Brian Raum

On Oct. 14, Roland Palencia resigned his post as executive director of Equality California, the group that recently pushed SB 48 through the California Legislature and celebrated Gov. Brown’s signature on it. Palencia took his post with EQCA in March, when long-time executive director Geoff Kors resigned after bringing EQCA from the days of “carrying a six-figure debt” to those of claiming over $1 million in assets.

Because of these recent financial and legislative successes, Palencia’s resignation came as a shock to many. Why, after all, would he leave an apparently winning team just when the wins were coming easier than ever?

The answer seems to be a combination of a couple of things, neither of which bode well for the continued economic solvency of EQCA nor its continued legislative success.

For starters, Palencia apparently benefited from the financial conditions Kors put in place much in the same way a college basketball coach who wins a championship during his first season benefits from the players recruited by the previous coach. And as is often the case, the second season is a far more accurate indicator of the new coach’s ability because it is really the first season where his game plan is fully executed.

With that analogy as a back drop, suffice it to say that leaders of other groups promoting the homosexual agenda around the country believe EQCA’s monetary situation has changed drastically and would have continued to change for the worse under Palencia.

Steven Goldstein, director of Garden State Equality, believes the financial woes facing EQCA are ubiquitous among similar groups in all states:

This is part of a bigger structural problem in our movement. Many state organizations are in deep financial trouble, not only because of the economy, but because many national donors view state organizations as temporary campaigns, rather than permanent organizations, to pull in and out of, as the ebbs and flows of imminent victory or defeat warrant.

And just as the financial outlook for EQCA is not as strong as it appears on paper, their success with SB 48 may have been a bit overstated too. Thus, EQCA watched nervously to see if opponents of SB 48 would file to have the act undone until the deadline to a get an initiative on the 2011 ballot had passed.

EQCA knows the power of such pro-family and pro-marriage initiatives in California because they were on the losing side of Proposition 8 not so long ago.


Brian Raum

Brian Raum serves as senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund.