Today’s Apology for Clearcutting

Lucy in the Treehouse

Lucy in the Treehouse

Here’s another thing I have to apologize for because of my marriage: Clear-cut forests.

Back in October 2008 (before California’s Proposition 8 was passed to forbid same-sex marriage) my wife, Leanne, made a list of all the terrible things our marriage was likely to cause, including loss of freedom of religion and Armageddon. Recently I learned we’re causing this new terrible thing: clearcutting. Therefore, I’d like to apologize today for that.

I love forests; I prize our lush green woods; I greatly value the Earth and all people and life on it, and I try to teach my daughter the same.  Therefore, I’m really sorry that my marriage with Leanne is responsible for these new barren fields (and probably, therefore, our collective demise).

On the other hand, I would like to thank Maine Senator Larry Bliss, who in fact does NOT see it this way:

Rev. Emrich looks at marriage equality in Maine and sees “acres of clear-cut land.” I look at marriage equality, and I see thousands of Maine couples whose lives are more secure, whose children have more protections under the law and whose rights are assured to love each other and to have the law acknowledge and honor their partnerships.

Thank you indeed, Sen. Bliss, for this excellent article and thanks to Pam’s House Blend for pointing the way to it today.

And now let’s be serious. I have a feeling that most people are not fully evolved in their opinions about this like Rev. Emrich or like Sen. Bliss. I have a feeling that for many people the question of same-sex people marrying — which might seem new and scary to some, especially if you’re told it will cause so much terror — is not so (ahem) clear-cut.  I have a feeling that plenty of people are stuck in between, listening and reading, and trying to figure out how to make sense of all of this.  If you are one of these people, I invite you — in fact, I welcome you — to come to the table with us, sit down, and talk.

We’re probably not as scary and not as horrible as all that.

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New Ways of Organizing: Lessons in Online Activism from Prop 8

We witnessed a building of tremendous momentum — particularly online — around and immediately after the passage of Proposition 8 last year in California. This momentum built worldwide, despite the local nature of the proposition. In the wake of Prop 8, civil rights and LGBT organizations as well as nonprofits in general may questioning their role in online organizing. In the extreme case, organizations may be asking themselves: Are we becoming irrelevant?

This was exactly the question posited in last week’s panel at CompassPoint Nonprofit Day in San Francisco:  New Ways of Organizing: Lessons Learned from the Proposition 8 Battle (download the slides).

I had the privilege of participating on the panel, moderated by CompassPoint’s Sierra Catcott, and was joined by Greg Rae and Kristina Loring from the @NoOnProp8 campaign, and Charlie Bufalino, a marriage equality activist who currently canvasses for EQCA.

It was a great panel and I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to participate. My only wish is that we had enough time to take more questions. About 40-50 people attended the session and I could tell there was a lot of interest and a lot of questions left unaddressed. Please chime in in the comments if you have any follow-ups or questions!

In the end, though I don’t believe organizations and leaders become at all irrelevant, there can be little doubt of the power of online activism.  To me, the key lies in bridging the gap between “organizationlessness” and organization. If you’re a nonprofit — or any — organization wondering about building an online presence, my advice would be don’t wonder: begin today, and try to integrate it with your cause.

Thanks again to CompassPoint and Sierra for the opportunity!

The best way to protect and raise kids…

… is in a loving and committed family.

If you have a minute, take a look at the first ad released today in the Maine fight for marriage equality:

As Joe Mirabella in Seattle writes in today’s post Equality Maine released first television ad today to protect marriage equality

The same forces that ran the Yes on 8 campaign that eventually changed the constitution in California to exclude gays and lesbians from marriage have focused all they have on Maine.

And Washington’s under threat too, as Mirabella points out:

Washingtonians eagerly await the final results of the referendum 71 petition verification process to see if the domestic partnership expansion bill will face voters this fall.

Advocates for equality made tremendous progress in protecting safe and loving families across the country during this last year, and conservatives are out to do everything they can to try to repeal all the relief families — like mine — have felt about our new legal protections. Yet as Mirabella’s comments underscore, this fight is not about just whether to use the word “marriage” for loving couples in committed relationships — or to use some other word.  Seems some folks just don’t want us to be together at all, and are not stopping at anything to try to drive that home.

In the meantime, kudos to the real people from all types of different families that came together to get the word out above.  You honor all loving families.

Where I Stand

Tomorrow at 10am, the California Supreme Court decides the fate of the legal challenge to Prop 8 and the fate of our marriages. I will be standing by the Court, waiting.

august 12, 2004

august 12, 2004

Where I stood five years ago:

six months ago tomorrow we were married in san francisco. yesterday, thanks to the california supreme court, we were unmarried. our baby girl is due to arrive in just over a week. our lawyer told us to run, not walk, down to register as domestic partners should our marriages become invalidated. we spent an excruciating and ultimately fruitless few hours today, nearly as much time as we spent getting married that valentine’s day, trying to second-class our union by registering as domestic partners (more)…

may 15, 2008

may 15, 2008

Where I stood one year ago:

On Thursday, May 15, it’s true, Bette Midler’s particularly brassy-voiced version of “Chapel of Love” was ringing through my head as I was running down Market Street trying to get to the California State Building by 10am, in time for the Supreme Court’s decision on In Re Marriage. (As you may remember,) It was a very hot day, and I was panting and sweaty by the time I reached the Supreme Court — not in good shape for my photo opp with Kate Kendell — but I was feeling surprisingly hopeful about the immediately pending decision on marriage (more)…

november 5, 2008

november 5, 2008

Where I stood six months ago:

Much has been written and discussed since November 4, 2008 in the attempt to sort out why our efforts in California against Proposition 8 failed to actually beat the proposition. We should of course study hard and learn from mistakes, and above all move forward with this momentum. But what continues to impress me the most is the collective spirit of giving — of all of your stories — that has taken place as a result of this profound effort (more)…

Where will I stand the day after tomorrow?

