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Archives – February, 2012

Where we’ve come in two years

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 Shannon Minter and Chris Stoll, National Center for Lesbian Rights

When Ted Olson and David Boies filed the Perry case almost 3 years ago, everyone knew it would be big news. What we could never have predicted was how deeply engaged our entire community would get as we follow all the twists and turns of the case. Prop8TrialTracker.com made that possible.

As the case progressed, we’ve been thrilled to share with P8TT readers our thoughts and insights based on our experience as long-time participants in the legal fight for LGBT equality. We’ve done live Q&A forums with P8TT readers following major rulings in the case and shared our analysis and predictions before important hearings. Every time we’ve appeared on the site, we’ve been deeply impressed at the passion of this community and the depth of knowledge represented here.

But running a site like this costs money. We think it’s well worth pitching in a few bucks to make sure this site stays up, because P8TT is such a unique way for people in our movement to interact at a deep level with the legal battles that are shaping our community’s future.

We are truly at a turning point in the history of the fight for LGBT equality. Case by case and state by state, the barriers to full equality are falling. Just in the past year, we have seen the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the passage of full marriage equality in New York, Washington State and Maryland, and the Ninth Circuit’s resounding defense of fairness and inclusion in striking down Prop 8. With your continued commitment and support, we will soon see the day when LGBT people are treated as full citizens, and most people scratch their heads wondering why that wasn’t always true.

We are so grateful to the Courage Campaign for its fearless leadership and especially for providing the community with a great way to stay informed about the latest legal developments through P8TT, and we are grateful to you for making this community what it is. Let’s be sure they have the resources to keep providing this invaluable service!

1 Comment February 24, 2012

Marriage equality ballot initiative approved in Maine

By Jacob Combs

It’s official: marriage is going to be on the ballot this November in Maine.  Bloomberg reports:

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers Jr. verified more than 85,000 of the 105,000 signatures submitted last month, said Barbara Redmond, his deputy secretary. About 57,000 names were required, according to EqualityMaine, the Portland-based gay- rights group leading the coalition that collected them.

“Same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons other couples want to marry: because they love each other and want to spend their lives together,” Betsy Smith, EqualityMaine’s executive director, said in a statement. “There’s no question that momentum is growing for same-sex marriage in Maine.”

It will be the second time Mainers confront the issue at the ballot box. In 2009, voters rejected by 53 percent to 47 percent a law permitting gay marriage that was championed by Democratic lawmakers and signed by then-Governor John Baldacci, also a Democrat. In 2010, Republicans won control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s seat for the first time since 1966.

If the measure passed, Maine would become the first state (or one of the first, depending on what happens on election day in other states) to approve marriage equality in a popular vote. Advocates will spend the next nine months educating Maine voters and building momentum on the road to election day.

22 Comments February 24, 2012

Tell the DNC to pony up for 2012 marriage equality initiatives

By Adam Bink

We at Courage Campaign, along with Grindr for Equality, launched this campaign yesterday. Many remember how the Democratic National Committee chipped in $25,000 to fight Prop 8 in 2008. Then how the DNC didn’t lift a finger to help No on 1 in Maine in 2009, instead asking Mainers to call New Jersey voters to get out the vote for Gov. Corzine.

This year, we hope it’s a return to 2008 form. We face constitutional amendments that discriminate in Minnesota and North Carolina. We face a referendum on marriage in Maine and likely ones in Washington State and yes, even Maryland after the governor signs the bill. That’s five states and with the President and hundreds of members of Congress and gubernatorial candidates out there raising money, that means donors are often tapped out when it comes to equality that’s where the DNC comes in.

In the month of January alone, the DNC jointly raised $29.1 million with the Obama campaign. If it were to even chip in the same amount as it did to defeat Prop 8 ($25,000) to each campaign in each state, that would total $125,000 or just 0.4% of its fundraising total in the month of January alone. The Advocate notes how campaign managers like Jeremy Kennedy of the No on Amendment 1 campaign in North Carolina have put in a request for help. These campaigns need a ton of support to get off the ground and North Carolina votes on May 8. Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade asked DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (herself a supporter of marriage equality and repealing DOMA) about the issue, and she replied that she’d certainly consider it. So the precedent, and the opportunity, are there.

What we need is your support. Sign our petition here, and then share with friends to show the DNC we need help to support equality and oppose discrimination.

Update: More from Huffington Post.

4 Comments February 24, 2012

Three months in: many victories in 2012 so far, many more to come

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 Jacob Combs

I have to say that it comes as a surprise to me that I just marked my third month of writing for Prop8TrialTracker.com earlier this month. I say that because so much has happened since I came on as P8TT’s writing intern, and I know that if we can accomplish that much in three months, the rest of the year (and beyond!) will certainly hold surprises and victories for us. I’ve been a part of the P8TT community, though, from the beginning: as I mentioned in my very first post for the site, I got hooked on P8TT during the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial with Judge Vaughn Walker. In the two years that have passed since then, I’ve been excited to watch (and proud to contribute to) P8TT’s transformation into a leading site for the fight for marriage equality, and a place for our community to come together and share our ideas, hopes and disappointments.

It’s exhilarating to be writing this in the week following our incredible victory in the 9th Circuit. I think there are two big takeaways from this month’s decision. First, marriage equality has some serious momentum right now, and each victory we have will build the foundation for others to come after. Second, we have a lot of work to do to make sure that we keep the wins coming.

