Saturday, May 30, 2009

Welcome to the site

View 08-B voting results here.

This site provides vote-tracking information and some analysis and commentary on PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA) proposed amendment 08-B, originally known as the Boston Ordination Equality Overture, which would remove the "don't ask, don't tell" anti-gay policy which is presently written into the PCUSA constitution. The anti-gay policy is section G-6.0106b of the Presbyterian Book of Order, so amendments like 08-B are often called "delete-b" amendments. Amendment 08-B is an LGBT equality overture which seeks to remove systemic discrimination from the official Presbyterian rulebook.

This web site also maintains a tracking and information spreadsheet about ongoing 08-B votes, which compares presbytery votes on the previous delete-b effort "01-A" in 2001-2, to presbytery votes on 08-B this year. To my knowledge, no other 08-B tracking site provides this sort of clear comparison of vote percentages.

For additional news about LGBT equality efforts within the PCUSA, see the More Light Presbyterians (MLP) web site. You can also read MLP's press release and announcement when 08-B was originally passed at the national (General Assembly) level.

This site is maintained by Bruce Hahne, a PCUSA member who lives in California. All notes and commentary posted here are my own, and this site is maintained independently of other organizations' web sites.

Monday, May 18, 2009

08-B vote wrapup, May 1-18

We've gone about half a month without an 08-B presbytery vote wrapup, which is probably good since it's given us some time to accumulate 10 new votes for everybody's perusal.


Yes votes: 6
No votes: 4
No-to-yes flips: 2 out of a target 3, plus Utah as "bonus flip".
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 3 out of 3

Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 7
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality: 3

Nasty surprises: 0
Amazingly positive surprises (unexpected flips): 1 (Utah)
Annoyances: 2

Bruce's rating for the week: "Excellent results"

Total presbytery "yes" votes so far: 77
Total presbytery "no" votes so far: 92

"Popular vote" totals of presbytery individual votes:
"Yes" popular vote: 10359 (49%)
"No" popular vote: 10791 (51%)

May has been a strong month for pro-equality efforts on 08-B so far, with two out of three target presbyteries flipped from "no" to "yes", a surprise win in Utah, two total blowout votes for "yes" with huge pro-equality shifts, and a strong pro-LGBT shift in Savannah which bodes well for the future. The ratio of pro-equality to anti-equality vote shifts isn't quite at the 3:1 ratio that I'd like to see, however that's pretty much due to the statistically insignificant slight negative vote shift in Kiskiminetas.

Before we dive into the individual votes, I wanted to step back for a moment and take a look at a few of the bigger-picture numbers. If we look at what I call the "popular vote" totals, by which I mean the number of actual human beings at presbytery meetings who voted either "yes" or "no" on 08-B, the count is almost exactly tied, at 49% "yes" and 51% "no". That's up from about 43% "yes", 57% "no" seven years ago. So we're not quite at a "1% pro-LGBT shift per year" rule of thumb, but we're close. The current 49%-51% split obviously says that we're at the tipping point -- in just a few years we'll be above 50% support in the presbytery popular vote, we can get rid of G6.0106b, and then start the healing process within the denomination to recover from years of institutionalized discrimination. The numbers also show, by the way, that years of pro-equality education and activism will continue to be necessary even after the denomination eliminates G6.0106b.

Another numeric point to note, which so far no news story that I'm aware of has covered, is that despite ongoing hand-wringing about denominational membership declines, the pro-equality portion of the PCUSA is growing numerically, if we use the presbytery popular vote counts as a guide. Here are the popular vote totals comparing 2001-2 to 2009, counting only presbyteries which have voted so far:

2001-2 YES votes: 10189
2009 YES votes: 10359 (+1.7%)

2001-2 NO votes: 13273
2009 NO votes: 10791 (-18.7%)

So despite the fact that the PCUSA as a denomination is shrinking by roughly 2% per year in its total membership, we see nearly a 2% INCREASE in the absolute "yes" vote count when we compare 2009 to 2001-2, while the total anti-equality votes saw nearly a 20% decline. The future of the PCUSA is clearly on the side of LGBT equality.

One final numerical tidbit, for those tracking the overall presbytery vote counts, is that it's now numerically impossible for the "no" vote count to break 100, as it did the last time around in 2001-2. We'll likely end up with a presbytery vote count of about 77 "yes" and 96 "no", which of course is much stronger than the lopsided vote count of 2001-2.

Still coming up this month, we have either 3 or 4 presbyteries still to vote, depending on whether we're to believe reports that Midwest Hanmi has no plans to vote on 08-B at all. The remaining presbyteries are Midwest Hanmi, Missouri River Valley, Noroeste, and Soroeste. Three of these four presbyteries are solidly in the "no" camp barring a highly unusual miracle -- sudden manifestations of angelic choirs singing hymns of praise to 08-B, that kind of thing -- while Missouri River Valley is a complete tossup and a "target flip" presbytery, having previously voted 49% yes / 51% no in 2001-2. So send some love to Missouri River Valley and to the More Light supporters doing the get-out-the-vote work -- let's see if this presbytery can become no-to-yes flip number 34.

Now let's dive into the individual presbytery votes to take a look. Thankfully, this time around I'm able to eliminate my "bad news" category, since we had no nasty surprises or unexpected yes-to-no flips. Now that I actually put these into categories, I see that this really has been a good month -- it's unusual to see 6 out of 10 presbytery votes categorized in the "successes" section.


2001-2 01-A: 1 yes, 20 no --> 5% YES
2009 08-B: 0 yes, unknown count no --> 0% YES (-5%)

For Dakota I don't even have the exact vote count, though I do have a report that claims it was "unanimous no". Essentially we can say that Dakota stayed steady in its anti-equality stance, though it would have been nice if the one person who voted "yes" in 2001-2 had been around in 2009 to again vote "yes" in 2009.

Middle Tennessee
2001-2 01-A: 95 yes, 118 no --> 44.6% YES
2009 08-B: 95 yes, 139 no --> 40.6% YES (-4.0%)

Given its previous pro-equality support of nearly 45%, Middle Tennessee was a "target to flip" presbytery, however we ended up with a 4% ANTI-equality shift compared to 2001-2. The numbers here are interesting -- note how the "yes" vote held at 95 votes in 2009, while the "no" vote count increased by 21 people. To me this suggests that the anti-equality side did some significant get-out-the-vote (GOTV) work to bring up their numbers. Perhaps the lesson here is the obvious one: anti-equality people can do GOTV too, and they may often have an untapped reservoir of "no" supporters who can be mobilized to attend the presbytery meeting and vote against equality. So as always, we can never take any presbytery for granted, particularly those in the 40% to 60% range of support.


