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Freedom to Marry launches $1 million campaign to build support in South

Evan Wolfson
Photo courtesy of The Dallas Voice

It may be a daunting task, but Freedom to Marry, the national pro-gay marriage organization based in New York is kicking off an advertising campaign in Southern states. According to a report by the Washington Post on Feb. 23, the pro-gay marriage group hopes to sway public opinion, which would also impact judges who will decide cases pertaining to gay marriage bans and civil unions.

The advertising campaign, estimated at $1 million, will be announced at a press conference on Monday (Feb. 24) in Atlanta. The campaign will be named Southerners for the Freedom to Marry and the primary focus will be to highlight politicians and community leaders who back same-sex marriage.

In highlighting those who support same-sex marriage, the ad campaign will set its attention on pushing for public support. Since the states the campaign are targeting already have same-sex marriage bans in place and are states dominated by Republicans, trying to gain legislative support may be a waste of time.

Instead, the time will be focused on building support which may influence the outcome of the two dozen lawsuits challenge bans on gay marriage that are currently pending. States such as Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma have already struck down state bans, but the rulings have been stayed and will head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Similar outcomes in other southern states might be a hard task, so building support is key focus according to Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry.

“Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to build a critical mass of states and support to create the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution. We don’t have to win within every state, but we have to win enough states.”

The ad campaign will also liken same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement from the aspect of equal rights, not necessary the paths both have taken. The organization will feature longtime Georgia Democrat Rep. John Lewis.

Lewis says in a testimonial, “I see the right to marriage as a civil rights issue. You cannot have rights for one segment of the population and one group of people and not for everybody.

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