February 27, 2012
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.