2001-2 01-A: 35 yes, 76 no --> 31.5% YES
2009 08-B: 34 yes, 76 no --> 30.9% YES (-0.6%)

Kiskiminetas here comes in with a vote essentially identical to 2001-2. There's no change in the "no" vote count at all, and a loss of one vote on the "yes" side, giving us a statistically insignificant anti-equality shift.


Southern New England
2001-2 01-A: 109 yes, 72 no --> 60.2% YES
2009 08-B: 97 yes, 50 no --> 66.0% YES (+5.8%)

Here a decline of 12 votes on the "yes" side was thankfully overmatched by a decline of 22 votes on the "no" side, giving us a net positive vote percentage shift of about 6%. It would be nice to see if we can get that "yes" vote count above 100 the next time around, reversing the decline.


We have an interesting lineup of successes this time around. Two of them are successful no-to-yes flips, three of them I list here simply because of the huge percentage shifts, and then we have Utah as our surprise bonus no-to-yes flip.

2001-2 01-A: 99 yes, 100 no --> 49.7% YES
2009 08-B: 100 yes, 90 no --> 52.6% YES (+2.9%)

Pacific was an obvious "target flip" presbytery given its 2001-2 vote, and we did make it just over the "yes" tipping point, though not by a lot. Equality supporters were able to hold the "yes" vote count at the same level as 2001-2, while there was a 10% reduction (100 down to 90) in the "no" votes. Nice job in Pacific presbytery -- every no-to-yes flip is great news.

Minnesota Valleys
2001-2 01-A: 44 yes, 60 no --> 42.3% YES
2009 08-B: 44 yes, 37 no --> 54.3% YES (+12.0%)

The Minnesota Valleys vote looks something like an amplified version of Pacific: as in Pacific, equality supporters held the "yes" vote count at 2001-2 levels, while in this case the "no" vote collapsed compared to 2001-2, giving us a large 12% pro-equality shift and another no-to-yes flip. This is an example of a presbytery that we definitely can't take for granted in future years, since all that the "no" side needs to do is some extra get-out-the-vote work, and they'll likely bring the "no" vote count back up to some extent.

2001-2 01-A: 21 yes, 32 no --> 39.6% YES
2009 08-B: 28 yes, 25 no --> 52.8% YES (+13.2%)

Speaking as someone who presently lives in California, I must say that there's a strong sense of satisfaction to see Utah -- which of course was the source of much of the funding that bankrolled California anti-marriage Proposition 8 -- came out of nowhere to unexpectedly flip no-to-yes. "Yes" supporters increased their vote count by 33% (21 to 28), "no" votes declined by about 20% (32 to 25), and we end up with a no-to-yes flip. This is another example of a presbytery that we can't take for granted in the future, but of course it's fantastic to know that it's now competitive. Utah was a huge success for PCUSA equality this month, and a lot of work took place behind the scenes to make this no-to-yes flip happen. Very nice job here -- Utah really made my day when I heard this news.

East Iowa
2001-2 01-A: 78 yes, 69 no --> 53% YES
2009 08-B: 74 yes, 21 no --> 78% YES (+25%)

As a former Iowa resident (did I mention that I've moved around quite a bit?), I was biting my nails over whether we'd hold this presbytery at a "yes" vote. It turns out that I didn't need to worry -- this was a total blowout, with the "no" vote completely collapsing compared to 2001-2. I'd speculate that the recent rollout of marriage equality in Iowa probably played a psychological role in how the presbytery vote dynamics played out. Or maybe all of the potential "no" presbytery voters were out holding bake sales to raise money for a voter initiative to repeal marriage equality in Iowa, who knows.

Northern Waters
2001-2 01-A: 41 yes, 30 no --> 57.7% YES
2009 08-B: 53 yes, 11 no --> 82.8% YES (+25.1%)

Here's another blowout on the numbers -- the "yes" vote count in this case goes up by over 25% compared to 2001-2, the "no" vote collapses, and we end up with a 25% pro-LGBT vote shift. Nice job with the pro-equality GOTV in Northern Waters.

2001-2 01-A: 20 yes, 54 no --> 27.0% YES
2009 08-B: 29 yes, 38 no --> 43.3% YES (+16.3%)

Typically I don't put presbyteries that voted "no" into the "successes" section, however given this strong pro-LGBT vote shift in Savannah, I felt it was merited. Supporters increased the "yes" count by nearly 50% (20 to 29), the "no" votes are declining, and we end up with a "Seeking a Miracle" presbytery shifting into the "target to flip next time" category. A 16% pro-equality shift from a presbytery previously at only 27% support is fantastic.


As always, many thanks to all the More Light supporters working in every presbytery to win hearts and minds for equality. It takes all of us, whether we're having conversations with people about equality, or sending in a contribution to MLP, or doing our More Light Sunday prep work, to shift the denomination towards the eventual (and obviously imminent) repeal of G6.0106b.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vote wrapup, April 20-28

It's been slightly over a week since I wrote the last 08-B vote update, and as it turns out two more votes have just come in tonight (Tuesday 4/28), so I'll include those here.

This update covers all of the 08-B votes that I know of that took place from April 20 through April 28.


Yes votes: 6
No votes: 4
No-to-yes flips: 4 out of a target 5
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 2 out of 4

Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 5
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality: 5

Nasty surprises: 2 (San Francisco, Sierra Blanca)
Amazingly positive surprises (unexpected flips): 0
Annoyances: 2

Bruce's rating for the week: "Worst week so far"

This week started out strong but then went downhill, with a double break in our perfect record of all previous "yes" presbytery votes held at "yes". As a result I've finally had to expand the categories for this week's wrapup to include a "BAD NEWS" category, covering votes which are just plain bad news, much more than "annoying".

We had our first two, and hopefully last two, yes-to-no flips this week, and those plus the other "no" votes were enough to push the total presbytery "no" vote count above the 87-presbytery-vote ceiling needed to defeat 08-B. So if you were just here to watch for whether 08-B would pass or fail, you now know that result. I've telegraphed that likely result in several of my previous weekly updates, so it should come as no huge surprise, however please do be aware that a lot of equality supporters are in pain this week over the technical loss, so give them some extra hugs and then point out that we're still flipping presbyteries from "no" to "yes". More on the strong string of no-to-yes flips later. More Light Presbyterians also has an official statement up on its web site at Some of the correspondence I've seen from MLP board and staff members has made it clear that there's a strong commitment to run this race through to the finish, i.e. MLP will continue to work for every vote in every presbytery. That's great news, because the work of shifting hearts and minds for equality doesn't stop just because we reached a semi-arbitrary presbytery vote count.

Had the past 9 days gone "reasonably", or at least resembling the voting patterns so far, we would have ended up with 9 yes votes and 1 no vote, with Northern Plains being the only no vote. Instead, we were unable to flip Boise from its previous 50%-50% tie (more commentary on this later also), and we had the nasty pair of yes-to-no flips, one of which simply should never have happened (that would be you, San Francisco).

