Staff Spotlight: Cameron Tolle, Online Campaign Manager

Freedom to Marry has a dedicated and diverse staff working each day to secure the freedom to marry nationwide. Over the next several weeks, we'll be helping you get to know each of them a little bit better. This week, we hear from Cameron Tolle, Freedom to Marry's Online Campaign Manager. Before coming to Freedom to Marry, Cameron worked on a number of marriage campaigns, including in Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island. He graduated cum laude from Xavier University with a BA in Philosophy, Politics & the Public, with an emphasis in Gender & Diversity Studies.

1) Where are you from, and what brought you to New York City?

I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and went to school in Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved to NYC in June 2010 to start work at Freedom to Marry. 

2) What is your favorite place in the world?

NYC, of course! Every time I leave the city, I'm always so excited to get back I can hardly stand it. If I need to be specific, let's go with laying on a blanket in Prospect Park on a Saturday afternoon in May. 

3) What do you like to do in your free time?

I'm a bit of a music addict, so I spend a lot of time downloading and listening to new music and going to concerts. I spend a lot of time with my friends, and I love a good roadtrip. And I'm always down for trying a new vegetarian or vegan restaurant in the city.

4) What has been your favorite "freedom to marry" moment - a time in the movement that has particularly resonated with you?

That's a hard one - we've had a lot of historic moments in the marriage movement, particularly in the last year. But hands down, the night we won marriage in New York was the most significant moment I've experienced in this movement so far. We had been waiting for weeks for the Senate to bring the bill to a vote and finally on Friday night (the Friday night of Pride!), we found out that we were getting that long-awaited vote. Once it passed, I literally heard roaring in the street and looked out my window to see people running down the street, screaming, completely ecstatic about what we had just accomplished. That'll be a hard moment to top.

5) Why does the freedom to marry matter to you?

For me, it's really personal. Not only because I'm gay, but because I grew up living part-time with my mom and her partner at the time and have experienced firsthand just how hurtful the denial of marriage can be. Not only in terms of the protections and security we were denied, but because of the shame that me and my siblings were supposed to feel at a young age. No kid should be forced to feel ashamed of their family, and as we continue to grow the number of states where gay and lesbian couples can marry and the stories of gay and lesbian families are told in the media, more kids will know that they aren't alone and that their families are deserving of respect and recognition.

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