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Filed under: P8TT fundraising

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

Prop8TrialTracker needs your help again

This post kicks off 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 Adam Bink

Friends: Once a year, we have to ask for support from you to help meet expenses here at P8TT. Last year’s successful fundraiser kicked off the first week of March and funded the last year’s worth of coverage and site costs here. That time is just about here again, so we need your help to keep going through the end of the trial.

P8TT has been on the front lines of the Prop 8 trial for two years now. Since we launched to cover the trial in Judge Walker’s courtroom, we have received over 5 million pageviews and now over 150,000 comments. Consider:

  • Together, we covered the Prop 8 trial better than anyone, becoming the #1 Google result for “Prop 8 trial” (as well as the #2, as of today!) as our traffic has exploded during and after the Feb 7th decision on Prop 8 and this week with news of the appeal;
  • We expanded the scope of our coverage to include all of the legal cases on the Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as well as marriage equality happenings in places like Maryland, New York State, and Washington State;
  • We expanded to be one of the leading sites covering and driving action on successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as well as counting votes and driving calls on the successful passage of marriage equality in New York State;
  • We’ve led the way in fighting back against NOM by exposing the fraud, hate and #FAIL that they and their two bus tours embody to the national media and public, landing massive numbers of press hits, including Newsweek;
  • And making significant site improvements over the past year, including bringing on a new writer (Jacob Combs) to expand our coverage of legal cases in particular.

Now, as we enter the next phase, we need your support to keep our lights on.

We are looking for 35 new monthly donors, 35 generous people who come to enjoy the coverage and community here at Prop8TrialTracker.com as often as every day and are willing to chip in a little for that benefit. It’s a specific number because it didn’t just come out of a hat; as someone who organizes action online and has a deep respect for people’s hard-earned money, I am a firm believer in calculating needs and telling people what their contributions what exactly their contributions will go towards. You may remember we raised just over $12,000 in last year’s fundraiser. I am happy to report this year’s needs are far less, in part because we broke through our goal with fundraising for our organizing programs around the Prop 8 trial earlier this month, and so our needs for the P8TT annual fundraiser specifically to pay operating expenses for P8TT are not as great. Therefore, 35 people (or more) giving $10 a month or more will help meet our site obligations until next year’s site fundraiser. It’s as simple as that.

But wait… there’s more! If you become one of those 35 people, you’ll be entered in the drawing for two $500 tickets (a $1,000 value) to see the West Coast premiere of “8,” the new play about the trial from our friends at the American Foundation for Equal Rights, who generously donated two tickets to help support P8TT. The reading is on March 3 in Los Angeles with an all-star cast, including Martin Sheen as Ted Olson, George Clooney as David Boies, John C. Reilly as Judge Walker and Jane Lynch as none other than Maggie Gallagher (not to mention Campbell Brown, Chris Colfer, Kevin Bacon and many others).

Now that I’ve explained what we’ve accomplished and our needs, allow me to explain exactly what your monthly contribution will go towards:

  • First and foremost, we’ve been able to bring on a new writing intern (Jacob Combs). Not only has Jacob allowed me to focus on site improvements and organizing, but he’s expanded the number of posts we’ve been able to do over the past few months from 1-2 per day to 3-4 and sometimes more. More issues get covered, and covered well.

What many of you don’t know is that Jacob has so far gone 100% unpaid for his tremendous work, which can get as high as 20 hours per week and often does, particularly when he helps lead our coverage of major Prop 8 trial events, of which we’ve had, well, many in the past few months. Jacob is one of us — he’s been reading P8TT from the start, and his writing is a labor of love so that we can have the coverage you’ve come to expect (and according to the P8TT user survey, over 90% of you think we’re doing a good job with it), but labors of love can’t always keep the lights on. And so part of your monthly contribution will go to provide Jacob a monthly stipend so he can stay a part of the P8TT team and continue to provide that great coverage.

  • Second, we’ve made a lot of technical improvements since last year’s fundraiser. We migrated to a new site that allows Jacob and I, as well as you, to post videos from sources other than YouTube, such as local NBC broadcasts or the Daily Show, while maintaining the popular comment system. We launched Quick Hits so folks from the community could elevate attention to the great news and commentary you provide. We brought on a full-time technical team at Richir Outreach to manage these improvements as well as fix site bugs, respond to your problems in the comments, etc. All of this was paid for in part by last year’s successful fundraiser, and all of it needs to be maintained on a monthly basis.
  • Lastly, your money will go towards keeping up the fight for equality here at P8TT. A few days ago, our opponents decided to drag this on for another 6-9 months by appealing to the full 9th Circuit for a rehearing of the case. We face ballot referenda in Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, as well as likely in Washington State and Maryland. It will be a big year for equality, and if just 35 people can step up, we can step up as a community to not only cover these issues, but take action on them. Put plainly, we need to be more visible. We need to make the courts and the public see us and our family and friends. This site is a huge part of that.

So please, become one of the 35 people we need to support Prop8TrialTracker.com for the next year with a tax-deductible, small monthly contribution so we can make them — judges, legislators, and Americans around the country — see us. Contribute so Prop8TrialTracker can remain the best place for coverage on the web and so we can continue to provide great coverage on DOMA cases, DOMA repeal, and marriage equality.

Most importantly, please contribute so our community can remain together, strong, and sustainable on a monthly basis.

Thank you for all that you do.

9 Comments February 23, 2012

Support equality, and win a prize

By Adam Bink

You can click here, or keep reading for the prizes part!

It’s been another great year at Prop8TrialTracker.com, with great comments, great traffic, and a stellar community of vibrant discussion and action. And it’s been another exciting year in the trial, too.

P8TT, which is sponsored by the Courage Campaign Institute, has always been a labor of love. It’s never been something that really pays for itself in terms of how much time we spend on it. That’s why we need your support to keep it going. Consider:

  • Jacob, our writing intern, and I blog each day, every day, 365 days a year so you can have fresh and interesting content to read. That costs time, a lot of it, for both of us.
  • Rick, Arisha, Ana and others drop what they are doing to buy a flight or get in their car to go to the courthouse in San Francisco and sit for hours at a time typing away transcripts of the hearings in the Prop 8 trial. That costs money (for travel) and time.
  • We aren’t just the same old site anymore — we’ve made improvements. Starting in the middle of 2011, we were finally able to bring on a full-time technical team to respond to site glitches and bugs, including when you have log-in or commenting problems. We did so because we believe the #1 site on the web with for covering the trial, with thousands and thousands of visitors each month, deserves a top-flight team. According to the recent user survey, 93% of you rated their performance at an 8/10 or above, so it looks like they’re doing a good job. That costs money for their retainer.
  • Also starting in 2011, we now have Quick Hits for the first time, so users like you can post content that is just as visible as what’s post in the main section on the front page. We now have a second daily writer, Jacob Combs, to help with coverage of the trials — and he’s doing it without pay (your contribution will help so we can change that). We also have a set of community guidelines to clear up confusion on what the rules of the road are in the comments. We also now have a “where things stand with the Prop 8 trial” to meet the #1 most requested new feature here: an easy-to-understand, one-stop-shopping place to find out what’s going on with the trial. We just permanently linked to it in the banner at the very top of the site so you and new people here can always find it. All of that costs time and money for tech development and writing.
  • Not to forget, while our mission has and always will remain the Prop 8 trial, we’ve expanded to cover the DOMA trials, repeal of DOMA in Congress, marriage equality fights around the states, National Organization for Marriage and their goings-on, and other issues. All of that costs time.
  • Lastly, we’re doing our very best to bring you the best coverage of the Prop 8 trial. With the help of you in the comments, we cover every motion, every hearing, every brief. We get exclusive takes on the latest developments from LGBT equality’s legal minds like NCLR’s Shannon Minter and Chris Stoll, along with Lambda Legal’s Jon Davidson, and post it here. We track down the latest developments on Prop 8, whether it’s a poll, a report, a new boycott, a new play, a new lawsuit borne out of the trial. It’s what makes us the #1 search result for “Prop 8 trial” on Google, and we want to keep it that way, but all of that costs time, too.

If those reasons weren’t good enough, I have a few more to try on for size (and tell you why this is timely):

  • All contributions made to Courage Campaign Institute, the sponsor of P8TT, before the ball drops on the night of December 31st will count as tax deductions come April.
  • All donors who contribute before the ball drop are entered into our drawing for one brand new iPad 2 (so you can read the blog on the road!) and one of three $100 gift certificates to a 100% pro-equality business, as rated by HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. That could go towards a flight on United Airlines, a new pair of Levi’s jeans, a stay at a Kimpton hotel, a bunch of new books or a Nook from Barnes & Noble — there are close to 200 different businesses for you to spend where you like. So you have four chances to win a prize.

So please, if you like what you read here, take a moment to chip in so we can keep P8TT what it is and meet all the expenses I listed above. You’ll get a tax deduction, have a shot at winning a great prize, and help bring about full equality faster in our country.

Thanks.

7 Comments December 30, 2011

A Familiar Feeling

This post is part of P8TT’s semi-annual fundraising drive. Please help us so we can keep this community together to fight the battles ahead. You can chip in here to make a one-time donation, or here to make a monthly donation, which helps P8TT have a more steady source of funding.

By Jacqueline Hirahara

When I arrived in New Hampshire with Anthony and Arisha, the atmosphere felt familiar.  I had felt this with Prop 8 in California and with Measure 1 in Maine.  Marriage equality exists in New Hampshire, but with impending legislation it could be repealed.  Since it was the legislators making this decision, constituents needed to reach out to them and let them know that support is there for same-sex marriage.

Thanks to our members’ support, including yours, we were able to host Camp Courage trainings throughout the state to help frame their support into stories.  We met with families, students, couples and people just wanting to be heard.  We took trips to meet with Courage Campaign members in New Hampshire and meet with LGBT friendly businesses.  One trip we took to Amherst, NH, where we met with Betsy, the wife of one of the Concord campers.  Lisa had told us her story of working in a Federal job for 30 years but not being able to share her federal pension with her wife.  When we arrived we were warmly greeted with coffee and amazing stories.  Their 2 neighbors also told us why they supported their friends.  It was great hearing the history of the fight for equality in NH.

Hundreds showed up, against the repeal of marriage equality, on the day of the House hearings.

Everyone has a story, it’s the power you give it that makes the change.  It is also why it is important to organize around this and give testimony to our neighbors and friends.

The support from our members, readers and donors help make this possible.  This support allows us to host these trainings.  I look forward to more in the future. Please chip in here so we can replicate our success in New Hampshire.

25 Comments March 8, 2011

Tomorrow’s NYTimes editorializes for lifting the stay on Judge Walker’s Prop 8 ruling

By Adam Bink

Brilliant editorial. It dovetails exactly with what we’ve been arguing here (bolding mine):

Seven months have passed since Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in San Francisco following a much-publicized trial that turned up no evidence to justify the measure’s denial of equal protection and due process.

Yet the 2008 initiative continues to inflict serious harm on same-sex couples and their families thanks to a court order that prevents gay men and lesbians from marrying in California while the case is being appealed. That stay should be lifted now.

The appeal was argued in December before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. It could be many more months before the panel rules. In February, it asked the California Supreme Court to resolve a procedural question regarding the standing of the initiative’s sponsor to bring the appeal. The state’s top court has said it will not even hold a hearing on the issue until September, at the earliest.

In legal papers filed last week, lawyers challenging Proposition 8 took note of the “serious, lasting, and irreparable damage to gay men and lesbians who wish to marry” caused by this extended timetable and called on the federal court to lift its injunction.

The stay should never have been granted in the first place. Applying traditional legal criteria, the extraordinary relief of a stay is only warranted when the applicant makes a strong showing of likely success on the merits and of irreparable injury in the absence of a stay — two arguments that cannot be satisfied here.

As the trial judge’s ruling affirmed, the denial of marriage equality furthers no legitimate governmental aim. And defenders of Proposition 8 can point to no real injury they would suffer if gay men and lesbians are permitted to wed.

Every day same-sex couples are denied their right to marry is another day of injustice for them and their families. Couples who wish to wed knowing that the appellate court could decide to uphold Proposition 8’s ban should be allowed to take that chance.

Personally, I am just shaking my head. I’m not sure I could have written a better editorial myself. Our arguments are resonating. Our stories of discrimination- like Courage Campaign members Shane and John‘s on ABC News, and Ed and Derence‘s in The Washington Post, The Advocate, and many other places- are resonating in the media. And tomorrow, a huge section of this nation will read it.

If you haven’t given to our fundraiser to keep P8TT going and keep building our work to result in outcomes like these, we’re about $4,000 short. That’s 80 people giving $50. We’re making progress. Please contribute. And ask a few friends to. Even better, become a monthly donor. We’re making a difference.

86 Comments March 7, 2011

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