Bay Area Reporter: California-Based Group Goes National

Jul 22, 2010

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CALIFORNIA-BASED, PRO-MARRIAGE GROUP GOES NATIONAL

by Seth Hemmelgarn

 

For link to article, Click Here

If marriage equality activist and potential presidential candidate Fred Karger has his way, Lieutenant Dan Choi will be the country’s first out gay chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Karger, who’s set to explore a 2012 presidential bid, quipped that’s what he told Choi he’d like to see when he ran into him at New York City’s recent Pride parade.

Choi has become the public face of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces. Karger didn’t say what Choi’s response was.

Before he makes any move toward the White House, though, Karger has plenty to do.

The man behind the anti-Prop 8 group Californians Against Hate, announced recently that the group’s name is changing to Rights Equal Rights.

Some, including Geoff Kors, the executive director of Equality California, have suggested using the word “hate” to fight for same-sex marriage could be counterproductive.

Karger, 60, said including the word in the original name of his group had “served its purpose very well.”

“When I started this effort, I wanted to let people know I was going to be aggressive, and unfortunately there’s still many people who don’t like the LGBT community,” he said. “But I wanted to take a more positive tone. That’s kind of the direction I’m heading, personally, and I think Californians Against Hate has been hugely successful in slowing down our opponents.”

Karger spoke with the Bay Area Reporter on Friday, July 16, which was the two-year anniversary of the beginning of the boycott he helped launch against hotelier Doug Manchester in San Diego.

The Californians Against Hate site featured a “dishonor roll” of Prop 8 contributors, and was launched around the same time that Karger called for the Manchester boycott.

Manchester, whose properties include the Grand Hyatt in San Diego, gave $125,000 to support what eventually became Prop 8, which California voters passed in November 2008 to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. The boycott reportedly resulted in millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The mission of Rights Equal Rights will include “keeping an eye on the major opponents of equality,” with the National Organization for Marriage and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being at the top of the list, said Karger. Members of both groups were among Prop 8′s biggest backers.

Karger prompted the state of Maine to investigate NOM when he filed a complaint on its reporting practices. The anti-gay organization worked to support the same-sex marriage ban in that state, which ultimately passed in November 2009.

Most recently, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission fined the Mormon Church $5,339 after Karger complained about the church’s late reporting of contributions that were supportive of Prop 8.

“We’ll continue to speak out when I see questionable activities on their behalf,” said Karger of anti-marriage equality organizations.

He said, “I realized the name of my organization had grown beyond Californians Against Hate and it was time to adjust that” when he filed the complaint in Maine.

Karger said when the Manchester boycott started two years ago, he had originally thought it would last just four and a half months.

“I had no idea this would go on, so I have to make a few adjustments to change,” said Karger.

He said the Manchester and similar boycotts have sent “a clear message to the big donors that if they want to contribute six-figure sums in these elections when it’s public, we might not want to patronize their businesses.”

When a ballot measure to repeal Prop 8 comes, said Karger, “It will be a very different situation” than what occurred in 2008, when Prop 8′s backers raised more than $40 million to push their measure. Prop 8 opponents raised similar amounts.

“The other side will have to do major money laundering if they’re going to try to keep marriage away from us,” he said.

Karger, a Republican, is in the process of establishing an exploratory committee for a 2012 presidential bid. He said couldn’t yet affirmatively announce a bid because that would mean he’d have to start filing campaign finance reports.

However, Karger said he is developing a commercial called “Good Morning, New Hampshire.”

“It’s going to be a fun biographical piece to introduce New Hampshire to Fred Karger,” he said. Karger, who said he hasn’t yet raised any money for a presidential bid, plans to rent a house and get a car in the state. New Hampshire is the first state where presidential primaries are held.

Karger said he’d pattern himself after another GOP member – the late former President Ronald Reagan.

Karger said that like himself, Reagan was “always upbeat.” He expressed confidence.

“I’m not going to be raising hundreds of millions of dollars, unlike some of my potential opponents,” he said, but added that he’d be participating in many of the presidential debates that will come.

He said if he does make an announcement to run for president, it would probably be sometime next year.

