Four ways young conservatives are helping to win marriage at the ballot

Earlier this month, Freedom to Marry launched Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a campaign to encourage young people with conservative ideology to speak out about why they support marriage for same-sex couples. Over the past few months, we've seen conservative voices become an essential part of the campaign to win marriage nationwide. Now, the four states facing ballot initiatives in the November 6, 2012 election - WashingtonMaineMinnesota, and Maryland - are capitalizing on that momentum by shoring up support among conservatives and encouraging them to make their voices heard. Judging from recent actions from each of the ballot measure states, it seems like young conservatives have a few tips that can help the country continue to move in the right direction.

1. Talk About Marriage

A video released earlier this month from Washington United for Marriage's "Why Marriage Matters" campaign features GOP state senator Steve Litlow, an original co-sponsor of Washington's historic freedom to marry bill. He discusses why he supports the freedom to marry and how it aligns with his conservative values. He says in the video: "I believe every adult should have the right to chose the person they love and who they marry."

Litlow additionally expresses his gratitude to have married his wife of 23 years, and he talks about speaking to his children about the freedom to marry.

Litlow's video demonstrates the power of sharing our stories and talking about our motivations for supporting the freedom to marry nationwide.

2. Take a Stance

This week Mainers United for Marriage launched Republicans United for Marriage, which features over a dozen Maine Republican political leaders announcing their support for a proactive citizen's initiative that would allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

"I know some gay people and I've talked with them and with my family, and I've thought a lot about it," State Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, said in a statement from the new group. "As a husband and a father, I've come to believe that two people who love each other should have the freedom to get married."

3. Pledge to Vote

Minnesotans United for All Families is encouraging voters across the state to pledge to vote NO on a proposed constitutional amendment on Minnesota's November ballot that reads: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Minnesota?" Young conservatives in the state are among the thousands of people who have pledged to vote NO on the marriage-threatening amendments; they are prepared to defend the freedom to marry. 

Minnestoans United is working to amplify conservative voices - like when they highlighted this editorial in the St. Cloud Times last week by Wheelock Whitney. The editorial reads:

I believe in personal responsibility and the freedom to live your life without unnecessary government intervention. This amendment is contrary to the idea of a limited government, and allows politicians and government to have greater control over the lives of some Minnesotans. 

4. Fundraise

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, who launched a new website this month, is highlighting recent high-profile financial support from conservatives in the state. Last week, conservative Cato Scholar Walter Olson hosted a fundraiser to defend Maryland's freedom to marry bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley in March 2012. Opponents of the law launched a referendum to repeal the freedom to marry, and Maryland's residents will be asked to vote in November.

Olson discussed the fundraiser with Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner, who wrote:

Saying that he wanted to "make sure that the people who are to the right of center were brought in to the campaign in the most effective way," Olson told BuzzFeed, "There are tons and tons of people ... who are not necessarily reached by the more visible element of the campaign, which is often geared toward progressive principles. People have talked about how the African-American vote could make a lote of difference, and that's certainly true. But, at the same, Maryland has a lot of people, in western Maryland and other parts of the state, that tend to go for libertarian candidates.

 Follow more about how Young Conservatives are supporting the freedom to marry in these four ballot initiative states and across the country by "liking" our Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry page on Facebook and by checking out the Young Conservatives site