Freedom to Marry Voices for Equality figure prominently in 2010 election

As Evan Wolfson pointed out last Wednesday, “A majority of the electorate supports the freedom to marry, and those fair-minded voters showed up at the polls and elected pro-marriage equality candidates, even in this otherwise tough political environment for progressive politicians.”

If you’ve been keeping up with Freedom to Marry’s extensive Voices for Equality profiles, you were already familiar with many of the names and personalities involved in last week's races.

Robert Duffy, New York’s newly elected Lieutenant Governor, was designated a Voice for Equality following his remarks in May of 2009 when as Mayor of Rochester, NY he wrote an eloquent op-ed piece calling on the New York State Senate to immediately pass a marriage equality bill.  Among his comments:

"I was raised in a deeply religious family. In fact, my mother was actually a Catholic nun for a time. I am well aware of the Church's teachings. I hold my faith and the Bible dear. But I also cherish our Constitution. To me, this is not about my faith in God. It is about equal rights for all.As police chief and now as mayor, I have spent my career upholding our Constitution to ensure all citizens are not denied their rights because of who they are. In my mind, sexual preference is not a choice or one's decision. I believe it is inherently part of our being. The right to marry is a fundamental human right that is being denied to an entire class of people solely because of who they are. It's not fair, it's not right and it's not American." [Link]

Douglas Gansler, Maryland’s Attorney General who was elected to another term last Tuesday, earned the Voice for Equality distinction in October of 2009 after receiving the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keeper’s Award and also the Ally for Equality Award for being the first statewide elected official in Maryland to support marriage equality, and after endorsing gay marriage legislation while chastising Maryland lawmakers for lacking the “political courage” to pass the freedom to marry:

“It’s wrong to discriminate against people, particularly because they think differently or because of their sexuality or because of their gender,” Gansler said. “And that’s what we’re doing here.” [Link]

He solidified his VFE status in February of 2010 with his authoritative reading of Maryland law that out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples should be honored in Maryland. [Link]

Peter Shumlin, Vermont’s new governor, was an obvious pick as a Voice for Equality in December of 2009 when, following the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee's passage of a marriage equality bill on to the state Senate, he wrote a letter published on New Jersey's and delivered to New Jersey legislators imploring them to: "Just Do It!" His comments included:

"In April of this year, supermajorities of Vermont's Senate and General Assembly voted to eliminate the discrimination against same-sex couples in our marriage laws. A majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in our Senate voted for the bill. For some, it was an easy vote; for others, it was a scary vote. But I can assure you that for everyone who voted for the bill, it was among the proudest acts of their careers."[Link]

But these were not the only Voices for Equality in the news on Tuesday.  On our Supportive Elected Officials page you will find almost 1,000 additional names of Voices for Equality working at the local, state or federal level to support the freedom to marry.  Among those included: David Cicilline - Rhode Island’s new openly-gay congressmanJohn Lynch – New Hampshire’s governor who signed marriage equality into law and who withstood a brutal opposition campaign by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM),  and Mike Gronstal - Iowa’s Senate Majority Leader who has pledged to defend the freedom to marry in Iowa despite some disappointing election reversals in that state due to heavy spending by NOM.

So check out our various categories (Arts & Entertainment, Business & Labor, Government, Media, Religion, Social Justice) of featured Voices for Equality, our Supportive Elected Officials page, and new VFE blog posts being added each week.  The next time there’s a breaking story on the freedom to marry, you’ll already be well acquainted with many of the individuals and issues involved in securing marriage equality for the LGBT community.