This set of 10 presbyteries also gets an overall "annoying" for the tie of 5 presbyteries shifting pro-equality and 5 shifting anti-equality. This 50-50 split is a significant departure from the overall ratio of 3-to-1 pro-versus-anti-equality shifts. Had I written this wrapup on Sunday like I usually do, the numbers would have been even worse, with 5 anti-equality shifts and only 3 pro-equality shifts.

So with that intro out of the way, here are the vote percentage breakdowns and some commentary.


San Francisco - YES-TO-NO FLIP
2001-2 01-A: 216 yes, 186 no --> 53.7% YES
2009 08-B: 167 yes, 177 no --> 48.5% YES (-5.2%)

This yes-to-no flip now means that the phrase "remember San Francisco!" will be used as an admonition for at least the next 5 to 10 years within the PCUSA LGBT equality movement. There's already been a commitment made to do a post-08B-vote postmortem discussion about "what happened in San Francisco", though a look at the raw vote counts suggests to me that this was heavily a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) problem for equality supporters. The anti-equality faction didn't increase their own numbers -- they decreased. But look at the downward plunge in the "yes" votes from 2001-2 to 2009: 216 "yes" votes dropped down to 167 votes, nearly a 25% drop. This is what can happen if you get sloppy or complacent.

Initial conversation has revealed that a number of equality supporters decided to skip the presbytery meeting and attend an out-of-town conference instead. I hope that San Francisco's experience now cures us of the belief that it's EVER a good idea to skip the presbytery meeting when a vote on LGBT equality is on the docket. I don't care if you've got a handwritten invitation to the second coming of Elijah -- you send back your RSVP to Elijah and say "so sorry I can't make it -- I've got to attend the presbytery meeting as part of my RESPONSIBILITY to vote for full equality."

Sierra Blanca - YES-TO-NO FLIP
2001-2 01-A: 18 yes, 17 no --> 51.4% YES
2009 08-B: 23 yes, 30 no --> 43.4% YES (-8.0%)

Here's our second unfortunate yes-to-no flip, however it's not quite as dismaying as San Francisco. With vote counts down in the teens for the 2001-2 vote, it's difficult to predict in advance which way this presbytery might fall. The 2009 vote counts show an increase in both the "yes" and "no" votes at the presbytery, suggesting that both pro-equality and anti-equality advocates ran get-out-the-vote efforts, or at least that there was "heightened interest" in attending to express an opinion via a vote. Total presbytery attendance for the 2009 vote increased a whopping 50% compared to 2001-2. It's certainly possible that Sierra Blanca's "natural" level of pro-equality support is in the mid-40s percentage-wise, and that the 2001-2 one-vote-win was simply an outlier. Regardless, this isn't the kind of result that we want to see, with an 8% anti-LGBT vote shift that turns a previous "yes" into a "no".


2001-2 01-A: 20 yes, 20 no --> 50% YES
2009 08-B: 25 yes, 34 no --> 42.4% YES (-7.6%)

Boise is extremely similar to Sierra Blanca: small 2001-2 vote counts with a vote percentage hovering around a 50-50 split; a nearly 50% increase in presbytery attendance/voting in 2009 compared to 2001-2; and roughly an 8% negative-equality vote shift in 2009. The only reason why I don't list Boise in the "bad news" section above is that it was previously a "no" vote on 01-A in 2001-2 (remember that tie votes count as "no"), so Boise didn't end up being a yes-to-no flip. It was, however, one that looked like an easy pickup opportunity this year, but that wasn't what happened. Instead it looks again as if both the pro-equality and anti-equality groups did GOTV, and the anti-equality side was able to increase its vote count more than the pro-equality side.

Northern Plains
2001-2 01-A: 35 yes, 51 no --> 40.7% YES
2009 08-B: 21 yes, 33 no --> 38.9% YES (-1.8%)

Northern Plains was a long shot to flip no-to-yes, and we didn't flip it. The annoying part is the 1.8% anti-equality vote shift, although vote-shift percentages so small can't really be taken as a sign of anything other than statistical noise. The vote totals in 2009 are interesting in that they don't show the same trends as Boise and Sierra Blanca -- instead, here both sides show significantly reduced vote totals when compared to 2001-2 voting.


de Cristo
2001-2 01-A: 70 yes, 55 no --> 56% YES
2009 08-B: 59 yes, 48 no --> 55% YES (-1%)

de Cristo was a "hold" presbytery which we did hold at pro-equality. Here I rate it as "neutral" since it's hard to tell what to do with that 1% anti-equality vote shift. That's within statistical noise, so I don't count de Cristo as "annoying", but without some sort of pro-equality shift it's not realistic for me to categorize this as "slightly positive".


National Capital
2001-2 01-A: 220 yes, 116 no --> 65.5% YES
2009 08-B: 222 yes, 102 no --> 68.5% YES (+3.0%)

National Capital is more representative of the vote-shift trend that we want to see, coming in with a modest pro-equality shift and increasing the total "yes" vote in 2009 compared to 2001-2, while the anti-equality side lost votes.


This "successes" section only had two presbyteries in it until tonight (April 28), so maybe it's good that I procrastinated by two days. All of these are no-to-yes flips, two of them coming in AFTER the known defeat of 08-B when it reached 87 "no" presbytery votes. Three out of the four below are strong successes, with double-digit pro-equality vote shifts.

2001-2 01-A: 160 yes, 187 no --> 46% YES
2009 08-B: 156 yes, 149 no --> 51% YES (+5%)

Salem ekes out a 5% pro-equality vote shift and a no-to-yes flip, holding the 2009 "yes" vote count at almost the level of 2001 while the anti-equality vote count declined significantly. Nice job in Salem -- now the challenge is to reinforce that 51% support for equality and get it into the high 50's.

Wabash Valley
2001-2 01-A: 83 yes, 102 no --> 44.9% YES
2009 08-B: 78 yes, 60 no --> 56.5% YES (+11.7%)

Here's the first in a string of pro-equality vote shifts in the 12% range, all of which gave us no-to-yes flips. As with Salem, here in Wabash Valley we see that equality supporters held the 2009 "yes" vote count close to 2001-2 levels, while the "no" vote count dropped significantly.

2001-2 01-A: 102 yes, 111 no --> 47.9% YES
2009 08-B: 141 yes, 92 no --> 60.5% YES (+12.6%)

Look at the total "yes" vote count in 2001-2 and then compare it to 2009 -- yes, that's nearly a 40% INCREASE in the total number of "yes" votes, while the anti-equality vote dropped. We should have the More Light supporters in Detroit presbytery teach us their get-out-the-vote techniques. Excellent job on the GOTV, Detroit folks.

