Gay Fresno - Opinion
The Hollow EQCA
Hear that deafening silence? That’s the sound of Equality California, the once highly regarded and legislatively active state LGBT lobbying organization, thinking about its next move. And thinking, and thinking, and thinking: the organization has become so inert, so ineffectual with only an interim executive director, Laurie Hasencamp, administratively holding down the fort that EQCA has become the hollow org – and no one seems to care.
On Thursday, Aug. 2, the Bay Area Reporter broke a story confirming that EQCA spokesperson and senior staffer Rebekah Orr is leaving next week. Orr has been the behind-the-scene voice of EQCA since joining the flailing organization on July 11, 2011 under then Executive Director Roland Palencia, who officially started his job six days earlier, on July 5. She served as the intermediary between Palencia and the LGBT press when serious questions were raised about the ED’s messaging skills as the California FAIR Act came under attack from the Religious Right. Since Palencia’s resignation effective Oct. 14, 2011, Orr has been the primary public face of EQCA, though Hasencamp did present a thank you on June 1 to the LA City Council for passing a Resolution supporting the EQCA-sponsored “ex-gay therapy” bill SB 1172, authored by State Sen. Ted Lieu.
This is pure speculation – but I can’t help but wonder if EQCA had seriously promoted SB 1172 – and worked with other state LGBT organizations similar bills in their areas – perhaps gays stymied during the Chick-fil-A controversy might have been able to point to this bill as something that helps repair the harm done by “ex-gay” organizations that the Chick-fil-A foundation WinShape funds.
Orr, who is joining Goodwin-Simon Strategic Research, told BAR that the organization’s board is no closer to naming a new, permanent ED. “The board is in the same position it has been in,” she told BAR, and is “going to take whatever time it needs to make the right choice.”