Where do you stand?

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have.

— Keith Olbermann

GO Equality California!

One of the biggest and most painful complaints levied against the No On Prop 8 campaign is that the campaign failed to use images of real gay people and their families in the official ads.

As sad as Prop 8’s passage was, what a sea-change there’s been since then. After so much pain and real harm by its passage, we’ve had a national dialog like never before. With now five states on the side of marriage equality, “the arc of  moral history” appears to continue to bend towards justice — even as we speak.

And we’ve learned — a lot.  And shared — a lot.  Equality California, in a major evolution in campaign messaging, has just announced that they are featuring *real live gay people* and their families in their newest ads.  They listened and they got it.

Thank you Equality California, and come on everyone: Take a look at last. Don’t be afraid to find out there’s more in common between “your lifestyle” and “my lifestyle” than you might have thought.

Read more about Equality California’s campaign at http://www.eqca.org/winmarriageback.

Hope alone


“Dan White Hero”

Originally uploaded by cawins

I was in the NCLR overflow room helping to Twitter about the oral argument challenging Prop 8 on Thursday. I have some thoughts about online vs. offline activism and the socialization of the court that are far from fully developed and I’ll save for later, but first I wanted to do my little part to spread my current delusion.

My friends, champions who have been working around the clock for marriage rights for all, are tired and disappointed that the situation does not look good for actually overturning Proposition 8. I know that’s the general consensus. I was thrown into a dark place when I had to step around “Yes on 8” people when I took my daughter to school. That was a bad day, and I know hate features much more than hope in the word-cloud surrounding the event. And thanks to cawins for Flickring the picture on this post and to Dianna for blogging more of the reality of these truly disturbing images.

But I am hopeful …? I must be delusional, naive, and sick.

Probably all that, and this: Because Tony Wilson said this to me on my way to the oral argument Thursday morning:

@moyalynne Saw the marches this morning and it makes me proud to know you. You’re making the future better for our sons & daughters. GO!!

Because Kate Kendell said this:

My kids understand, sometimes even better than I do, what’s real in life and what really matters. We have to reflect that hope back to them, and the belief in what is ultimately possible.

And because I only know these wonderful people and so many more because of this fight — in the first place.

Today I choose hope over hatred or hurt exactly because this choice matters — words matter — and you don’t need to be on one side or another to know that. I will probably need you to remind me of this tomorrow or the next day and maybe the next and particularly on that day sometime within 88 days from now, when the court rules. But not today — today I feel the tiny pinprick to my heart, the very tip of the long tail, wagging the dog.

And because in the end, I was there at the doors of the Supreme Court that day last year on which they decided that words *do* matter, and for a few (all-too-short) months, everybody knew exactly what that meant. Let me fight for my life when I start to forget this again. And I will forget – but at this moment I think that if I look, you will be there for me.

PS: To support hope, consider a gift: http://bit.ly/SupportNCLR

How to NOT advertise against yourself

Thanks to @qrty for this blog post today:

Masterminds Behind ‘Yes on 8’ Reveal How They Did It

I’ve spoken before of some of the tactics used online in campaign to pass Proposition 8, but at the moment I want to call out this one, as underscored from the Yes campaign in the above blog, and more specifically how to protect yourself against it:

A Google surge. You may remember that even gay websites running Google Ads were running ‘Yes on 8’ ads in the final days of the campaign. That’s the power of internet advertising dollars at work.

“As the campaign headed into the final days, we launched a ‘Google surge.’ We spent more than a half-million dollars to place ads on every single website that had advertising controlled by Google. Whenever anyone in California went online, they saw one of our ads in the final two days of the election.”

I was alerted to this tactic by the No On Prop 8 online community itself, during the last few days of the campaign.  Gay and straight people alike called out with concern about what was happening on their blogs. Many wrote to tell me how to defeat it, and I’m thankful that, because I was able to pass it along.

Here it is, courtesy of @calipidder — please spread it to anyone who has an AdSense account they’re concerned about now or in the future:

In your Google AdSense account, go to AdSense Setup -> Competitive Ad Filter. You can block ads from specific URLs or destinations.

In this case, the Yes ads came from “protectmarriage.com” – so that’s what you would enter in your filter list if you wanted to not serve ads from them.

Says @calipidder:

The only thing sitting in my Filter list is protectmarriage.com. I was so angry to see that on my site I took down the ads until after the election, PLUS I blocked it here just in case they kept running them.

Amen. And thanks again, Rebecca.