The Top 12 pop culture freedom to marry moments in July

In the entertainment and pop culture world, the freedom to marry continues to gain traction and hit the mainstream. The month of July saw several pop culture moments where the freedom to marry faced significant visibility.

Here, we take a look at twelve marriage moments from this month, including social icons to help you celebrate your wedding, huge financial and moral support from celebrities and corporate moguls, and a male Cinderella who wants to "legalize love."

Positive media representation for the freedom to marry is of utmost importance at this critical time in the movement, and we are thrilled to see such a diversity of voices - hip-hop artists, politicians, singers, and the newspaper of record - speaking up or demonstrating why marriage matters.

Facebook launches marriage icons for same-sex couples

On July 2, Facebook added same-sex marriage icons for LGBT couples to be able to declare their marital status. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Freedom to Marry's senior adviser Sean Eldridge were one of the first to have an icon of two grooms added to their Facebook timeline. Allison Palmer of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation commented on the change, saying: "Following Facebook's addition of domestic partnership and civil union to profile options last year, these new marriage icons for timeline are another important way for same-sex couples to be recognized. ... This move is the latest in a series of measures Facebook has taken to support and include the LGBT community, which earned it the distinction of being the first social media company to receive a GLAAD Media Award earlier this year." READ MORE

Bill Gates and Steve Balmer donate $100,000 toward upholding the freedom to marry

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Balmer each donated $100,000 to support Washington United for Marriage, the statewide campaign to uphold Washington's freedom to marry law that passed in February of this year. The duo became the latest big business leaders to contribute their name, profile, and funding to the cause. READ MORE



Frank Ocean reveals that he's been in love with a man

On Independence Day, Frank Ocean celebrated his freedom to honestly express himself when he published a photo from his album liner notes on his Tumblr blog telling fans that his first love was a man. Ocean has since received praises from the likes of Russell Simmons, Tyler the Creator, Beyonce, Jay-Z and others for sharing this part of his life. Commenting on Ocean's honesty hip-hop artist 50 Cent said: "It could be revolutionary or it could be a tragedy. You can call it brave or you can call it marketing, because it was intentional; it wasn't an accident." Just weeks before, 50 Cent also announced, "Obama is for same-sex marriage. If the president is saying that, then who am I to go the other way?" READ MORE

Katy Perry says she supports President Obama's position on the freedom to marry

Katy Perry's 3-D concert documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me hit theaters on July 5, giving moviegoers an inside look at her personal life. Leading up to the film's release, Parade magazine asked Perry about her reaction to President Obama's support of same-sex marriage. Here's what the "Firework"-singer had to say: "I was really happy; I probably went down to West Hollywood and had a shot. I came from a different mind-set growing up, and my mind has changed. My viewpoint on all these things-equality for women, the choice to love anyone you want-hopefully, we will look back at this moment and think like we do now concerning [other] civil rights issues. We'll just shake our heads in disbelief, saying, 'Thank God we've evolved.' That would be my prayer for the future." READ MORE

Barney Frank marries partner Jim Ready

U.S. Congressman Barney Frank married partner Jim Ready along the banks of the Charles River in Newton, Mass on July 7. In doing so, Rep. Frank became the first member of the United States House of Representatives to marry someone of the same sex. Guests at the wedding included House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator John Kerry and Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich and Steny H. Hoyer. READ MORE


The New York Times urges Supreme Court to overturn DOMA

Opinion leader New York Times published an editorial in mid-July urging the Supreme Court to take on one or more federal cases that would find the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional for limiting federal recognition of marriage to only mixed sex couples. The article reads: "The legal challenge over federal benefits is a matter separate from the broader question of whether gay people have a constitutional right to marry, which the justices may soon reach as well. Meanwhile, Congress has no authority to enact unconstitutional laws that violate equal protection, disrespect valid marriages and mistreat gay people and their families. As the nation moves toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, there should be at least five justices willing to say that." READ MORE

Bryan Cranston advocates for the freedom to marry in new video

Emmy Award-winning Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, along with wife Robin and daughter Taylor, joined the Human Rights Campaign's Americans for Marriage Equality campaign filming a video that went online July 12. With his family at his side, Cranston shares his views on the freedom to marry and comments, "Gay and lesbian couples should have every right to experience the joys of marriage and family that we do." WATCH THE VIDEO


The Muppets end relationship with Chick-Fil-A

Creators of The Muppets announced via Facebook that they have cut ties with Chick-Fil-A. The comany commented on the decision by citing Chick-Fil-A's unapologetic donation of money to anti-gay causes. The Facebook post reads: "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over 50 years, and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD. Chick-Fil-A has recently gone under the spotlight after the company's President Dan Cathy said letting gay and lesbian couples marry is "inviting god's judgment" and that he supports the biblical definition of marriage. READ MORE

New York celebrates first full year of the freedom to marry

July 24 marked the first anniversary of legal marriages between same-sex couples in New York. According to a survey conducted by NYC & Co., the city's marketing and tourism office, and the city clerk's office, at least 8,200 same-sex marriage licenses were issued in New York City alone, which accounts for 10 percent of the 75,000 wedding licenses issued in the city in the last year. New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the proposed legislation into law on June 24, 2011. To celebrate, Freedom to Marry interviewed seven New York couples who had married in the past year and shared their stories with all of our supporters. READ MORE

Cinderfella becomes a star-studded Internet smash

Former American Idol contestant Todrick Hall rounded up celebrities Lance Bass, Janice Dickinson, Aubrey O' Day, Deniel Franzese, and Rupaul's Drag Race contestants Willam and Shangela to give a new twist to a classic Disney story by reimagining Cinderella with a gay male protagonist. Hall said, "This story speaks volumes and I think that love is as classic as this fairy tale. It's time for us to legalize love in all shapes and forms." WATCH THE VIDEO and READ MORE


Target publishes print advertisement featuring same-sex couple

Target joined companies such as J.C. Penny and the Gap in tailoring a new advertisement featuring same-sex couples for their new push to ask same-sex couples to register their wedding at Target. Despite Target's involvement and controversial donations to a anti-gay group known as MN Forward during the 2011 elections, the ad shows how companies are changing and embracing the freedom to marry as polls continue to demonstrate majority approval for the freedom to marry. READ MORE 


The Olympic Games feature over 20 out Olympic athletes

July 27 marked the kickoff of the 2012 Olympics. London 2012 features around 10,500 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees, with 21 openly gay or lesbian athletes ranking among the participants. Chris Basiurski, a gay Olympic Torch bearer, recently grabbed some of the spotlight when he kissed his long-term boyfriend in front of a crowd before lighting his torch. The couple plans to marry next year. READ MORE