Prop8TrialTracker.com is going to be a part of making sure that happens. As I hope we demonstrated last week, P8TT is one of the leading sites when it comes to in-depth coverage and analysis of the Prop 8 trial, and we are committed to covering the trial until the end, even if that is several years to come. In the meantime, though, we are proud to be part of a much larger conversation on marriage equality taking place in the country. Our coverage of Washington State’s and Maryland’s passage of marriage equality is just one way that we’re seeking to broaden our horizons: we also plan to cover the many DOMA trials making their way through the federal courts this year.

But on a more personal note, I want to share what this site really means to me. I’ve heard people say that gays and lesbians shouldn’t be single-issue voters: that we shouldn’t be so focused on marriage equality, when there’s so much else we have to get done. It’s true that marriage equality is not the only fight that LGBT people should feel passionately about — we need to get ENDA passed, with protections for transgender individuals, and we need to address the many ways that LGBT people can be disadvantaged by our society.

Nevertheless, marriage is a central issue to our lives and, I believe, a watershed opportunity for the greater LGBT cause. I want to get married, someday, in my home state of California, and I will fight to make that happen. And I want every other kid who is gay or lesbian to grow up knowing that one of the most important and transformative choices in his or her life will be recognized, supported and celebrated not just in some other state, but in the place that he or she calls home. When that day comes, I know I will be able to look back, think of P8TT and say, we made a difference. We helped this happen.

2012 is going to be a big year, one which I hope will bring a good deal more great news. I am so proud to be a part of P8TT. Please help us make 2012 a year for equality by chipping in to support P8TT a little each month.

1 Comment February 24, 2012

The Tipping Point

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 AnonyGrl aka Vienna Hagen

Does anybody else think that we have now officially passed the tipping point?  I thought NY was the cusp, and now with Washington, California, New Jersey, Maryland… we are on the “not necessarily easier, but at least gravity and momentum are working in our favor” side of the balance?

This is absolutely not to say we don’t have a fight ahead.  North Carolina is a big issue, and we have to get moving on that.  A lot of states in the middle need to be encouraged to reconsider their current status.  Many of us still live in states where there is not even a glimpse of change on the horizon, but know that just OVER that horizon, hope lies in wait.  Some are struggling along in states that are still entrenched in discrimination on many levels.  And more are moving towards realizing that marriage equality is necessary, and that equal rights means everyone.  The fight in our federal government over DOMA continues to wend its way, and we have to keep that one in our sights.  Prop 8 is not a done deal yet, even with our spectacular wins, there is a long series of court actions to come and we can’t let any of them slide.

Our To-Do-List seems never ending, but it is not nearly as long, nor as hopeless as it was even just a year ago.  I have the great joy of now living in a state where marriage equality is a fact, something that was not true when I joined the P8TT community.  In fact, when I came aboard here, it looked as though New York would be a long time coming to this point.  Getting involved here on P8TT got me moving in New York, and while I know that mine was only a small contribution, I think that every little bit of effort helps, and know that each person here who took the time to write a Senator, call in, express their opinion and be heard helped to tip that balance.  And I thank each of you, and love you all for it.

Even though I live in Albany, if I had not been around the encouragement I got here at P8TT, I think I would not have taken the time to lobby my Senators in person.  I might not have realized the importance of just showing up at their offices, which are a scant ten minute walk from my house, and saying “this matters!”  The Courage Campaign and other organizations like it, grassroots groups that are funded by those of us who love them, are the ones actually getting the work done, getting the word out, and empowering us to go out and do what we do as citizens to make change happen.  They are the fulcrum on which the lever rests, they are the point that makes tipping possible.

And now it is our turn to “tip” them.  A year ago, Adam asked me to write a piece explaining why I thought supporting the Prop 8 Trial Tracker and the Courage Campaign was important.  You can, if you like, read that piece here and I think it all still stands today.  But now it is even more exciting, because today there is so much more indication that we are WINNING this fight.  We have reached the tipping point, and we are winning!  There is still a ton of fight left to go, but we are winning!

Many of you jumped right in and contributed when Adam asked, as you can see from the thermometer to the upper right of this post.  This is absolutely fantastic, and will help the Courage Campaign continue the fine advocacy work they do.  I am asking that if you have not done so, you think about throwing a little tip, or a big one, their way, to help encourage them to continue to encourage us.  Whatever you can manage is fine, every little bit helps.  You can do it anonymously, or shout it out, whatever you choose, just remember that each of us is what makes this whole fight possible, and the combined weight of our care, compassion, zest, enthusiasm, and love is what makes the lever that is equality balance.

27 Comments February 23, 2012

Breaking: Maryland Senate passes marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Tonight, the Maryland Senate debated and passed a bill to bring marriage equality to the state by a vote of 25-22.  The measure passed the House of Delegates earlier this week by a vote of 72-67.  Last year, the bill passed the state Senate by a margin of 25-21, but was withdrawn from the floor of the House of Delegates as support evaporated at the last minute.

The bill will now head to the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s, who supports it.  Opponents of marriage equality in the state have promised to collect signatures to put the issue up for a voter referendum in November.  Maryland would be the fifth state to have a ballot question on marriage equality this year, provided opponents of Washington state’s recently passed marriage vote succeed in their signature collection effort.

46 Comments February 23, 2012

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