TALKING: The 12th Annual Freedom to Marry Week Begins Today

Chief Blogger: Evan Wolfson

Today marks the first day of the 12th Annual Freedom to Marry Week. Across the nation, there are activities being planned in churches, homes, schools, businesses, government offices and community spaces. For more information, visit the link. It’s a time to recommit ourselves to talking about why it is important to end this discrimination and what each person can do about it.

Over the next six days, we’ve asked some very special people to share their voices about equality in marriage today. They include leaders from faith communities, labor, academia, gay rights. They are mothers and fathers, grandparents and children, husbands and wives -- all lifting their voices for the freedom to marry.

Conversations with the circles of people around us are the prerequisite to winning, the key to helping them push past their discomfort, complacency, or indifference to becoming supportive of our equality. We can't assume that just because people like us or are pro-gay (or even gay), they get it. It's our job to connect the dots. That means making a personal ask, talking about our actual lives, and explaining how the denial of marriage affects us day to day and in times of crisis.

So why does marriage matter to me? Well, as I wrote five years ago in my book, Why Marriage Matters, this is about "Love. Commitment. Fairness. Freedom. It’s hard to think of values that matter more to most of us—as human beings, as family members, or as Americans. They are values central to most people’s definition of the right to marry, the values at the heart of the ongoing national conversation about ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage."

We hope you will join us throughout the week – and, most importantly, do your part, as the best ambassador there can be for the people in your life who know and care about you. See who’s speaking out for marriage equality each day and share your comments. We want to hear everyone’s voice, because only together will we achieve the freedom to marry for all.

Let's make 2009 a year of tremendous progress!

Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of "Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry" is also the founder of Freedom to Marry Week.