Voice for Equality: Tim Sweeney

Tim Sweeney has been a leader in lesbian and gay, HIV and healthcare reform activism for more than twenty-five years. He currently serves as the President of the Gill Foundation in Denver. Tim's work there focuses on funding programs in the gay and lesbian community, including major support for organizations implementing a California law that safeguards the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. Tim also lends his time and expertise to Freedom to Marry by serving on our Steering Committee.

Tim was an early leader in the struggle to confront the AIDS epidemic, a national and state political organizer, and a successful foundation executive. He continues to be in the forefront of the most significant issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. To learn more: [Link]

Freedom to Marry salutes Tim Sweeney for his work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Cherry Spencer-Stark

Cherry Spencer-Stark is a long-time political activist. Currently president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, Cherry has also served as founding co-chair of Georgia Equality (the political and advocacy voice of Georgia's LGBT citizens and their allies), treasurer of the Georgia Nurses Association, board member at AIDS Treatment Initiatives, one of the first women members of the Marietta Rotary Club, and as a Steering Committee member for Freedom to Marry.

Cherry received the 1996 Human Rights Campaign Community Leadership Award and was a 2002 recipient of the Atlanta Pride Community Builders Award. She is married to James E. Stark, Ph.D, a forensic psychologist and expert in gay/lesbian parenting. Since the passage of the 1993 anti-gay resolution in her home county of Cobb, Cherry has been a continual thorn in the side of Georgia's radical right-wing groups and politicians. Her proudest moment was taking on then-Congressman Bob Barr about the 1996 federal anti-marriage law he sponsored (the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act") and leaving him sputtering.

Freedom to Marry salutes Cherry Spencer-Stark for her work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Leslye M. Huff

Leslye M. Huff is the managing member of HUFF LAW, LLC, a new full service legal professional company. Her areas of practice include Employment, Family Law, Discrimination, Wills, Probate, Small Business & Nonprofit Start-up. Ms. Huff is Vice President of BlackOut Unlimited, Inc.'s Board of Directors, she is on the Steering Committee of Freedom to Marry, and she is a member of the National Black Justice Coalition. To learn more: [Link]

In 1993, Huff published an article titled "Black Ministers Declare War Against Lesbians and Gay Men" in Ohio's largest African American newspaper, the Call and Post and used it to galvanize Cleveland's Black community to successfully oppose the ministers' anti-gay campaign. Recently, Ms Huff published a seven-part article in the Urban Crusader News weekly entitled "Marital Bliss Under the Constitution: Thoughts on Opposite-Gender Marriage, the African American Community, and LesBiGay Rights."

Freedom to Marry salutes Leslye M. Huff for her work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Helio Fred Garcia

Fred Garcia has 28 years of experience counseling securities firms, banks, insurance companies, specialized financial and professional service firms, corporations, not-for-profits, and governments. He has particular expertise in crisis management, corporate litigation support, struggles for corporate control, international financial transactions, securities offerings, corporate governance, and business ethics. To learn more: [Link]

Fred is also on the associate faculty of the Starr King School for the Ministry - Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, where he teaches a seminar on religious leadership for social change. He is a member of the Steering Committee for Freedom to Marry, and is also a member of the boards of directors of Disaster Chaplaincy Services and of The Interfaith Alliance.
Freedom to Marry salutes Helio Fred Garcia for his work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!
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Voice for Equality: Barbara Cox

Barbara Cox is the past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues, is Chair of the A.A.L.S. Section on Women in Legal Education, and served on an AALS taskforce on the problems of preventing sexual orientation discrimination in religiously-affiliated law schools. She also serves on the Freedom to Marry Steering Committee.

