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How Prop8TrialTracker.com changed my life

P8TT fundraising

This post is part of P8TT’s annual fundraising drive. Please become a Sustaining Member so we can keep this community together to fight the battles ahead (and to enter for a chance to win two tickets to the new “8” play premiere with an all-star cast in Los Angeles!). You can chip in here so P8TT can keep going with a sustainable source of funding.

By Rick Jacobs

Just over two years ago, our small but intrepid Courage staff kept pushing for a way to bring a trial into the lives of activists and vice versa.  It’s a tough thing to do.  The LGBT activist community had just finished a turbulent year in which the newly energized and enlarged base fought over when and how to return to the ballot to win back our dignity and equality.  A trial by design does not involve the public, is not meant for “lobbying” and certainly has no features of a campaign.

Then a few days before the Prop. 8 Trial, Judge Walker asked for public comment on whether to televise the trial. Within 48 hours, nearly 140,000  members of the Courage community stepped up, telling the judge to televise it.  By Monday morning, January 10, Justice Kennedy had put a stay on televising the trial.  I went upstairs to see what was going on.  As we have rehearsed here many times, this online organizing effort was the first ever to appear in a Supreme Court opinion.

We had set up this website called Prop. 8 Trial Tracker. We thought we’d use it to keep track of the crazy going on from Maggie and Ron Prentiss and Andy Pugno (who soon enough would badly lose an election for public office) and the parade of fringe folks who masquerade as moral and a majority. But very quickly, there I was live blogging a trial that would last 12 days.

My colleagues at Courage were as surprised as I that our blogging program developed a large following almost instantly.  For a time, we were the only ones “covering” the trial contemporaneously.  Eventually, others would follow and we were all the richer for it.

We were also surprised and somewhat delighted that Ron Prentiss and Andy Pugno and their website ProtectMarriage.com sued the Courage Campaign for parodying their logo.  Our lawyer are Morrison Foerster wrote one of the best letters ever, comparing their attack on us to the “woof ass” law suit by Big Dog.  You have to read it to enjoy it whether for the first time or again.  And finally, as we would see was their pattern throughout this trial, Pugno, Prentiss & Gallagher could not restrain themselves from carrying onto federal court where the judge again laughed them out the door before they got in.  We’ve seen that evidence, fact and law have never interfered with their relentless pursuit of bigotry and fear.

But the biggest and most pleasant surprise of all was the community that developed here.  For many months, I checked in with you, got to know you and at times met you in person.  You were and are the heart, circulatory system and soul of Prop 8 Trial Tracker.  You were there at every point in the trials and I’m sure you will be as we go forward. You corrected errors, explained obscurities, popularized legal speak. You shared and cried and laughed as we went along.

When Arisha and Anthony headed off on their Magical NOM Tour, you held Brian and Maggie’s feet (particularly Maggie’s feet—remember her bare feet in court?) to the fire.

And now that Adam and Jacob have so brilliantly taken the blog to new heights, you are there literally more than ever.  Our traffic on the Tuesday of the 9th Circuit ruling (Feb 7th) was the highest since 2010.

Adam wanted me to tell you why I love P8TT. It’s because it changed my life.  Sitting through that trial, living the evidence, sharing it all with you made me realize that it’s okay to be me, that’s the ghosts of the past can be vanquished and that the future for those who don’t have to live a hidden life is indeed bright.

I love P8TT because we’re all in this journey together and together we’re winning  the America that we deserve. Please becoming a Sustaining Member so we can go another year.

21 Comments

  • 1. Alan_Eckert  |  February 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    P8TT has drastically changed my life, too! I particularly enjoyed lunch with you and other trial trackers. My life has changed thanks to the amount of knowledge I've gained from interaction with the P8TT site and the people that make up the community.

  • 2. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  February 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I second what Alan just posted. P8TT truly changed my life as well. The amount of knowledge I now have, the joy of having such a rich and diverse new 'family', and most important is a deeper since of self….a greater belief in the justness of our fight.
    I owe a great deal to P8TT

  • 3. Reformed  |  February 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    i wouldnt believe it if I hadnt seen it . . in a "moderated" blog that is . . .

    The commenters on NOMs blog are talking about a 2nd cival war if the Supreme Court rules against them. One in which homosexuals will be "purged". Going on to say that . . . when the civil war starts, it wont be possible to find homosexuals to purge, becuase everyone will deny being gay.

    Am I really seeing this?

  • 4. DaveP  |  February 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Save that page. That stuff can be worth gold, as we have seen from the Prop 8 trial.