2001-2 01-A: 50 yes, 62 no --> 44.6% YES
2009 08-B: 60 yes, 46 no --> 56.6% YES (+12.0%)

Similar to Detroit and almost as spectacular on the numbers, equality supporters in LeHigh push UP the total "yes" vote count by 20% (10 votes total) compared to 2001-2 while again, the anti-equality vote drops down. We end up with a 12% pro-equality shift, which is no easy task anywhere. In this case it was more than enough to make LeHigh another no-to-yes flip.

Many thanks to equality supporters particularly in Detroit and LeHigh presbyteries, who attended the presbytery meeting and voted even after the weekend announcement that 08-B has been defeated. Every vote matters, every possible presbytery no-to-yes flip is a big deal, and there are still several presbyteries yet to vote that could flip from "no" to "yes".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

08-B wrapup, March 30 - April 19

I took a few weeks away from doing these updates, since there weren't any votes scheduled through the Easter season, but now the 08-B votes are starting to happen again. Here's a recap of the few votes that happened in the late March to early April time window, plus a few more that happened recently.

This update covers all 08-B votes that I know of that took place from March 30 through April 19.

Yes votes: 3
No votes: 3
No-to-yes flips: 0 out of a target 1 (if we count South Louisiana as a target flip)
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 3 out of 3

Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 1
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality 3

Nasty surprises: 0
Amazingly positive surprises (unexpected flips): 0
Annoyances: 3

Bruce's rating for the past three weeks of votes: "No surprises"

Fundamentally, the 6 votes of the past 3 weeks weren't very exciting: 3 previous "no" votes and 3 previous "yes" votes all voted the same way on 08-B this time around. The two areas of interest were San Jose Presbytery, which is traditionally hotly contested, and South Louisiana, where we had a long-shot opportunity to flip the presbytery from a previous "no" vote to a "yes" this year.

Several presbyteries fall into the "annoying" category this time around due to slight anti-LGBT percentage shifts, all of them at the 2-3% level. In Alaska and Long Island presbyteries this type of "probable statistical noise" doesn't matter quite as much, however in San Jose it does, since the votes in San Jose on LGBT equality overtures are traditionally fairly close. More on San Jose below, under its vote breakdown.

You'll notice that I have no "slightly positive" or "successes" sections below this time, since these 6 votes really don't fall into those categories. If we had picked up a pro-LGBT percentage shift in Alaska or San Jose then I'd count those as "slightly positive", but since we had some backsliding, they get listed as "annoying".


2001-2 01-A: 15 yes, 24 no --> 38.5% YES
2009 08-B: 12 yes, 21 no --> 36.4% YES (-2.1%)

With total vote counts this low, it's hard to derive much meaning from a 3-vote decline for both the "yes" and "no" votes when we compare 2001-2 to 2009. Still, I'd prefer to see a pro-LGBT shift into the low-40% level support rather than the 2% decline down to 36% that we actually see.

Long Island
2001-2 01-A: 87 yes, 28 no --> 75.7% YES
2009 08-B: 78 yes, 29 no --> 72.9% YES (-2.8%)

Long Island isn't in any danger of flipping its vote to "no", so I'm not particularly bothered by a 2.8% anti-LGBT shift, however given that the "no" voters were able to increase their total by 1 vote when compared to the 2001-2 voting, it would have been nice to see the "yes" vote count for 2009 come in at the 2001-2 levels of 87 votes.

San Jose
2001-2 01-A: 85 yes, 75 no --> 53.1% YES
2009 08-B: 84 yes, 81 no --> 50.9% YES (-2.2%)

I should note here that although I'm in San Jose presbytery, I didn't do the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) work for this presbytery -- that was handled here by a very dedicated team of LGBT equality supporters who did a large amount of phone calling and people-tracking well in advance of the presbytery meeting. I won't list names here since I don't know who wants to be mentioned and who would rather stay anonymous, however if you were at the More Light dinner at General Assembly in 2008, it's safe to say that you've likely met several members of this team. And it's good that they worked hard on the 08-B GOTV, since the anti-equality forces pulled out all the stops and increased their "no" vote count to 81 from the previous level of 75.

San Jose presbytery is both an interesting and annoying exercise in swing-presbytery demographics. A lot of people look up the city on the map and assume, based on San Jose's rough proximity to San Francisco, that San Jose presbytery must be a regular shoo-in for "yes" votes on equality. The reality, of course, is that the presbytery extends WAY down south beyond San Jose, presumably adding plenty of what we might call "non-San Francisco demographic territory" along the way.

This year there were a few interesting wrinkles in the San Jose Presbytery 08-B voting process. As is often the case, the presbytery scheduled a "let's dialogue about this overture" event, which in past years was often held as part of the presbytery meeting at which the vote was taking. This year, however, the dialogue event was held a month prior to the vote, as a single-subject optional Saturday event which was not a presbytery meeting. The result was the usual for these sorts of non-mandatory events: 08-B supporters showed up in droves ready to dialogue and advocate for equality, and the anti-LGBT presbyterians stayed home. Perhaps others might like to take this as an object lesson in how NOT to conduct a discussion about LGBT equality issues. There's been a lot of naive conflict-resolution fluff in the PCUSA over at least the past 10 years which has fabricated a narrative something like this: "the problem is that LIBERALS and CONSERVATIVES disagree with each other, and all we need to do to resolve this problem is get them to SIT DOWN and TALK to each other. We SENSIBLE MODERATES, who are the ones who actually have our wits about us, will help them to REASON out their differences and reach a COMPROMISE, thus solving the problem." This false narrative ignores the real source of the problem, which is the prejudice (and prejudice, by definition, is not grounded in reason) that needs to be exorcised from the denomination. It ignores the fact that you don't compromise on core principles (q.v. Gandhi), and human equality is a Jesus-grounded core principle. The narrative also ignores the fact that the anti-LGBT faction of the denomination has a long tradition of filing church lawsuits against any LGBT person who dares to come out at these sorts of meetings. We might refer to that as the "bring an assault rifle to the negotiating table" school of regressive politics.

The other "interesting" development with the San Jose presbytery voting was the equalization rule applied to the Yes and No speakers prior to the vote at the meeting. The original speaking structure, agreed to in advance, was to cap the number of "yes" and the number of "no" speakers at 12 each, for a total of 24 speakers maximum. However at the actual presbytery meeting, the anti-08B side couldn't muster 12 speakers -- they could only come up with about 8 people willing to speak against. (I don't have this precise number, however the point of this anecdote holds regardless.) The yes-on-08B team was then forced to REDUCE its speaker count down from 12 speakers to a smaller matching number, in the interests of "fairness". Frankly, that process doesn't meet with my concept of "fair" -- it seems to me that if one side can't get its act together enough to assemble 12 speakers, then they should speak with the people they've got, and the team that did have its act together gets to play with a full team of 12.

