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What happened at Rev. Lou Sheldon’s press conference opposing the FAIR Education Act

FAIR Education Act

A guest piece from Courage Campaign’s National Field Director Arisha Michelle Hatch on what happened at the Traditional Values Coalition’s press conference today -Adam

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

Rev. Louis Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition — one of three California “pro-family” organizations leading the effort to overturn the Fair Education Act — wanted to hold a big press conference today in Orange County. Below is the invitation.

Traditional Values Coalition

September 22, 2011
CONTACT: Benjamin Lopez

TVC Chairman to Release Results of Poll Favorable to Repeal of SB 48 Law Would Require Teachings on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Topics

Anaheim, California-“A recent statewide poll shows California voters are overwhelmingly against the newly-signed Senate Bill 48,” said Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). “The results of this poll should be a warning sign to liberal activists that wish to inject controversial issues into the classroom. Parents are simply against social engineering in the classroom.

“This polls proves that the voters of California are completely behind parents. What we need now are for parents to grab pens, clipboards and petitions and get signatures to stop the assault on our children and grandchildren in California’s schools by leftist homosexual radicals seeking to indoctrinate the minds of young, impressionable youth.” Sheldon added.

Rev. Sheldon will announce the details of the new poll at a press conference set for Monday, September 26, 2011. Details are as follows:

Press Conference
By Traditional Values Coalition
September 26, 2011
11:00 AM
Orange County Registrar of Voters Office
1300 S. Grand Avenue, Bldg C
Santa Ana, CA 92705

SB 48, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on July 14, 2011, will now amend current Education Code sections to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to the list of categories to be covered in all textbooks, curriculum and instructional materials. These new textbooks and instructional materials would apply to ALL subjects in curriculum and to ALL grades K-12.

Traditional Values Coalition is one of three lead statewide pro-family organizations involved in the current Referendum effort aimed at placing the provisions of SB 48 before the voters on the June 2012 ballot. The other organizations assisting Traditional Values Coalition are Capitol Resource Institute and Pacific Justice Institute.

Traditional Values Coalition is an interdenominational and multi-racial public policy organization speaking on behalf of 43,000 churches nationwide and 8,300 churches in California.  For further information about Traditional Values Coalition please call Benjamin Lopez at [redacted] or visit our website at

So, myself, along with Courage’s Anthony Ash and Ana Beatriz Cholo, went.

The photo you see below was the number of press people who showed up.

Rev. Lou Sheldon's press conference
Lou Sheldon

Namely, well, the three of us, a press liaison for Lou, and Lou himself.

In a parking lot.

Rev. Sheldon is no stranger to controversy on LGBT issues.  He’s been so vocal that the Southern Poverty Law Center classified TVC as a “hate-group” way back when.

Rev. Sheldon stood in front of a makeshift podium, in the parking lot of the Orange County Registrar of Voters Office – the Registrar staff told him he couldn’t be inside the building – to make his short polling presentation.

With such low attendance, Courage staff got a front-row seat for this press conference and even got to ask a few follow-up questions before he abruptly ended  his presentation.  He struggled to stay on message, often times contradicted himself  and seemed to suggest that his biggest problem with the Fair Education Act was that it doesn’t allow negative portrayals of the LGBT community.

A few highlights from our chat below:

Courage Campaign’s statement on today:

Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of Courage Campaign, Says Rev. Louis Sheldon Peddling Lies About New Education Law

Reporters Skip Out on Press Conference; Courage Staffers Only People Present

“The Rev. Louis Sheldon and the ‘Traditional Values Coalition’ have been peddling so-called “facts” about gay people for decades now. All they’ve managed to do is hurt people and earn themselves a place in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s pantheon of hate groups together with the Ku Klux Klan,” said Rick Jacobs, the chair and founder of the Courage Campaign, a 700,000 member grassroots and progressive, national online organization. “Their latest lies are about the Fair Education Act, a law that requires California schools to integrate lessons about social movements, current events and the social contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals into existing social studies lessons. Rather than encouraging learning about the diversity of American history, Rev. Sheldon, like his friends at Westboro Baptist Church and other fringe groups, seek to foment division and hatred, the opposite of Judeo-Christian teachings.”

Courage Campaign staff members were on-hand at today’s press conference, called by the Traditional Values Coalition to release commissioned polling results, to share the facts about SB 48 — the Fair Education Act — and to clarify misinformation being disseminated by Sheldon. Click here to watch the video. Members of the media decided to skip the event and Rev. Sheldon was left speaking to an audience of three — all staffers from the Courage Campaign.