  • 5. DaveP  |  February 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Not only can it be used as evidence of animus in court, it can be very compelling when used in pro-equality campaign ads. Just show some of the more vulgar and hateful remarks and tell all the people in the moveable middle – THIS is the group known as 'NOM'. THESE are the people who pay for these anti-marriage equality ballot measures. Does THIS represent YOU? Do you really want to live in a state full of laws created by THESE people?

  • 6. Reformed  |  February 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Well here it is copied and pasted unedited.

    Rick DeLano
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Well, Truth.

    My thoughts are that we have a judiciary profoundly committed, in certain of its constituents, to the end of freedom and self-rule in America, and the imposition instead of a state religion, based on a truly radical notion of individual "rights".

    I expect we will win at SCOTUS but if we were to lose, then there would be no possible basis upon which to expect anything other than a second civil war in this country, and sooner rather than later.

    My thoughts.

  • 7. Reformed  |  February 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    and here . . .

    Randy E King
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
    The reason this will not end in a civil war is because when push comes to shove those that self identify – the only possible way to know – as "homosexual" will simply deny that they ever self identified – the only possible way to know – as "homosexual." – I heard you said you were a homosexual; no I did'nt…

    The same thing happened with the Mason's back in the mid 1800's. When the people started purging their government of Masonic influence it suddenly became impossible to find a Mason.

  • 8. Bob  |  February 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    But it will never be impossible to find a homosexual!!!!!!!!!!! we will never hide again!!!!!!! and don't forget adding to that mix those who are being purged from Iran, and welcomed to America!!!!! they can tell their stories too,, of how they risked their life fled their homeland,, because they would not hide and deny who they truly are!!!!! we will overcome,,,, NOM and their ilk are liars, they are indeed leading the crusade against us,,, but we are standing firm,,,,, NOM is going to go away and hide,,,,, that's the truth,,, of history will tell the story,,,,,

  • 9. Bob  |  February 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    woot woot to Rick,,,, thanks for everything you have done and continue to do,,, I see you need only three more people to meet your goal!!!!! well put,,,,, this community is now officaily out of the closet,,,,

  • 10. Gregory in SLC  |  February 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Ditto to Alan and Mark(and Rick!) We've gone through some amazing times together here @ P8TT! It is comforting to come to a place full of persons who are informed and of the same mindset. I appreciate what Courage Campaign and P8TT does on a very modest budget Here's to another year!

  • 11. Bob  |  February 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    a reply to the hatred spewed on NOM blog,,,,, http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/12/video-sec-hi… old Saggie maggie,,, doesn't stand a chance,,,, she's on the wrong side of history,,, maybe a relisten to this speech will re-inspire us

  • 12. renecito1  |  February 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    U.S. Supreme Court rejects NOM appeal over Maine campaign finance disclosure law
    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2012/02/u-s-supreme-co

  • 13. Sheryl_Carver  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:24 am

    IANAL, but I think screen shots are better than copy & paste – anyone can edit the latter, while it would be very difficult (I think) to modify a screen shot without leaving evidence that it was modified. If you have a Mac, I can tell you how to do take a picture of the whole screen or just a portion of it. If you are on Windows, someone else will have to help.

  • 14. Kate  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Download and use "snipping tool" on Windows. It makes it VERY easy at last to get a screen shot or any portion thereof.

  • 15. Sheryl_Carver  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Thanks for the Windows instructions, Kate!

    There are a variety of ways to do this on a Mac. For it to be used as evidence, you probably need to be sure the web address & the date are included in the shot, so either get a shot of the entire screen or a portion that shows the web address, the date, & the comment or other data that you want to preserve..
    http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/screencapturemac

  • 16. chiefscribe  |  February 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Gill vs. OPM oral argument scheduled for April 4th in the First Circuit. https://www.glad.org/doma/documents/

  • 17. Straight Dave  |  February 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

    On Windows, this simplest way for me is Alt+PrintScreen (hold Alt key down while then pressing PrintScreen). This copies an image of the currently active window, which can then be pasted into virtually any MS Office app (Word, PowerPoint, etc) and many email apps.

  • 18. Bob Barnes  |  February 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

    This is the infamous Rick Delano, of somewhere near Los Angeles, CA. Deeply Catholic, deeply troubled. This man does not mince words, he hates gays. And he drags his son into this sphere of hate, his son Wyn that wants to be an actor.

    Rick in now know for his astrophysics studies where Galileo was wrong, the sun revolves around the earth. Read more here:
    http://galileowaswrong.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-g

  • 19. Kate  |  February 28, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The NOM faithful should be shown who he is. Surely even THEY would find him out of touch with reality after that???? Unfortunately, I can't post on the NOMblog or I'd put it out there for all to see.

  • 20. Deeelaaach  |  February 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I'll add to Straight Dave's post. Alt-PrintScreen will take a screen shot of the active window, and Shift-PrintScreen will take a pic of everything on your screen.

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