So at the end of the day, to get back to the actual vote count, we end up with a 2% anti-LGBT shift, taking us down to a nailbiter 84 yes, 81 no vote. We any luck, we in the More Light contingent can draw the line in the sand at this point, since another 2% anti-LGBT shift will of course flip the presbytery into the "no" category. Such a yes-to-no flip would fundamentally be pretty stupid, since despite recent anti-marriage ballot measures in California, the state as a whole is shifting pro-LGBT.


Atlantic Korean-American
2001-2 01-A: 0 yes, 32 no --> 0% YES
2009 08-B: 0 yes, 18 no --> 0% YES

Here's one of the several non-geographic Korean presbyteries doing its thing. These presbyteries pretty much always vote close to 100% anti-equality, so this vote is no surprise, though it is somewhat interesting to see that this was apparently a presbytery meeting with only 18 attendees.

Northern NY
2001-2 01-A: 42 yes, 19 no --> 68.9% YES
2009 08-B: Voice vote "yes"

Northern New York gets a "neutral" due to the voice vote, which means that we can't do any statistical comparisons. This is a "safe yes" presbytery, so there are no concerns here.

South Louisiana
2001-2 01-A: 51 yes, 71 no --> 41.8% YES
2009 08-B: 42 yes, 55 no --> 43.3% YES (+1.5%)

South Louisiana is an interesting problem in categorization. There was a team of people working very hard to try to get this presbytery to flip to "yes", so they might call this one "annoying" or "painful". On the other hand, the vote did shift +1.5% pro-LGBT, so maybe I should list it as "slightly positive". Here I decided to split the difference and let these two lines of thinking cancel each other out, so I've listed South Louisiana as "neutral". Every percentage point in the pro-LGBT direction moves us that much closer to flipping the presbytery to pro-equality in the future.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekly 08-B wrapup, March 23-29

Here's an 08-B vote wrapup for the week ending March 29 that includes all of the presbytery votes that I know about, March 23-29.


Yes votes: 11
No votes: 2
No-to-yes flips: 2 out of a target 2
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 8 out of 8
Previous "no action" presbyteries converted to "yes": 1

Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 10
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality 2

Nasty surprises: 0
Amazingly positive surprises (unexpected flips): 0
Annoyances: 1 (Geneva)

Bruce's rating for the week: "Close to perfect"

All of those past weeks of anti-LGBT presbyteries voting early and pro-LGBT presbyteries voting late are finally starting to equalize themselves, since of course eventually every presbytery needs to vote. The result is that this week we saw a large number of "likely yes" presbyteries vote, with all presbyteries that voted for equality in 2001-2 again voting for equality in 2009. The "anti-08B vote skew", i.e. the deceptively high presbytery vote count margin against 08-B, has dropped from 15 down to 6. So there's still a skew, it's just not as high right now.

This week was about as close as you can get to perfect execution for the More Light / equality movement. The two presbyteries that had a shot at flipping "no" to "yes" did in fact flip, the 8 presbyteries that we needed to hold at "yes" did hold, there were no yes-to-no flips, and the wildcard of Western New York presbytery, which took "no action" in 2001-2, came in at a "yes" vote. About the only thing I can flag this week as an issue of concern was some backsliding in Geneva presbytery -- see the numbers below.

I should probably again go through my "hope versus realism" discussion, since in this past week I again saw a post on a public More Light list from somebody who appeared to believe that 08-B is likely to pass. Naturally anything is possible until somebody gets 87 votes, however as I did last week, let's take a look at the updated numbers:

-- Those who oppose 08-B need 6 more presbytery "no" votes to defeat it.

-- There are 7 presbyteries still to vote in what I call the "likely no" category, which means that they voted with less than 40% support for equality in 2001-2. Most of these are rock-solid high-guarantee "no" votes, barring the sudden Rapture of all the "no" voters up into the sky where they're unlikely to be able to make the presbytery meeting... however since we don't have the Rapture in reformed theology, I'm pretty much going to count that scenario out.

-- There are 2 additional previous "voice vote no" presbyteries which haven't voted yet and are similarly very likely to vote "no" this year: Noroeste and Soroeste.

So you can do the math and pretty much determine the likely yes-to-no outcome for 08-B at this point. However as I did last week, I'd really like to stress that what matters is the PROGRESS TOWARDS THE GOAL -- it's important to make as much progress as possible this year, which means that every presbytery matters regardless of whether "yes" or "no" happens to have amassed 87 presbytery votes at the time. The More Light movement remains on target to meet the suggested goals that I proposed a week ago: at least 30 presbyteries flipped no-to-yes; total "no" votes kept under 100; zero yes-to-no flips; a 3:1 ratio of pro-equality vote shifts compared to anti-equality vote shifts; and a human vote count as close to 50-50 as possible.

Next I'll rapidly go through the individual vote numbers, categorized in the usual way as annoying, neutral, slightly positive, and successes.


2001-2 01-A: 65 yes, 35 no --> 65.0% YES
2009 08-B: 44 yes, 29 no --> 60.3% YES (-4.7%)

Geneva gets my one "annoying" label of the week due to the nearly 5% anti-equality shift from this "safe YES" presbytery. That steep drop from 65 "yes" voters in 2001-2 to 44 "yes" voters in 2009 doesn't look good. My hope is that this was simply due to turnout or get-out-the-vote issues this year. We need to take this example as an important warning to not get complacent in any presbytery. Your presbytery might traditionally vote pro-equality, but if you don't show up to vote, you could end up with a very nasty surprise.


2001-2 01-A: Voice vote "no"
2009 08-B: 21 yes, 92 no --> 18.6% YES

Beaver-Butler joins the ranks of those previous voice-vote-no presbyteries which this year counted the vote, and puts an initial stake in the ground at nearly 20% pro-equality support. Special thanks to the 21 equality supporters in Beaver-Butler, and here's to increasing your numbers over time!

2001-2 01-A: 59 yes, 42 no --> 58.4% YES
2009 08-B: 54 yes, 42 no --> 56.3% YES (-2.2%)

Boston gets a "neutral" ranking from me due to the perhaps statistically insignificant downward slide in equality support. Again this isn't a trend that we want to see continue anywhere, where the "yes" votes lose 5 votes while the "no" vote count stays constant.


2001-2 01-A: 22 yes, 93 no --> 19% YES
2009 08-B: 30 yes, 89 no --> 25% YES (+6%)

Charleston-Atlantic, one of our "extremely likely no" presbyteries, as expected does come in with a "no" vote, but shifts 6% pro-equality, with supporters increasing their vote turnout by about 40% while the "no" voters lost votes compared to 2001-2.