For more information on Karger’s work to support marriage equality, visit www.rightsequalrights.com.

Huffington Post: Californians Against Hate Name Change

Jul 9, 2010

huff post

 

We’re Changing Our Name

fred head shot

Fred Karger

Founder, Californians Against Hate

Posted: July 9, 2010

 

CLICK HERE for link to article

As we take on new challenges, go in new directions and become more national in scope, we are officially changing our name. We are very excited to announce, that from this day forward, Californians Against Hate will be known as Rights Equal Rights.

Our new web site is launching today, check it out: www.RightsEqualRights.com

 

Our History

It’s been just two years since a small group of friends and I started Californians Against Hate to draw attention to the mega-donors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign. It’s been a busy 24 months.

We began on July 18, 2008 by helping to assemble a coalition of LGBT and labor organizations in San Diego to boycott Doug Manchester’s three hotels. Doug Manchester had contributed $125,000 in very early money to qualify and pass Proposition 8, which took away marriage rights from millions of Californians. Why should we support his three hotels, only to have that money used against us?

The Manchester Hotels boycott exceeded our wildest expectations. According to their own admission, the boycott is costing the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel alone approximately $1 million per month. This is due to dozens of canceled large meetings and conventions at Manchester’s flagship property, and thousands of individuals and businesses who refuse to cross our picket line.

Manchester sold his Idaho hotel in 2009, and now rumors abound that his brand new $400 million Grand del Mar Resort in San Diego is in receivership. It has recently been reported that Global Hyatt Corporation will be buying a majority interest in his Manchester Grand Hyatt. The sale was just approved by the San Diego Port Commission on Tuesday.

 

Other Boycotts

We have led three other boycotts against the biggest donors to Proposition 8. We have settled two; one against Bolthouse Farms and another against Garff Automotive Group. Both had family members who contributed $100,000 to pass Prop 8. Now both companies are generous supporters of a variety of LGBT organizations.

Our one remaining boycott is against Terry Caster’s A-1 Self Storage Company. Terry Caster and his family gave a whopping $693,000 to Prop 8. Caster was even quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune saying that gay marriage “would create a sick society.” We will continue to let the world know to boycott all 40 locations of A-1 Self Storage in California.

 

The Mormon Church Was Prosecuted

During the summer of 2008, we discovered the active involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) in Prop 8. The Mormon Church took over virtually every aspect of the Yes on Prop 8 campaign.

Mormon families contributed approximately $30 million of the $40 million raised, the Church produced 27 slick commercials, put up an expensive web site, bussed in thousands of volunteers from Utah, had massive phone banks, yet only reported a mere $2078 in non-monetary contributions just three days before the election. Two weeks later I filed a sworn complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against the Mormon Church for not reporting its vast financial involvement.

The Commission prosecuted the case, and conducted an unprecedented 19 month investigation of the Salt Lake City based Church’s finances. Three weeks ago the FPPC found the Mormon Church guilty of 13 counts of late reporting and they were fined $5539. That was the first time a religious organization was found guilty of election irregularities in the 36 year history of the FPPC.

 

Taking on the National Organization for Marriage

 

I also have done battle with the Mormon Church’s front group, the infamous National Organization for Marriage (NOM). I have challenged all of their false and misleading actions for the last two years. Their arrogant and illegal campaign activities last fall in Maine that was the final straw.

NOM contributed over $1.9 million to take away that state’s recently passed right to marry for all, and completely disregarded Maine’s long-standing election law in the process. NOM was required to report all its contributor names of $100 and over to election officials. NOM refused, and continues to refuse to turn over their records, even after being ordered to do so by three federal judges and the State Attorney General of Maine.

I filed the original sworn complaint against NOM that led to the investigation, and have attended three separate Ethics Commission meetings in Maine to make sure that NOM complies with the Maine election law.

 

I Was Subpoenaed by NOM

As a result of all my actions, I was subpoenaed by the National Organization for Marriage last September as part of their federal law suit, ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen. That law suit was filed in California by the official Yes on Prop 8 committee and NOM to invalidate all campaign reporting laws in California. I believe they subpoenaed me strictly to harass me and make me spend a lot of money. Thanks to the generous support of so many of you who contributed to my legal defense fund, Five for Fred, most all of the legal costs have been covered.

