Thank You for supporting the National Engagement Party!

This Saturday, October 13, hundreds of people across the country joined together for the National Engagement Party, our fundraiser to win marriage at the ballot in one or more of the states where the freedom to marry will be put to a vote. In four anchor cities - New York CitySan FranciscoWashington, D.C. and Miami - and dozens of house parties, marriage supporters came together to raise funds and raise a glass (or two) to the four ballot states: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. The October 13 national event was preceded by last weekend's anchor events in Palm Springs and Los Angeles

Through the National Engagement Party, Freedom to Marry raised $500,000 for the ballot battles. This influx of cash brings the total that Freedom to Marry will invest in the ballot campaigns to $4.5 million for the 2011-2012 cycle. In addition to this direct support, Freedom to Marry has helped to raise an additional $2.4 million for public education and groundwork persuasion in the states, bringing the total to $6.9 million. Freedom to Marry is the largest out-of-state funder of three of the four state campaigns. The money raised from the National Engagement Party will benefit the Win More States Fund, 100 percent of which benefits the state campaigns. 

A number of special guests attended each of the parties. In New York City, where former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman served as host, wrestler Hudson Taylor, radio personality Michelangelo Signorile, and Congressman Jerry Nadler, lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act (the bill that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act) were all in attendance. Emmy-winning Glee actress Jane Lynch attended and spoke at the Los Angeles event last weekend; newly engaged Good Morning America weatherman Sam Champion came to the Miami party; Tonight Show star Ross Mathews came to the Palm Springs event; and activist and ally Zach Wahls, who spoke last month at the Democratic National Convention, stopped by the Washington, D.C. party. 

Our founder and president Evan Wolfson commented on the great success of the National Engagement Party today. 

With the momentum for marriage and our goal of winning one or more ballot battles in November, Freedom to Marry keeps upping the bar - and our supporters and friends continue to dig deeper and rise higher as together we engage in the work to win. Supporters of the freedom to marry know that with three weeks until voters cast their ballots, we need all hands on deck as we work toward state wins that advance the campaign to win nationwide. 

Freedom to Marry thanks all of our amazing co-chairs, co-hosts, and supporters in each of the anchor event cities, as well as our 25 grassroots house party hosts, for their wonderful work on making the National Engagement Party a rousing success.

We also thank our National Engagement Party sponsors - our travel sponsor Orbitz, our media sponsor Here Media, which operates The Advocate, Out, Gay.com, Shewired.com, and Geoffrey Kors & James Williamson.