.