 

We are Now…RIGHTS EQUAL RIGHTS

We recently passed a Board Resolution officially changing our name.

Rest assured, I have never been more determined and motivated to help lead the LGBTQ community in our fight for full equal rights in this country.

Younger people who begin to realize that they are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender or queer will be afforded all the same rights as their brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors.

That is what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence 234 years ago, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

We will settle for nothing less.

10 News: Prop 8 Boycott on Downtown San Diego Hotel Continues

Jul 7, 2010

10news

 

Prop 8 Boycott On Downtown Hotel Continues

Hyatt Hotel Boycotted Since Owner Doug Manchester Donated $125,000 To Prop 8

POSTED: 7:01 pm PDT July 6, 2010

UPDATED: 9:05 pm PDT July 6, 2010

 

CLICK HERE for link to article

 

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Port Commissioners on Tuesday approved the transfer of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel downtown from developer Doug Manchester to the Hyatt Hotel Corporation.

 

The hotel has been the target of protesters and a boycott since Manchester donated $125,000 to Proposition 8, the measure that banned gay marriage in California.

 

Fred Karger and his group, Californians Against Hate, have been leading the boycott.

 

“We’ve offered from day one to meet with Doug Manchester to try to negotiate an end to the boycott,” said Karger. “He has always refused to meet with us.”

 

Karger said the boycott is still in place for now, but he hopes to meet with the Hyatt Corporation and settle things.

 

“I’m hoping the Hyatt Corporation will take a completely different direction on this and we can sit down and work out an end,” said Karger.

 

The Hyatt Corporation in Chicago would not comment on the boycott or the transfer of the hotel.

 

A spokesman for the Manchester Grand Hyatt told 10News, “Hyatt will continue to support and reach out to the LGBT community. Hyatt has been recognized as a gay friendly employer.”

 

Manchester will remain a minority owner of the hotel. He has apologized for his support of Prop 8 and has offered $25,000 in cash and $100,000 in hotel credit to various lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups.

Uncovered Politics: “The Back of the Pack: Who is Fred Karger?”

Jun 18, 2010

uncovered politics

 

The Back of the Pack: Who is Fred Karger?

Posted by Austin F. Cassidy, June 13, 2010

CLICK HERE for link

It seems that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is still mulling a long-shot bid for President in 2012. Earlier this week he addressed the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee and talked about his landslide defeat in 2006, when he lost his Senate seat to Bob Casey.

On the tough loss, Santorum stated that it gave him a chance “to see government, not from the perspective of someone who is in the mix, but as a citizen who watches government like every other citizen watches government.”

Santorum went on to descibe the tea party movement as “first responders who are responding to an emergency in America.”

Also this week, a new poll was released that shows Congressman Ron Paul would beat President Barack Obama by 18-points among those who identify as independent voters.

Good news for Paul and bad for Obama? Sort of.

In match-ups that included all voters, the President was leading all potential Republican challengers. And actually leading Ron Paul by the largest margin, because his stances on foreign policy turned off a meaningful percentage of Republicans.

Obama leads Mike Huckabee 46-44, and Mitt Romney 45-42… and Ron Paul by 46-36.

Mother Jones Image

 

 

AND FINALLY: Who is Fred Karger?

Fred Karger is a one-time political consultant, gay rights activist and founder of Californians Against Hate.  He’s also “seriously considering” a run for President as either a Republican or a so-called independent Republican.

Karger has set up a personal website that looks an awful lot like a campaign website.  It details his relatively extensive history as an activist and campaign worker in Republican politics.

He descibes himself as a centrist and advocates for a “big tent” Republican Party and he’s been featured in Mother Jones magazine.

Recently Karger caused a stir by visiting Iowa to lay some groundwork for a bid in the 2012 GOP Caucus in that state.  The party’s State Committeeman basically told Karger that he should stay out of the race.

To learn more, listen to this recent interview with Karger on an Iowa radio station…