Courage Campaign is working to defend the FAIR Education Act as part of a broad coalition that includes people of faith, labor organizations, LGBT groups, disability rights advocates, racial justice organizations and many more who care about equality.


Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.


  • 1. jpmassar  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Did he announce the results of the poll as the press release said he was going to?

  • 2. Adam Bink  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    He claimed 64% oppose the FAIR Education Act. Arisha has documentation of questions and pollster. They polled just 700 people. It's all biased crap, but I'll ask for transcription.

  • 3. jpmassar  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    You can get 75% to oppose puppies if you ask the question the right way. But let's take a look at t he whole thing if we can get a hold of it. Who they polled, the questions asked, and the order.

    We really should try to get PPP to poll California again sometime soon and get a non-biased poll result on the FAIR act and other questions.

  • 4. Alan_Eckert  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I oppose puppies if they pee on my sofa. Count me in the 75%.

  • 5. jpmassar  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    See, you just have to ask the question the right way.

  • 6. Elizabeth_Oakes  |  September 26, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    That's a PP poll, Alan, not a PPP poll.

  • 7. jpmassar  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Is there any news on their prospects of actually getting the necessary signatures to put repeal on the ballot?

  • 8. Alan_Eckert  |  September 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    700 doesn't seem like a bad number, but I would question how they went about getting their sample.

  • 9. Adam Bink  |  September 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    700 should have a margin of error the size of California.

  • 10. outqnews  |  September 27, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Depending on selection bias and a number of other factors, a professionally run poll of 700 people would have a margin of error somewhere in the neighborhood of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points. That, of course, doesn't answer whether this was a professionally run poll or not.

  • 11. Paul  |  September 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    "This polls proves" (maybe he meant 'this poll proves' or 'These polls prove'? Is he confused about how many polls there are or just confused about how to make the subject and verb in a sentence agree?)

  • 12. Paul  |  September 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Oh, and thanks for standing in another parking lot. I'm sure it brings back memories. At least it wasn't 95 degrees and 99% humidity…

  • 13. Jon  |  September 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Oh now that's just sad.

  • 14. Elizabeth_Oakes  |  September 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    …and funny, all at the same time.

    Let's hope it means that their hateful lies are not going to be considered "news" by anyone.

  • 15. Ronnie  |  September 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    LOL…. was that a pin drop?…. I heard it!!! I heard the pin drop!!!…. lol….. XP …Ronnie

  • 16. Lodi Gal  |  September 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I actually felt sorry for him. He seems to have a difficult time following simple conversation.

  • 17. The opposition to equalit&hellip  |  September 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    […] link is to the Prop 8 Trial Tracker site, and content from the Courage Campaign, of a press conference called by Lou Sheldon. Lou is an […]

  • 18. Elizabeth_Oakes  |  September 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Eww, watched the video. What an ugly man, when he's pounding on his hate propaganda and being contemptuous of Arisha. SPLC Hate Group status clearly earned. Arisha, you rock for following your line of inquiry and keeping your cool….you're my hero. I'M SO GLAD I'M A MONTHLY DONATION SUBSCRIBER AND SUPPORT P8TT's MISSION (and maybe buy Arisha and Ant and Ana a sandwich now and again and some gas money to all those parking lots.)

  • 19. Matt Algren  |  September 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Love your work, Arisha. Honestly, you're a major asset to the movement.

  • 20. Barry G. Wick  |  September 27, 2011 at 3:28 am

    a press liason for Lou…..are you certain he wasn't a nurse?

  • 21. Sagesse  |  September 27, 2011 at 5:15 am

    The Cult of Linda Hunt

    “I was a very determined kid,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine any other life for myself. This happens to kids who are different in any way. How am I going to make a life? Who am I going to be when I grow up? Will there be a place for me in the world?…"

  • 22. David  |  September 27, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Could someone at Courage Campaign set out what the state of play is on their efforts. Do you have a sense as to whether there is a substantial effort to gather the required number of signatures? Also, what is their deadline and, if they miss that deadline, can they shoot for a later date to go on the ballot in a later election?

    I understand that since 1982, no measure has made it to the ballot in CA without the use of paid signature gatherers. If it is really true that TVC is not using them, then that bodes well. However, I saw a video yesterday of an SB48 signature gatherer and this woman and her table looked like a signature-for-pay operation.

