We are pleased to announce a new set of tools that we believe will greatly help to accelerate reaching LGBT legal equality.
These tools are web-based, integrated with each other, are super easy to use, and are available to both individuals and organizations at no charge. They are guided by The Dallas Principles and emphasize the importance of taking action now to achieve full legal equality for our community. You can see them at www.ActOnPrinciples.org.
Read more details about each tool...
THE NEW TOOLS
1) PUBLIC WHIP COUNT: Before passing legislation, it is critical to know if we have enough votes and which lawmakers still need to be persuaded. Until now, several organizations and members of Congress have kept their own counts. Most of the times those counts are not shared with others, are limited in the number of members of Congress that can be effectively contacted, and have had discrepancies about whether or not there were enough votes to pass a piece of legislation.
The Public Whip Count we are introducing allows any registered individual to update the count of members of Congress supporting or opposing our legislation. You can also indicate their reasons (especially for those who do not support it). When you login as a registered user, you will see an edit button for each member of Congress, where you can update the information. We use very advanced technology to keep it all in sync and allow multiple people to make changes---it is like a wikipedia, but it is specific for legislative information.
We have started by counting three key pieces of legislation: inclusive ENDA (both in House and Senate), repeal of DADT (introduced only in the House), and repeal of DOMA (introduced only in the House). We will continue to add other pieces of legislation.
Furthermore, any organization or individual with a website, can use our widget that impressively displays the up-to-the-minute count for all the legislation that we are following. As legislation is passed, it is removed from the list, so you'll always have up-to-date information on your website (without any action on your part).
We think that this is a very powerful tool that can significantly change the way lobbying for our rights is done. Click here to see it in action.
2) OPEN BLOG: This is a blog dedicated to strategy and information for achieving LGBT equality faster. Apart from the fact that it is exclusively dedicated to this topic, one would think that there is nothing new with having a blog. Except that this is an OPEN blog. Anybody can post an article. There are many blogs that are multi-authored, but there are few, if any, that provide the capability of posting actual articles in such a simple way. Of course, postings are subject to editorial review to ensure high quality.
This provides a megaphone for people who have great ideas to express but who may not have their own blog, or who may have a blog but not with the traffic that ActOnPrinciples brings. Of course, even if you have a very successful blog, you are invited to post here to reach an additional audience.
Whether you are expressing your ideas personally or representing an organization, you are encouraged to post your ideas here. Click to see it in action.
3) HUB FOR ACTION: This is a tool in which individuals and organizations post their specific calls for action. What is new here is that all actions are included on the same place (not just on one organization's website) and that it is open to both individuals and organizations to promote creative actions. See it here.
INTEGRATION OF THE TOOLS
What makes these tools even more powerful is that they are completely integrated. The Open Blog discusses strategy and provides information, the Hub for Action calls for actions based on strategy and creativity, and the Public Whip Count keeps track of our progress to lobby for enacting LGBT equality legislation.
Even more: when posting a blog or an action that refers to a whip count, the tool automatically keeps the count updated with the up-to-the-minute count.
Also, these tools are automatically integrated with Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Another feature is that visitors to the site, even those who are not registered, can rate the actions and blog posts to guide other visitors about the highest rated ones.
And you can post and keep track of it all with your mobile device... including an exclusive interface for the iPhone.
Finally, you can subscribe to a convenient daily digest of all the actions and blog posts.
ADVANCING THE STATE OF THE ART
These tools advance the state of current technology beyond what is available anywhere. As you can imagine, they represent a significant investment in resources that we are happy to offer to the community to accelerate getting LGBT equality under the law. We encourage everyone to take full advantage of them!
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE FREE TOOLS
There are three ways to take advantage of these tools whether you are an individual or an organization. Choose the ones that are of interest to you:
1. Subscribe to receive the daily digest of actions and blog posts. It is only one email a day, and your information is not given out to anyone. Subscribe here.
2. Register on the site to be able to post to the blog and actions as well as update, in real time, the Public Whip Count. To register just go here.
3. Become a champion: this allows you to post to the site directly without editorial approval. Check here all the information about how to sign up.
A TEAM EFFORT
We encourage individuals and organizations to use these tools so that we can accelerate reaching legal equality.
To ensure a high quality of postings, there is an editorial team composed of three of the authors of the Dallas Principles: Donald Hitchcock, Lane Hudson, and John Bare. Donald is also the webmaster of the Act on Principles website.
However, you can bypass editorial review by becoming a Champion which gives you super-user access to the tools. Current champions are Ignatius Bau, Dana Beyer, John Buie, Mandy Carter, Michael Coe, Jimmy Creech, Joe Falk, Todd Fernandez, Don George, Bob Horvath, Georg Ketelhohn, Tom Leonard, Charles Merrill, Lisa Polyak, Joel Silverman, Barbra Casbar Siperstein, Pam Spaulding, Andy Szekeres, Lisa Turner, Lindasusan Ulrich, Leonie Walker, Jillian Weiss, and Paul Yandura.
Please join them as Champions by clicking here.
TIME FOR EACH OF US TO PUSH HARD
It has been 268 days since President Obama was inaugurated. Despite Democratic control of both chambers, no LGBT legislation has reached his desk yet. It is unknown what will be the composition of Congress in one year, therefore we all need to push now for the enactment of LGBT equality legislation.
We hope that each of you, and the organizations in which you are involved, take full advantage of these advanced tools. Legal equality is within reach if we all push for it right now. We need all hands on deck.