Evan Wolfson shares how we’ll move marriage forward in West Virginia

This week, West Virginia University College of Law hosted Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson for a talk on why marriage matters and how we move marriage forward in West Virginia. The event was hosted by OUTlaw, a student organization at the College of Law dedicated to opening the conversation between gay and straight communities while honing in on LGBT rights issues in law.

"Couples who live here who get married in the 17 states that do have the freedom to marry can come back home and they will be respected by the federal government," Evan explained, adding, "But West Virginia continues to discriminate."

Last year, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in West Virginia, McGee v. Cole, seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the state. As this case works its way through court, it is important to increase the conversation around marriage in West Virginia to ensure that people across the state understand why marriage matters. 

He spoke specifically about how this is the most effective way right now to move marriage forward in West Virginia:

"If we can make that move and see that progress as the polls now tell us we are seeing in all parts country, including the south, we can make that progress here in West Virginia. ... Everyone has an opportunity to make a difference and be part of this. And by speaking out and talking about who the gay people are in their lives and why marriage matters and what West Virginia needs to do so that we can move the state as we're moving America towards fairness."

You can watch a full video broadcast of the talk at West Virginia University HERE, and listen to an NPR piece featuring Evan's speech HERE

This year, Freedom to Marry launched Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, a $1 million campaign in partnership with 15 state and regional organizations dedicated to equality for LGBT people in the South. The bipartisan campaign is designed to amplify stories of why marriage matters in the South and features 13 honorary co-chairs, including U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman John Lewis, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Mark McKinnon (chief adviser to President George W. Bush), musician and author Lance Bass, and TV producers Harry Thomason & Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.

Learn more about Southerners for the Freedom to Marry HERE.