Southerners for the Freedom to Marry expands in Tennessee and Kentucky
May 30, 2014
As marriage cases continue to progress quickly through the courts across the country, Freedom to Marry is proud to be working with our partners at Campaign for Southern Equality, Tennessee Equality Project, and the Fairness Campaign of Kentucky to expand our efforts and bring marriage to loving, gay couples in the South.
Earlier this year in partnership with 16 state and regional organizations and 14 co-chairs, we formed Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, a public education effort that includes grassroots organizing, paid advertising, and digital strategy.
Just last week, more than a dozen faith leaders in Kentucky stood on the steps of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church in Louisville to show that they support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples because of their faith, not in spite of it. Read more about that moving press conference, and some quotes from the faith leaders who were there, here.
Last month, I joined the Tennessee Equality Project in Nashville and Jackson for public meetings with marriage supporters, couples, and families, as we continue to work to find new ways to share the compelling stories of same-sex couples who deserve the freedom to marry.
A record-high Washington Post poll found that 50% of Southerners support marriage for same-sex couples. In Tennessee and Kentucky, federal judges have invoked constitutional guarantees of equal protection, concluding these states must respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states. The rulings are now on appeal before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway joined other state attorneys general in several states by concluding that the state’s marriage discrimination could not be defended under the Constitution.
"The marriage conversation has come to every corner of the country, including Kentucky and Tennessee, and together with our strong new partners, Freedom to Marry wants to ensure that the voices of families and supporters are heard alongside the judges who are ruling in their favor,” said Evan Wolfson, President of Freedom to Marry. “The South is home to hundreds of thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples – and to a majority of the more than 70 federal marriage cases now underway in courts across the nation. Growing southern support will add to the momentum that will end marriage discrimination nationwide.”
"We’re proud of our strong partnership with Freedom to Marry as we strive to achieve marriage equality all across the South,” said Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Southerners now support the freedom to marry at unprecedented levels as they understand how their friends and neighbors are personally harmed by discriminatory marriage bans. Our WE DO Campaign tells the stories of loving, committed couples who seek to marry, and Freedom to Marry’s longstanding support is instrumental in this effort.”