California Supreme Court Fails to Overturn Proposition 8

The California Supreme Court today let stand Proposition 8, continuing marriage discrimination in California. The Court refused to undo the 18,000 marriages that same-sex couples celebrated in 2008, so that those couples remain married even while other California couples are, for now, barred from joining in marriage.

As the groundwork for a new ballot initiative to restore the freedom to marry in California and overturn Proposition 8 begins, rallies and opportunities for people to voice their disapproval of this decision and get involved with efforts to overturn this discrimination will take place across the state of California and the entire country over the next week. Learn more here

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Maine Becomes Fifth State to End Gay Couples’ Exclusion from Marriage

Maine's Governor John Baldacci signed into law a freedom to marry bill overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and House. Maine now joins Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage.

  • New Hampshire will send a House and Senate-approved bill to end the exclusion of gay couples from marriage to the Governor's desk soon.
  • New York's Assembly passed a marriage equality bill and now it awaits Senate action.

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Have You Had a Conversation About Marriage Equality Lately?

Having a conversation with your friends and family about why marriage equality matters to you is the single most important action everyone can take toward achieving equality for all families. If you've already started having them, then here's the latest news to prompt more conversation. If not, then get talking. Learn how to start a conversation here.

Which state will have the freedom to marry next—New Hampshire, Maine or New York?

  • New Hampshire will send a House and Senate-approved bill to end the exclusion of gay couples from marriage to the Governor's desk this week for signature.
  • Maine's House is expected to vote on a Senate-approved marriage equality bill early this week.
  • New York's Assembly passed a marriage equality bill out of committee and a full Assembly vote is expected soon.

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Marriages Begin and Ad Released in Iowa, Advances in Other States

It's a day of celebration! Today, gay couples in Iowa will start applying for marriage licenses. Families will rejoice as couples celebrate their love for each other through the freedom to marry.

One Iowa, the leading LGBT advocacy organization in Iowa, released an ad last week as part of a broad public education plan to protect the freedom to marry from those who would strip these freedoms from the Constitution. The ad, "This Place" features Iowa scenes and Iowa families, and speaks to the traditional Iowa values of freedom and fairness. View the ad online here and help to keep it on the air!

Over the last few weeks, we've also seen advances in New HampshireMaine, andNew York.

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Freedom to Marry Launches Voices for Equality Program

We are proud to announce the creation of a new program—Voices for Equality—an online record of prominent Americans who have spoken out against discrimination in marriage. From religious leaders to entertainers to politicians, these non-gay and gay women and men are refusing to be silent at a time when America's promise of equality is at stake.

Our first 50 Voices for Equality, including Steve Schmidt, are already profiled here, but everyone can help spotlight the next 50. Beginning April 20, 2009, nominations will be accepted to build the roster of Voices for Equality. Make sure your hero is among that group by sending an email to Tahlib@freedomtomarry.org today.

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YouTube Video Contest Winners Announced

After over 30 videos were submitted about why marriage matters, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 7 Conversations in 7 Days YouTube Video Contest:

  1. Liz Turner took first place with a video entitled, "Left Alone" which addresses the pain and discrimination experienced by gay couples who are denied the freedom to marry, and

  2. Orange County Equality Coalition took second place with a video entitled, "Marriage Matters" which brings together a diverse group of voices pressing the urgency of marriage equality.


Thank you to all those who participated and spoke out about why ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage matters.



Watch all the excellent, moving submitted videos on YouTube.

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Equality Supporters Push Back Against Attack Ads

Last week, following victories for marriage equality in Vermont and Iowa, the so-called "National Organization for Marriage" (NOM) launched attack ads across the country against gay couples' freedom to marry.

People who believe in equality are pushing back against these attacks across the country. The Human Rights Campaign responded, uncovering the lies and scare tactics NOM uses in their ads, and Evan Wolfson addressed these fear-mongering ads on CNN and Huffington Post.

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Vermont Ends Gay Couples’ Exclusion from Marriage

The Vermont legislature passed a bill ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage with a 2/3 majority in each chamber, effectively overriding the Governor’s veto. Gay couples should be able to start applying for marriage licenses by September 1, 2009.

Following Iowa which had their Supreme Court rule to uphold the freedom to marry last Friday, Vermont becomes the fourth state to end the exclusion of gay couples from marriage.

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Iowa Ends Gay Couples’ Exclusion From Marriage

The Iowa Supreme Court today handed down a unanimous decision in Varnum v. Brien in favor of the freedom to marry, bringing marriage equality to America's heartland.

Iowa now joins Massachusetts and Connecticut in ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Following the decision, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy released a joint statement which celebrated the ruling:

“Thanks to today’s decision, Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing all of our citizens’ equal rights…When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long.  It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency.”

  1. Join the celebration in Iowa
  2. Follow the latest news on Straight Talk on Marriage
  3. Read the decision

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Young Advocate in Vermont Gives Powerful Testimony in Support of Marriage Equality

Vermont Outright youth & Board Representative James Neiley gave testimony in front of the state Senate Judiciary Committee in support of marriage equality in Vermont. James delivered one hundred letters of support from classmates and spoke about the importance of the dignity and respect that come with marriage, and how denying marriage for gay couples fuels the hate speech and homophobia he faces in school: "When I know the best thing I can do in most states is get a civil union, how am I supposed to feel accepted? How am I supposed to overcome the ripping, nagging feeling that I am inferior?"

The Vermont Senate voted in support of marriage equality, and now the House is holding hearings on the bill, but Vermont’s Governor Douglas says he plans to veto civil rights.

 

  1. Take Action with Vermont Freedom to Marry
  2. Watch James testify
  3. Follow the latest news on Straight Talk on Marriage

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