From 1984-1987, Barbara was co-chair of the Madison, WI, Taskforce on Alternative family rights which drafted the city's domestic partnership ordinance (one of the first in the nation), and she helped obtain domestic partner health insurance benefits at CWSL. Barb has published numerous articles or book chapters on various issues concerning marriages of same-sex couples and questions of interstate recognition by state courts, and has spoken on the topic across the country. To learn more: [Link]

Freedom to Marry salutes Barbara Cox for her work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Ignacio Castuera

The Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera currently serves at Trinity United Methodist Church in Pomona, CA and also as the first National Chaplain for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ignacio was the first Mexican-American district superintendent of the United Methodist Church in the Los Angeles District, and went on to become the pastor of Hollywood United Methodist Church. To learn more: [Link]

On “To The Point” on Univision, the Rev Castuera, a member of the Steering Committee of Freedom to Marry, supported marriage equality in a debate led by journalist Jorge Ramos from a religious perspective, taking into account the legal rights that come with marriage:


Marriage Equality Debate - "To The Point"
(Interview in Spanish)
June 15, 2008

Freedom to Marry salutes the Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera for his work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: John Buehrens

John Buehrens has a long history of advocacy for the homeless and mentally ill, for civil liberties, for poor communities, for interfaith cooperation, and for issues of sexual justice. From 1993 to 2001 he served as the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. He was the only non-gay religious leader invited to address the Millenium March for Equality in Washington, DC, in 2000.

Buehrens has served in the leadership of the National Parenting Association, the Foundation for Individual Responsibility and Social Trust (FIRST), the International Association for Religious Freedom, the Progressive Religious Partnership, the Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada, the World Conference on Religion and Peace, and the Religious Institute for Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. To learn more: [Link]

Freedom to Marry salutes John Buehrens for his work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Jennifer Gerarda Brown

Jennifer Gerarda Brown is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Center on Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac University School of Law, and the Charles Mechem Senior Research Scholar and Director of ADR Programs at Yale Law School.

Professor Brown has organized two symposia on marriage for same sex couples: the symposium in 1996 was one of the first to examine issues of extraterritorial recognition. She has written extensively on sexual orientation and the law, including three articles on marriage. She also serves on the Freedom to Marry Steering Committee. A co-author of "Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay rights" (with Ian Ayres), Professor Brown's areas of expertise include alternative dispute resolution, economic analysis of sexuality and gender in the law, feminist jurisprudence, and lawyers' professional responsibility. To learn more [Link]

Freedom to Marry salutes Jennifer Gerarda Brown for her work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Brondi Borer

After graduating from Cardozo Law School in New York City, Brondi Borer opened a family law and mediation practice focused on gay family law issues such as donor insemination agreements, child support and co-parenting agreements, domestic partnership and dissolution agreements, and second parent adoptions. She represented many gay and non-gay clients in litigated and mediated divorce actions. Since 1997, she has served as an adjunct professor at Marymount Manhattan College where she has taught Family Law and Public Speaking in the Critical Thinking Department.

Brondi supports The Matthew Shephard Foundation, Lambda Legal, Freedom to Marry (where she serves on our Steering Committee), the Progressive Patriots Fund, and Gay USA (TV show) by hosting, chairing, or co-chairing fundraising and educational events. She believes that it is critical for non-gay individuals to reach out to gay and non-gay members of the community to explain Freedom to Marry's work. [Link] to learn more.

Freedom to Marry salutes Brondi Borer for her work on our Steering Committee and as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Judy Shepard

Matthew Wayne Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming when he was viciously tortured and murdered at the age of twenty-one. He was attacked on the night of October 6, 1998, targeted because he was openly gay. In the wake of her son’s tragic death, Judy Shepard created the Matthew Shepard Foundation. With the mission of “..replacing hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance,” the Matthew Shepard Foundation works to promote educational outreach and advocacy programming. Most recently, the Foundation has lent its support to legislation and ballot initiatives promoting the freedom to marry for gay couples.

While addressing a group of students at the University of Cincinnati on May 5, 2009, Shepard publicly voiced her support for the freedom to marry. Shepard aded that the only thing jeopardizing marriage is that more and more unions are ending in divorce. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, the first state to end gay couples' exclusion from marriage, has the lowest divorce rate in the country.

Thanks to Chaya for the nomination!

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