I wasn't entirely sure where to put all the presbyteries that previously voted "yes" and held that vote as a "yes" on 08-B -- do we call those "slightly positive" or a complete "success"? However since so many of the percentage vote shifts are comparably high (7% or above pro-equality shift), I've listed them here. First, however, are our one "no action to YES" shift and our two no-to-yes flips.

Western New York
2001-2 01-A: "No action" --> implicit "no" vote
2009 08-B: 66 yes, 48 no --> 57.9% YES

Western New York to me was a wildcard -- I had no idea how it might vote this year due to the "no action" vote in 2001-2. It turns out that historically, this presbytery is fairly pro-equality, however it's great to see that come out in a solid "yes" vote at 58% pro-equality support this year.

2001-2 01-A: 176 yes, 221 no --> 44% YES
2009 08-B: 152 yes, 139 no --> 52% YES (+8%)

Philadelphia was a "target to flip" presbytery, and I was concerned about how it would play out since it can be difficult to shift from the low-40% range up to a "yes" vote, but More Light supporters there won the day, coming in a with a full 8% pro-LGBT shift and flipping this presbytery from "no" to "yes". Very nicely done.

2001-2 01-A: 109 yes, 154 no --> 41.4% YES
2009 08-B: 203 yes, 182 no --> 52.7% YES (+11.3%)

Grace Presbytery shows us how it's done, coming out of "long shot to flip" territory at a previous 41% level of pro-equality support to jump up by 11% and flip from "no" to "yes". Take a look at the total "yes" vote counts -- it went from 109 votes in 2001-2 to 203 votes this year. It takes a lot of groundwork to do that kind of vote doubling at vote counts of over 100. Very nice job in Grace presbytery this year.

The next 6 presbyteries were all "HOLD" presbyteries, meaning that they had previously voted "yes" on equality and the hope would be that they'd again vote "yes". With the exception of Elizabeth, all of them were also what I'd consider "safe YES" presbyteries, since their previous level of equality support was 60% or above. (However see my previous warnings about complacency.)

What's striking about all 6 of these presbyteries is the strong pro-equality shift, in most cases significantly above my rule of thumb of "1% per year". Here we see pro-LGBT vote shifts ranging from 7.6% in Western Reserve on up to a huge 18% pro-LGBT shift in Genesee Valley, although that appears to be primarily because the "no" vote completely collapsed. Many thanks to everybody in these presbyteries who worked to pass 08-B this year -- I'm sure that the national MLP board and staff feel good knowing that to a large extent, presbyteries considered to be "safe YES" usually do stay that way, so that MLP is able to put more resources into helping to move hearts, minds, and votes in swing and "seeking a miracle" presbyteries.

Western Reserve
2001-2 01-A: 131 yes, 73 no --> 64.2% YES
2009 08-B: 107 yes, 42 no --> 71.8% YES (+7.6%)

New York City
2001-2 01-A: 61 yes, 31 no --> 66% YES
2009 08-B: 76 yes, 25 no --> 75% YES (+9%)

2001-2 01-A: 80 yes, 68 no --> 54% YES
2009 08-B: 91 yes, 53 no --> 63% YES (+9%)

Susquehanna Valley
2001-2 01-A: 43 yes, 27 no --> 61.4% YES
2009 08-B: 59 yes, 23 no --> 72.0% YES (+10.6%)

2001-2 01-A: 115 yes, 69 no --> 62.5% YES
2009 08-B: 114 yes, 40 no --> 74% YES (+11.5%)

Genesee Valley
2001-2 01-A: 98 yes, 62 no --> 61.3% YES
2009 08-B: 93 yes, 24 no --> 79.5% YES (+18.2%)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekly vote wrapup - March 16-22

Here's an 08-B vote wrapup for the week ending March 15 that includes all of the presbytery votes that I know about, March 16-22.


Yes votes: 5
No votes: 5
No-to-yes flips: 3 out of a target 3 (plus Mackinac as a 4th bonus flip)
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 1

Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 8
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality 2

Nasty surprises: 0
Amazingly positive surprises (unexpected flips): 1 (Mackinac)
Annoyances: 2 (Grand Canyon, Northumberland)

Bruce's rating for the week: "Better than expectations"

We saw 10 new presbytery votes come in over the past week. Perhaps the best way to encapsulate this week is to point out that in 2001-2, these presbyteries voted 9-1 against equality, but this year they split 5 yes, 5 no. This week we saw 3 "target yes flips" all successfully shift to "yes" votes, plus Mackinac came in as a long shot and shifted strongly pro-LGBT to similarly flip to "yes".

We continue to see a trend of anti-LGBT presbyteries voting earlier than average, and pro-LGBT presbyteries voting later than average, which skews the total presbytery vote count by 15 votes towards the "no" side as of today. So for example, right now 90% of the "likely no" presbyteries have already voted, even though overall presbytery voting is only 75% complete.

I'm occasionally asked about the hope-vs-realism tradeoff re whether 08-B can pass this year. The reality, of course, is that it's always been a steep cliff to climb from day one: pro-equality Presbyterians need to flip 41 presbyteries from "no" to "yes" to pass 08-B. Given that a large number of presbyteries began at the rather tepid equality support level of 35% or less, flipping 41 presbyteries is extremely difficult. So to give the dose of reality for this week, let's point out the relevant numbers:

-- Those who oppose 08-B need 8 more presbytery "no" votes to defeat it.

-- There are 8 presbyteries still to vote in what I call the "likely no" category, which means that they voted with less than 40% support for equality in 2001-2.

-- There are 3 additional previous "voice vote no" presbyteries which haven't voted yet and are similarly very likely to vote "no" this year: Noroeste, Soroeste, and Beaver-Butler

-- Swing presbyteries have been flipping "no" to "yes" at about a 60% overall rate, not 100%. (This past week was somewhat unusual).

So based on those numbers, you should pretty much be able to draw your own conclusion. There's certainly a statistical possibility of anything happening, and we've definitely had some cases where wild miraculous things have happened, however the reality is that, as we might say, "the odds aren't in our favor".

However, the other part of that reality is that it's crucial to scale as far up the cliff as we can, simply to demonstrate clearly that this is a marathon we know we're going to complete. So far, in terms of distance gained in the struggle, it's been almost total victory for equality and a complete rout for the other side. 23 presbyteries flipped pro-equality so far and ZERO flipped the other direction -- it's amazing. Those aren't numbers you want to see if you support the status quo.

So here are some targets and goals to watch for, when the dust settles:

-- I want to see us flip at least 30 presbyteries total from "no" to "yes". We're at 23 today, we can get 7 more. This is very doable.