  • 23. Ronnie  |  September 27, 2011 at 7:26 am

    CALIFORNIA: Anti-Gay Groups Tricking Citizens Into Signing SB 48 Petitions

    "As this clip demonstrates, anti-gay groups in California are tricking people into thinking they are signing a petition to increase the penalties for child molestation. In fact, they are signing a petition to repeal SB 48, the state's just-approved LGBT education bill."

    (me) Bring it to the ethics board. Bring it to every politician who supports the FAIR Act. This is unethical, immoral, illegal campaign fraud & certainly NOT Christian…. Oh, I forgot the anti-LGBT fascist version of "Christian" can do & say whatever they want including lying as long as they do & say it in the name of their destructive & hateful version of "God"….. Thou shall not bear false witness….oh my bad, that is a manmade "Bible" rule that puts limitations on those who are heterosexist so it doesn't count….. (rolls eyes).. 8 /

    Here is the video evidence… go get 'em Courage Campaign……. <3…Ronnie:
    [youtube K5-gSGNsPCQ youtube]

  • 24. David  |  September 27, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Talk about biting off more than than you can chew. His cause is helped by the fact that, other than Courage staff, no one showed up. But then, there is that video. That's going to be very helpful in campaigning against repeal.

  • 25. Carpool Cookie  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Is Mr. Sheldon standing in front of the handicapped sign at his "press conference" because he is mentally handicapped?

  • 26. jpmassar  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

    "Stop SB 48," the group that wants to repeal a state law that allows California students to learn about important people in history who were gay, claimed in an email to supporters yesterday afternoon that its petition drive for a ballot measure will be successful. "The signed petitions are coming in at an incredible rate — tens of thousands a day," the email reads. "It looks like we are going to make the goal of more than 500,000 valid signatures all delivered to our Sacramento office by October 10." Gay rights activists have said that the anti-gay history initiative would be difficult to defeat in June, 2012, when the ballot measure would go before California voters.

    via Joe.My.God

  • 27. jpmassar  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I don't know what protocol is, but disliking my quote about the petition gathering for SB 48 doesn't seem appropriate. Don't kill the messenger!

  • 28. Rich  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Just learned last night, that in the first month of signature gathering to put Marriage Equality on the ballot in Maine in 2012, we have gathered 42,000 out of the 57,000 we need. We have until January to do this so the odds are good that it will be done. Of course we hope (and expect) to gather many, many more to insure we have enough and to send a message. The troops on the group are overwhelming energized by the positive responses to the initial contacts; lots of enthusiasm from the signers. We even had a Maine Voices editorial that surmises (and isn't it ironic), that Maine may turn out to be the first state to pass a marriage equality referendum. At present, polls show majority support for this measure. We have lots of work to do but the momentum is on our side.

  • 29. jpmassar  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Is that 42,000 number in writing somewhere?

  • 30. David  |  September 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    There shouldn't be any doubt that this will be on the ballot. In another month or so, you will be at 75,000 sigs and that will suffice.

    The big question is whether you are prepared to win at the ballot. In 2009, No on 1 ran a competent campaign, but it failed in one critical area: get out the vote. There was a lot of boasting about how great No on 1's GOTV operation was, but at the end of the day Yes on 1's turnout was much better. Comparing 2009 to 2005 (an off-year with a statewide referendum on a gay rights), the anti-gay side's turnout surged 65%, but the pro-gay side's turnout increased by only 20%. That difference in turnout, which was present in every county, is what caused our defeat. GOTV is less of determinative factor in a Presidential election year, but if you are substantially deficient in comparison to your opponent, it can decide the election.

  • 31. Karl Schneider  |  September 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I almost feel sorry for that senile old bastard. Almost. (To be fair, I don't actually know if he's a bastard)

  • 32. Nikki  |  September 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    What a doddering, blithering old fool. Pitiful and pathetic.

  • 33. chris  |  September 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Have the anti-equality folks EVER failed to get enough signatures? But seriously, we should shine the light on their misleading tactics. And point out over and over that this is about money-whoever can afford to hire a signature-gathering firm.

  • 34. june  |  September 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Okay I just have to say how much I love Arisha Hatch. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I first saw Arisha in action at Camp Courage Oakland, and every time I read a piece by her on this blog, I just feel so grateful we have her out there working so hard for equality. Thank you Arisha!!

  • 35. David Hart  |  September 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    All I can say is "Arisha; Better you than me." My problem is I would want to choke the living shit out of the old fool. Ugh

  • 36. Anti-Gay Activists Using &hellip  |  September 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    […] supporters in an email yesterday that its petition drive will be successful. And in related news, no press turned up to cover Rev. Lou Sheldon’s press conference yesterday opposing […]

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