How the ballot campaign states are celebrating Pride

June is Pride month, and the state-level freedom to marry campaigns are working to optimize the celebrations - the parades, the events, and the overall feeling of a strong LGBT community - by rallying behind the freedom to marry in fun new ways. Four of the campaigns in particular - Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington state - are using the Pride events to unite the community for crucial ballot initiatives taking place in their states. Here's how each state marriage campaign is celebrating:

MAINE: Mainers United for Marriage spread the word about their proactive citizens' intiative to win the freedom to marry at the ballot at the Southern Maine Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 16. Hundreds of parade marchers held signs calling for the passage of the ballot measure, which would allow same-sex couples to marry in the state, urging Portland residents the importance of voting in favor of the referendum in November. 

Two of the parade's grand marshals were Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, who marched with Catholics for Marriage Equality, and Portland Police Chief Mike Sauschuck. Both spoke out in support of marriage while volunteers from Mainers United worked to collect donations and sign up volunteers to canvass the state in support of marriage.  

MARYLAND:  Marylanders for Marriage Equality marched in the Baltimore Pride Parade on Saturday June 16, boasting a large banner and rallying the crowd in support of the freedom to marry in the state. In November, Maryland voters will be asked to uphold marriage for all couples in a referendum - although Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the freedom to marry into law in March, anti-gay activists have been working to overturn the law at the ballot. Now voters will need to stand up and vote YES on upholding marriage in the state. 

Marylanders for Marriage Equality combed the crowd in Baltimore, selling shirts and making sure people knew the significance of the important ballot measure in November.  

MINNESOTA: Minnesotans United for Marriage has a massive presence planned for Twin Cities Pride, which will be held on Saturday, June 23. Over 1,200 volunteers will talk with parade attendees and engage the thousands who are expected to turn out at the event. Minnesotans United will have two separate floats in the parade, as well as an extensive booth area where they will air videos and talk with attendees in order to secure enough votes for Minnesota to vote NO on the ballot initiative to constitutionally ban same-sex couples from marrying. 

Minnesotans United will also be raising money through a text-to-give campaign. Jumbotron advertising will encourage parade participants and watchers to text "freedom" to 50555 to support the freedom to marry throughout Minnesota so parade-goers can donate directly to Minnesotans United. 

Minnesotans United's volunteers will be having conversations with Pride participants about why it's so critical that the freedom to marry not be limited or restricted at the ballot this November, equipping supporters with a list of ways that they can help defeat the anti-gay, discriminatory amendment.  

WASHINGTON: Washington United for Marriage will be marching in the Seattle Pride Parade on Sunday, June 24 and raising awareness about a ballot campaign to uphold the freedom to marry in November.

Gov. Christine Gregoire, who signed the freedom to marry into law in February, will serve as one of the parade's Grand Marshals, and she will urge Washington residents to vote to approve Referendum 74, which grants marriage proctions to all couples. 

If you're attending any of these Pride events, make sure to check in with these great coalitions and figure out how you can contribute to the campaign to win marriage nationwide!