Staff Spotlight: Jo Deutsch, Federal Director

Freedom to Marry has a dedicated and diverse staff working each day to secure the freedom to marry nationwide, and we want to help you get to know each of us a little bit better. This week, we hear from Jo Deutsch, Freedom to Marry's Federal Director. She works in Washington, D.C., overseeing our campaign in the nation's capital. Jo has been an activist for a number of different movements, including the women's movement, the labor movement, and the LGBT movement, and she has worked specifically for the Association of Flight Attendants, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Earlier this month, GO Magazine, one of the nation's leading lesbian publications, featured Jo in their list of "100 Women We Love." She lives with her partner and their three children.

1) Where are you from, and what brought you to Washington, D.C.? 

I am originally from Miami, Florida and moved to the Washington, D.C. area 29 years ago with my partner to attend graduate school.  Having been bitten by the political bug early in my life, it just seemed logical to remain in the nation's capitol after graduation so I could fight for the rights of women, union members and the LGBT community.

2) Tell us about your advocacy for women. How do your advocacy for women and your advocacy for the LGBT community intersect? 

I joined the National Organization for Women when I was 13 and have been a lifelong member and activist.  My closest friends at NOW were mostly lesbians so feminism and the LGBT movement was always one in the same for me.  When I finally came out at 22, the intersection became a convergence - all one in the same - women's rights, LGBT rights and worker's rights. 

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

My free time is spent with my wonderful family - my partner of 29 years and our 3 incredible children. 

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

My favorite freedom to marry moment is actually moments.  Most remarkable to me is the constant momentum and movement forward.  I love that something new and great happens all the time and there never seems to be a day that we are not propelled forward with more amazing and positive news.  Knowing that I am in the middle of this amazing movement is my favorite "moment."  I love not having quiet and peaceful days and knowing that at the end of this chaos, DOMA will be repealed and we will have the freedom to marry in this country.

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

I have been fortunate to have very supportive parents, siblings, and friends. Yet, despite that, without the legal protections of a marriage license, my partner and I live in fear that something will happen to one of us and without the license, we do not have legal protections to protect our family. Taking care of each other and our kids is crucially important to us, and that is why the freedom to marry is essential to us. In addition, our daughter really wants to be a flower girl at our wedding - and making that happen - as well, as celebrating our commitment to each other with our entire family would be a dream come true. 

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