Netroots Action for Marriage Equality in Delaware

DE Right to Marry Header

This is Bill Humphrey, and he’s the statewide director for Delaware Right to Marry Political Action Committee. He’s got a little problem, really, just a little one. And I know we at the Blend and in the Netroots can help him out.

This has been Cross-Posted to the Daily Kos. Please Rec if you can.
First, here’s a special note to Pam’s House Blend from Bill:

We at Delaware Right to Marry are grateful for the chance to address readers of Pam’s House Blend directly today. If you read the “About” page by Pam, she cites “the right to marry” as one of the issues that led her to start the site in the first place. It’s an interesting choice of words: the right to marry. A lot of people don’t think marriage is a right. Having grown up in Massachusetts during the transition to marriage equality, I firmly believe that it is a right (as you can tell by our organization’s name), and it’s one of the reasons I started the organization last year here in Delaware, where I now live.

In April 2009, Nate Silver estimated that Delaware voters would be ready to accept marriage equality by 2011 if it were put to a vote. However, unlike in many states, there is no ballot initiative process (which is a good thing since people should not be able to vote on other people’s rights), nor is there an equal rights clause in the state’s constitution to allow for a court ruling in favor of marriage equality, as in Massachusetts or Iowa. So in Delaware we have to go the legislative route. That means appealing to legislators, by showing them that marriage equality is right and (we hope) popular. That’s where you come in.

A note to the transgender community: We are very supportive of promoting transgender rights in the state of Delaware, and members of our staff are heavily involved in other projects for transgender individuals outside our organization. For example, our assistant director is currently leading a project for gender-neutral housing options for students living on campus at the University of Delaware.

While, our organization right now is solely single-issue (marriage equality for same-sex couples), there are other organizations in the state with a broader policy agenda for LGBT people, and my assumption is that they are working to add transgender protections at some point in the near future. However, I can’t speak for those organizations, and we did not exist when the previous nondiscrimination legislation, which some of you may know about, came up for debate. I am personally supportive of transgender rights and in the future, it may be something we add to our mission.

See, Bill’s working to get marriage equality onto Delaware’s legislative agenda this session. And if it gets off the ground, its got a good chance of passing. The problem is, it’s been a long time since anyone checked in with good people of Delaware about how they feel about LGBT issues. And it seems, these issues are on an upswing, so there’s good reason to believe when the news comes back it’ll be good. And as he said, king of polling, Nate Silver agrees.

But, polls don’t conduct themselves. So, Bill needs just ,250 dollars to pay Public Policy Polling to conduct a poll on Delaware residents’ attitudes about marriage equality.

Big Money

I know, it’s gauche to ask for money. I personally believe I was made for better things. But the reality is the anti-gay hate industry is rich. Very rich. And they are powerful, and have the ears of some powerful folks. Just one group, National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is estimated in 2009 to have collected ,000,000, including a single donation of ,400,000 from Catholic Church affiliated Knights of Columbus. And they sunk millions into a variety of races around the country. In this last cycle they spent half a million dollars to go after those judges in Iowa.

NOM also sunk half a million dollars going after Governor Lynch in New Hampshire for signing a marriage equality bill. They didn’t get their prize. (Yay!) But they’re not backing down. They’re gearing up to spend at least 0k in Rhode Island.

They have lots of money. Fortunately, we have the arc of a just universe on our side. And, we also have facts. But Bill and his group just need the money to mine for those facts.

Little Money

When Bill’s request came to me I was struck by its quaintness. ,250 is not much, it’s pretty obtainable. I mean, I’m used to reading these budgets of six digits. So, I figure, if everyone donated just (the cost of a movie ticket!), we’d only need 225 nationwide to chip in. (Of course, if you give more, that’s great!) And we can help Bill and Right to Marry lay the a solid groundwork for a nice victory in Delaware. Let’s go to it.

Now, think carefully. And remember, the extremists in Delaware must be pretty dispirited that their teabagger Queen Christine O’Donnell got Royally trounced in the last election. They lost their chance to make masturbation illegal. I imagine the left scoring a marriage equality victory in 2011 would be a real kick in the pants, wouldn’t it? And wouldn’t that just be a shame?

