Milestone: More freedom-to-marry states now than when SCOTUS ruled in ‘Loving v. Virginia’
October 14, 2014
UPDATED 11/24 now that same-sex couples at last have the freedom to marry in 35 states.
Last month, as a green-light from the U.S. Supreme Court and a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in 16 more states (bringing the total to 35), we passed a crucial benchmark demonstrating just how far we've come in our campaign to win the freedom to marry nationwide: We have won more freedom-to-marry states for same-sex couples (35) than we had won for interracial couples prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia (34).
Click the graphic to the right to enlargen.
In Loving v. Virginia – what Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson calls "the best-named case ever" – the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws denying the freedom to marry to interracial couples. Freedom to Marry has always looked to overturning of marriage discrimination based on race as a measure for our national strategy and campaign. From the get-go, our national strategy emphasized the need to build a critical mass of states and a critical mass of support in order to create the climate for a Loving-style national resolution, mindful of the fact that the Supreme Court had punted on interracial marriage before finally, in 1967, getting it right.
Freedom to Marry laid out a "Roadmap to Victory" that aimed to ensure that even if we failed to fully hit the Loving benchmark in one critical mass, we would exceed it in the other, and thus, together, would hit the sweet spot. But as we build from success to success, at this milestone moment, our campaign has surpassed in both states and support.
In fact, it’s been quite some time since we exceeded the public opinion benchmark set by Loving: In 1967, polls showed that 70 percent of Americans opposed the freedom to marry for interracial couples; we aimed for, and built, a majority – and now the most recent polls show that 59% of Americans support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. And as of last week, we have surpassed the total of 34 states allowing interracial marriage - an additional milestone of having what is undeniably a critical mass of states to call for final, national resolution. America is truly ready for the freedom to marry now.
Fifteen states - just 15 states - still deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples - but each state, each family, counts. As long as even one state continues to deny this fundamental freedom, real American families are being hurt. The disparity and unfairness are intolerable, and the work is not done until all are treated equally.
In the coming months, it will be more essential than ever for same-sex couples and marriage supporters from across the country to raise their voices in support of the freedom to marry. Love is winning - but we haven't won yet, and we need to do so as soon as possible so that same-sex couples in every state, in every corner of the country, are finally free to marry.
Learn more about where the freedom to marry stands in the states.