Winning More States: Where marriage stands in 4 key states this year

As we continue to celebrate the victories at the Supreme Court in June 2013, we're already hard at work on building up momentum and securing essential votes in four key state marriage campaigns. Winning these states is crucial to winning the freedom to marry nationwide. The Roadmap to Victory calls for advancing work on three tracks - through winning more states, growing the majority of Americans who support marriage for same-sex couples, and ending federal marriage discrimination - so that we can return to the U.S. Supreme Court with a critical mass of states and undeniable support in public opinion so that the Supreme Court is most likely to rule for national resolution. Winning these four states before the end of 2014 is an important step on the path to victory. Here's what's going on in each state:

The campaign to win marriage in Oregon has been enjoying a hugely successful summer as they work to secure a place on the November 2014 ballot for a ballot initiative that would repeal an anti-gay constitutional amendment and replace it with the freedom to marry. 'Oregon Says I Do,' the petition committee committed to securing the votes, has been collecting signatures this month. They've already surpassed 50,000 signatures, shattering their goal of having 10,000 signatures in the first ten days of the campaign. 'Oregon Says I Do' must collecting 116,284 valid signatures before July 3, 2014 in order to qualify for the November ballot. 

Jeana Frazzini, chief petitioner for the ballot initiative, said: "We’re off to a fantastic start, and this success shows how much enthusiasm and momentum we have for the freedom to marry in Oregon. But these campaigns are tough, and we still have an enormous amount of work to do.”

In New Jersey, the campaign to win the freedom to marry by overriding Gov. Christie's veto of the marriage bill passed with bipartisan support in 2012 is off to a great start. New Jersey United for Marriage, which launched last month with a press conference and rally in Asbury Park, officially has a robust team of field organizers on the ground in key districts, working to galvanize support and show state legislatures in New Jersey that the state is ready for the freedom to marry. 

This week, the Superior Court in New Jersey will hear oral arguments in Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow et al., a lawsuit that seeks equal protections and responsibilities for same-sex couples in New Jersey. The case argues that because of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the DOMA case striking down the central part of DOMA, New Jersey's civil union law is now out of step with the 2006 state Supreme Court ruling declaring that same-sex couples must have the same legal protections as different-sex couples in New Jersey. 

Big news out of Hawaii emerged last week as a new poll showed that voters in the state support the freedom to marry by a 23-point margin. Opposition has dropped six points since the last poll from six months ago - and now, 54 percent of voters say they support marriage, with just 31 percent saying they are opposed. 

Hawaii State Rep. Chris Lee, who has been working with Hawaii United for Marriage to support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples in HI from marriage, heralded the numbers last week. He said: "Here in Hawaii, across the nation, and around the world, public opinion has changed. Most people recognize that marriage equality is simply a matter of fairness, respect and aloha. Equality is not something you put on the back burner. The people are ready, and I am confident that the Governor and my colleagues would agree that Hawaii should resolve this issue now, on our own terms and before the flood of outside influences."

In Illinois, the campaign to win marriage is also ramping up. Illinois Unites for Marriage has deployed 20 field organizers in key districts to encourage constituents to speak out in favor of the freedom to marry and urge their representatives to support the marriage bill. With fewer than 100 days left to pass the marriage bill, Illinois Unites for Marriage has made appearances at three large community events this weekend.