Transcript for the video impaired.

Hi. My name is Bill Humphrey, and I’m the statewide director for Delaware Right to Marry Political Action Committee.

We are leading the effort to pass legislation this year for civil marriage equality in the state of Delaware. Our bill is modeled upon the 2009 New Hampshire marriage equality law and contains clear protections for unhindered freedom of religion. We believe we have a very strong draft law, which we hope to have introduced soon. [Read the proposal outline here.]

Today, I’m here with a pretty simple request. There hasn’t been a poll done in the state of Delaware on any LGBT issues for several years. We think that opinions have shifted significantly just in the last few years, and we’re ready to put that to the test. However, in order to do that, we still need about two thousand dollars for our poll by Public Policy Polling. We’re an all-volunteer organization, and we are absolutely counting on small-dollar donations from the netroots to help pay for the poll.

We also should note that we have to get this poll done in the next several weeks in order to be able to move our effort legislative ahead this year because the legislative session in Delaware is fairly short. Right now we also have a pro-LGBT Democratic governor, a Democratic supermajority in the House, and a Democratic Senate majority. We don’t know how long that situation might last, and we don’t want to fight this out in an election year either. That makes this period extremely critical.

Donations of any amount – big or small – are deeply appreciated.

If you would prefer to just write a check, there’s a link below with information on how to do that. Otherwise, you can just use the ActBlue link below to donate securely and instantly.

Thanks again for your support. It really makes a difference.

Donate on our ActBlue page to help pay for the poll:

Or How to donate by check.

Goal Thermometer

Thanks for watching, and reading. Two prior diaries by Bill:
? Why Does Marriage Equality Matter to You ? Help Us Bring Marriage Equality to Delaware

? You can follow the news of this story at Delaware Right To Marry’s Facebook page.

Special Note: Please welcome Bill to the Blend, he’s posting under the handle, Delaware Right To Marry and will be taking questions at 11:00 am EST on Wednesday.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

BlogHer10 pics, swag, vendors — and an interesting contrast to Netroots Nation

I’m reporting from NYC at the 2010 BlogHer convention, and it’s my first time attending this event, held this year at the New York Hilton. It is HUGE; it’s like an explosion of women from all walks of blogging life – mom bloggers, young newbies, seasoned women full of energy and activism, lifestyle bloggers, etc.

I’ve yet to attend any sessions; I’ve been so busy with offline networking – there are many areas for just chatting and meeting up. I also had a number of other appointments outside of the con, so that complicated matters a bit.

Welcome Swag

The welcome bag is an enormous burlap bag holding many goodies and promotions, but wow – really heavy on stuff for kids – toys, alarm clocks, grow-a-plants… The item holding 3 cans of Play-Doh was the most amusing – and heaviest goodie by far.

What was really nice is that there was a Swag Exchange room where you could recycle (i.e. dump) the items you didn’t want and pick up ones you liked that others discarded. Well what did you know — the tubbie containing the Play-Doh was overflowing. Note to vendors — bag-dragging goodies that need to travel aren’t popular, even if fun and useful for kids.

Exhibits and atmosphere: this is NOT Netroots Nation

One of the fascinating aspects of BlogHer is that it’s fairly non-political on the surface, but highly political once you scratch that surface. The conference is very mom/kid/family-focused when it comes to the market that the vendors and sponsors target – there are kid-accommodating eco-friendly cars, toys, learning projects…and a whole lot of food, from Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean, Healthy Choice…I lost track. You could basically graze the hall and leave full. Also, I have to go back today to check out the skin care and other lifestyle vendors. There was one exhibit with some feminine protection items. I joked on Twitter with Lizz Winstead:

Pam_Spaulding: #blogher10 sponsors: food, everything for baby, autos, lifestyle products…def not #nn10. Totally different feel.