-- Stretch goal: I want to see us flip at least 34 presbyteries. If we can do this and hold all previous "yes" votes, that should put us at 80 total presbytery "yes" votes, pushing us out of the 70's and into the 80's on the pro-equality vote count.

-- I want to see the "no" vote count held under 100, so that the vote totals don't have that lopsided "over 100 versus some number less than 100" look to them. This should be a very achievable goal -- the anti-equality movement is going to run out of "easy no" votes long before they reach 100.

-- I want to see ZERO presbyteries flip from "yes" to "no". We had one very close call this week, but so far we've managed to keep a perfect record here. This is something of a stretch goal, since you never know what can happen during a presbytery vote.

-- I want to see the ratio of "presbyteries shifting pro-equality" to "presbyteries shifting anti-equality" to continue to hold at over 3 to 1. This is very doable.

-- I want to see the total individual vote count (the human votes) for 08-B as close to 50% as possible. This is the concept of the human "popular vote" as compared to the "electoral vote" of the presbyteries. Right now this "popular vote" percentage is at 47%, but it would be great to see it shift a point or two closer to 50%. We might even be able to break above 50% in the popular vote, thus "winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote", although that's a fairly tough stretch goal at this point.

With that rather wordy set of suggested objectives out of the way, let's head into the presbytery-by-presbytery vote breakdown, categorized in the usual way as annoying, neutral, slightly positive, and successes.


Grand Canyon
2001-2 01-A: 122 yes, 96 no --> 56% YES
2009 08-B: 98 yes, 93 no --> 51% YES (-5%)

Grand Canyon was the nailbiter of the week, a previous "yes" presbytery that shifted 5% ANTI-equality and almost flipped from yes to no. This vote should demonstrate that we can't take anything for granted. This presbytery will need some extra love and attention over the next while so that support for equality there continues to grow... and that the supporters attend the presbytery meeting to vote, please.

2001-2 01-A: 28 yes, 51 no --> 35.4% YES
2009 08-B: 20 yes, 58 no --> 25.6% YES (-9.8%)

Northumberland wasn't likely to shift from "no" to "yes", and it didn't, but it makes the "annoying" category this week due to its nearly 10% anti-equality vote shift. Given the small turnout numbers, percentage swings like this can be common. However in general, most of the presbyteries that started at 30%-or-higher levels of support have increased their support for equality, so it's annoying to see the shift down to under 30% this year.


2001-2 01-A: 109 yes, 188 no --> 36.7% YES
2009 08-B: 91 yes, 155 no --> 37.0% YES (+0.3%)

Seattle presbytery has a history of heavy anti-LGBT mobilization for vote turnout at presbytery meetings, and they did the usual this year, holding Seattle to a statistically insignificant 0.3% pro-equality increase. The anti-equality forces there have also learned to use the "stifle the Spirit" tactic that I wrote about a few weeks ago as a way of suppressing potential "yes" swing votes. A note from an attendee present at the Seattle presbytery meeting mentions that:

"Someone in authority insisted last night that none of the stoles
that women so diligently knitted could be passed out to supporting
members at Presbytery."

Perhaps the appropriate response to the coward in Seattle presbytery who gave that order is "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out." I double-dog dare Seattle presbytery to invite me the next time you're holding a vote on an LGBT-equality overture. I'll be happy to drive up with a car full of rainbow stoles and hand them out until you throw me out. I'm sure that will make you look SO much better to the broader Seattle and University of Washington communities. Did we mention that the University of Washington prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the city of Seattle requires its contractors to provide equal benefits for both spouses and domestic partners? It might be nice if local churches could lead the way on human equality instead of telling supporters to Shut Up.


Here we have our usual lineup of presbyteries that didn't vote "yes", but did shift significantly pro-equality. All of these are good news.

2001-2 01-A: Voice vote "no"
2009 08-B: 29 yes, 41 no --> 41% YES

Technically it's not possible to tell which direction this vote is shifting, but realistically when a "voice vote no" presbytery suddenly comes in at 41% YES support, that's huge. It's really nice to see this initial stake put in the ground at 41% rather than something like, say, 25% pro-equality support.

2001-2 01-A: 32 yes, 110 no --> 22.5% YES
2009 08-B: 44 yes, 98 no --> 31% YES (+8.5%)

2001-2 01-A: 33 yes, 85 no --> 28% YES
2009 08-B: 46 yes, 75 no --> 38% YES (+10%)

Both Olympia and Redstone come in with strong shifts from the 20's into the 30's with their pro-equality support. A few more iterations and they'll be voting yes. :-) The Spirit won't give you up, friends.


These are all fun, it's the four no-to-yes flips this week.

West Jersey
2001-2 01-A: 80 yes, 83 no --> 49.1% YES
2009 08-B: 88 yes, 80 no --> 52.4% YES (+3.3%)

West Jersey was in the category of "should be easy flip", and thankfully it did start out in the easy category, since a 3% pro-equality support shift isn't very much in the scheme of things. Thankfully, 3% was enough. Now let's see if we can push that up to the high 50's.

West Virginia
2001-2 01-A: 92 yes, 114 no --> 44.7% YES
2009 08-B: 93 yes, 56 no --> 62.4% YES (+17.8%)

West Virginia was another "target to flip" presbytery, and here we got a strong pro-equality shift, mostly due to a 50% collapse in the anti-equality vote turnout compared to 2001-2 (114 votes dropped down to 56 votes). It would be great to also see the pro-equality vote count climb a bit more than 1 vote. However in general, presbytery turnouts are declining along with the decline in size of the PCUSA, so even holding steady at a previous vote count is a success.

2001-2 01-A: 34 yes, 40 no --> 46% YES
2009 08-B: 42 yes, 8 no --> 84% YES (+38%)

Newark was something of a stunner, not in the sense that it flipped "no" to "yes", but in the sense that it shifted so heavily. I had to ask for confirmation when that 42-8 vote count was emailed to me. Newark now holds the high-water mark for "largest pro-equality percentage vote shift" within presbyteries that took an official counted vote on 08-B. With that "no" vote count shifting from 40 down to 8 voters, it looks like the anti-equality voters pretty much stayed home.

2001-2 01-A: 25 yes, 39 no --> 39% YES
2009 08-B: 44 yes, 32 no --> 58% YES (+19%)

We round out the wrapup here with our "amazingly positive surprise" for the week, with Mackinac coming from a 39% level of previous pro-equality support to shift nearly 20% into a strong "yes" vote, and a significant increase in the total number of "yes" voters as well. Great job to everybody in Mackinac presbytery working for equality.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekly 08-B voting wrapup

Here's an 08-B vote wrapup for the week ending March 15 that includes all of the presbytery votes that I know about, March 8-15.

There seems to be a general correlation between the total "no" vote count and the anxiety level of the More Light community, however my thought would be that people should in general take this round of voting like any other: as an opportunity to win hearts and minds for equality. This isn't the first such opportunity to have a conversation, and it won't be the last. If 08-B doesn't pass this time around, it will pass eventually. And if 08-B does pass this time around, the Presbyterian equality movement isn't going anywhere -- there will be more conversations to have over more years, about marriage equality, about adding non-discrimination language to the Book of Order, about diversity/inclusion/empowerment, and so on.


Yes votes: 7
No votes: 8
No-to-yes flips: 1 out of a target 1
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 5

Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 11
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality 3 (of which 2 are statistical noise)

Nasty surprises: 0
Amazingly positive surprises (unexpected flips): 1 (Transylvania)
Annoyances: 2 (Nevada, Pittsburgh)

This was a good week -- we held all presbyteries that previously voted pro-equality, we flipped one presbytery (Eastminster) that was a likely flip, plus an additional presbytery (Transylvania) flipped that I wouldn't have expected. We also shifted from unanimous-no to not-unanimous-no in Hanmi, a transition that we should call out and celebrate.

As I mentioned in a previous post (March 14), the current presbytery vote counts are heavily skewed towards "no" due to early voting by anti-LGBT presbyteries and late voting by pro-LGBT presbyteries. We might start to see this skew diminish a bit over the next few weeks, simply because we're starting to run out of "likely no" presbyteries. However there are still over a dozen of them, so we should expect to see plenty of additional "no" votes over time.

Now here are the presbytery vote counts and percentages, for those who like to dive into the numbers. I've got these categorized as annoyances, neutral, slightly positive, and successes, since those categories have been working OK for me so far.


2001-2 01-A: 137 yes, 277 no --> 33.1% YES
2009 08-B: 105 yes, 206 no --> 33.8% YES (+0.7%)

I wouldn't have expected Pittsburgh to vote in favor of 08-B, and they didn't, so they're only in the "annoyance" category because of the statistically insignificant pro-equality shift. We've seen many other presbyteries in the 30% pro-equality support range shift quite a lot towards equality, so in my ideal world I would have liked to have seen a 7 or 8% pro-LGBT shift.

2001-2 01-A: 20 yes, 41 no --> 32.8% YES
2009 08-B: 13 yes, 59 no --> 18.1% YES (-14.7%)

Nevada was the only presbytery in this week's wrapup to have a significant anti-equality shift. Given the low total vote count, it's easy to have this sort of large percentage shift, however we really should have been able to manage at least something in the high 30% range for 08-B support. However the presbytery isn't one that I would have expected to vote "yes", so there's not an expected presbytery "yes" vote here that was lost.


Here in the "neutral" category are two safe-yes presbyteries that had statistically insignificant anti-equality shifts, plus San Juan which again chose to take a voice "no" vote, as they did in 2001-2. It's not possible to determine which way San Juan presbytery is trending if they keep taking voice votes.

Northern New England
2001-2 01-A: 75 yes, 40 no --> 65.2% YES
2009 08-B: 56 yes, 30 no --> 65.1% YES (-0.1%)

New Brunswick
2001-2 01-A: 113 yes, 50 no --> 69.3% YES
2009 08-B: 95 yes, 44 no --> 68.3% YES (-1%)

San Juan
2001-2 01-A: voice - no
2009 08-B: voice - no


Here in the "slightly positive" section we have a mixture of presbyteries that voted "no" but had pro-equality voting trends, and of presbyteries that held at "yes".

2001-2 01-A: 0 yes, 70 no --> 0% YES
2009 08-B: 1 yes, 30 no --> 3.2% YES (+3.2%)

Congratulations to Hanmi for shifting out of the "unanimous no" category, and special thanks to the single unknown voter who made this possible. Perhaps this is the beginning of a longer-term pro-equality trend in Hanmi presbytery. The moment that a deliberative body shifts from "all of the same mind" to "some people have a different opinion", it opens up new opportunities for conversations.

San Gabriel
2001-2 01-A: 97 yes, 181 no --> 35% YES
2009 08-B: 79 yes, 136 no --> 37% YES (+2%)

Perhaps I should list San Gabriel under the "annoyances" section since it's still a rather small percentage pro-equality shift, but I figure I'll run with it and call it a "slight positive".

2001-2 01-A: 38 yes, 63 no --> 37.6% YES
2009 08-B: 39 yes, 48 no --> 44.8% YES (+7.2%)

Providence now moves out of "likely no" into the "target to flip" category.

Twin Cities
2001-2 01-A: 197 yes, 112 no --> 64% YES
2009 08-B: 138 yes, 54 no --> 72% YES (+8%)

Lake Michigan
2001-2 01-A: 92 yes, 59 no --> 61% YES
2009 08-B: 94 yes, 42 no --> 69% YES (+8%)

Both Twin Cities and Lake Michigan hold at safe-for-equality status and increase their yes votes by 8%. Nicely done.

Muskingum Valley
2001-2 01-A: 51 yes, 117 no --> 30.4% YES
2009 08-B: 44 yes, 70 no --> 38.6% YES (+8.2%)

Muskingum Valley shows us how presbyteries in the low-30% support range can shift more than 1% (Pittsburgh) or 2% (San Gabriel).

2001-2 01-A: 179 yes, 112 no --> 61.5% YES
2009 08-B: 150 yes, 48 no --> 75.8% YES (+14.2%)

Cascades joins the ranks of numerous pro-equality presbyteries in demonstrating that you can keep moving up in support, sometimes significantly.


2001-2 01-A: 18 yes, 94 no --> 16% YES
2009 08-B: 42 yes, 53 no --> 44% YES (+28%)

Riverside is another example of how strong anti-equality presbyteries can make big pro-equality shifts partly because there's a long distance to go. 28% is a huge shift and, amazingly, moves Riverside from "extremely LGBT-hostile" into "target to flip". The anti-gay contingent of the PCUSA can't be very happy about this particular vote.

2001-2 01-A: 54 yes, 65 no --> 45.4% YES
2009 08-B: 60 yes, 39 no --> 60.6% YES (+15.2%)

Eastminster was a candidate to flip from "no" to "yes" this year, and it did, strongly so with a 15% shift. This is excellent news.

2001-2 01-A: 50 yes, 80 no --> 37.6% YES
2009 08-B: 83 yes, 61 no --> 57.6% YES (+20%)

And rounding out the week in review we have our "amazingly positive surprise" for the week in Transylvania, starting from a high-30% level of pro-equality support and shifting a full 20% to become an unexpected no-to-yes flip. The Transylvania vote totals of 2009 are almost the reverse of the vote count for 2001-2. Many thanks to all of the LGBT equality supporters and voters in Transylvania -- this was a particularly nice piece of news to hear during the past week.