6:07pm, Aug 06 from HootSuite

lizzwinstead: @Pam_Spaulding I’ll be there tomorrow. Curious to compare and contrast. #blogher10 #nn10

6:08pm, Aug 06 from TweetDeck

Pam_Spaulding: @lizzwinstead @Pam_Spaulding A mind-blowing difference. You didn’t see a tampon of the future @ #NN10. ;)

lizzwinstead: @Pam_Spaulding And I don’t have much of a future in the Tampon dept…. #NN10

In all seriousness, the number and variety of corporate sponsors at BlogHer dwarfs those at Netroots Nation. Of course, when you think about it, the level of PC at Netroots — concerns over union issues, corporate responsibility, etc., I would think one advocacy group or another attending NN would have some problem with some of these companies, making it difficult to please everyone.

All of these sponsors are dying to get to the technically adept, wired moms and other women who have a lot of spending power that are attending BlogHer. It’s an aggressive presence of a wide .

There’s no specific targeting of the LBT market at BlogHer; it’s not that there aren’t lesbians here and I’ve seen no trans folk; I’ve spoken to several lesbians, but they are there as moms, which means they fit that target market. So if you’re a child-free, not-straight woman, BlogHer may feel like an odd experience, a dip into a very hetero-centric pool. That said, there’s no homophobic vibe at all; in fact the sisterhood of living in a man’s world is quite powerful politically, and that’s a common thread in the discussions. Women still earn only 77 cents to the dollar that men earn, with women of color earning way less than that. The need for more political involvement and organizing is essential, something Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said during her Q&A (more on that later).

It would be great to see more women of color at BlogHer as well. Netroots Nation has bolstered its POC and LGBT presence (and content) significantly over its five-year existence; women’s issues not so much. Of course these conferences are not equivalent in purpose, but it’s hard not to analyze the differences and similarities in programming and exhibits and what it says about target audiences.

***

The panel I am on today at 3PM:

Change Agents: How to Start, Engage in and Moderate Civil Political Debate

What are the online “rules of the road” that can keep even heated debates civil? Where is the line between dissenter and troll? How do you take personal responsibility for your role in the debate, and how do you encourage the behavior you want to see on your site and at the online communities you frequent?

Four women will share their secrets to stirring their readers and engaging in friendly debate: Ann Friedman of The American Prospect and Feministing.com hashes it out with Denise Tanton, community manager at BlogHer.com; Pam Spaulding author of Pam’s House Blend and Suzanne Fortin, the writer behind Big Blue Wave. Join us for a lively discussion, pick up a few tips, and share a few of your own!

As you can imagine, we’ve had to deal with all sorts of moderation issues over the years, and there will be war stories discussed about trolls, astroturfing, reprimands and warnings, and more.

Some photos of the brilliant women I’ve met up with at BlogHer10.



@sharkfu, a.k.a. Angry Black Bitch; with @GloriaFeldt of HeartFeldt Politics.



Cheryl Contee, a.k.a, Jill Tubman of Jack & Jill Politics. @ch3ryl; @LisaStone, BlogHer Founder & CEO.

I’ll have a post about yesterday’s meeting with Sen. Gillibrand later (I have to head over to the conference now!).
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

LAS VEGAS: Netroots Nation 2010

Next week I’ll be in the company of thousands of fellow bloggers and journalists for Netroots Nation, the annual liberal confab originally created by the writers of Daily Kos and now sponsored by the nation’s largest labor unions and major outfits like the ACLU, Media Matters, Move On, and the Democratic National Committee. Major Democratic players tend to show up, so hopefully I’ll be able to corner a few for JMG soundbites.

Things get rolling a day early for the queer contingent with the LGBT & Allies pre-convention day on Tuesday. After that it’s five days of “hundreds of panels, roundtables, training sessions, workshops and keynotes” to choose from. (I’m trying to sort through the ones I’m most interested in, but as these things go, the times often conflict.) Obviously, JMG blogging volume will be down somewhat, but I’ll do my best to get out at least a dozen posts each day during the breaks.

Las Vegas peeps: Where are we meeting for drinkies?

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright