Roadmap to Victory
Freedom to Marry’s goal is to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage once and for all. Drawing on the history of other social justice movements in the United States, Freedom to Marry has shaped the national strategy that – in partnership with many – has brought us to this point of extraordinary momentum and opportunity. That strategy, the "Roadmap to Victory," calls for advancing work on three tracks – winning more states, growing the majority, and ending federal discrimination – so that we can return to the U.S. Supreme Court with a critical mass of states and undeniable momentum in public opinion, the conditions history tells us are required for the Supreme Court to be most likely to rule for national resolution.
No one knows exactly when the Supreme Court will take the next marriage case - but in this dynamic period ahead, Freedom to Marry will be working the strategy of the Roadmap on two timelines. If the appeals court process in one or more of nearly 40 marriage-related lawsuits (or a case yet to be filed) moves quickly and the Court decides to hear a marriage case, we could see national resolution on the freedom to marry as early as 2015. If the Court decides to let the question linger a bit longer, we could be looking at a ruling in 2017 or later. While we cannot control the timing of when the Court will act, we do know the pathway forward - and we believe that we can win in a matter of years, not decades.
The Roadmap to Victory reflects the steps required to win marriage nationwide. Read more about each of the tracks below - for more detail, read the July 2013 document that updated the Roadmap to Victory [PDF], and see what the recent court victories mean in the context of the strategy to win nationwide as soon as possible in our January 2014 document The Pathway Forward [PDF].
Win More States
We secured the freedom to marry in 17 states and our nation’s capital. Using the struggle against race discrimination in marriage as a measure, that is still far short of the 34 states that had ended race-based marriage discrimination when the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia (1967). While there is no mathematical formula for the needed critical mass, we must win more states than we have now. Each year provides opportunities to win more states, overturn the anti-gay constitutional amendments pushed through over the past decade, and increase momentum for the freedom to marry.
With undeniable momentum from the federal win and increasing pressures and opportunities stemming from litigation (see all pending marriage litigation here) and ballot-measure efforts, Freedom to Marry is fast-tracking its proven strategy for winning states in all three manners available – through the legislature, at the ballot, and in court.
To learn more about the freedom to marry in the states, visit Freedom to Marry's States Page.
Grow The Majority For Marriage
To create a climate that empowers elected officials and judges to do the right thing, we also need to grow and diversify majority support for the freedom to marry nationwide. Again using Loving as a measure, we are doing well, having moved from just about a quarter of public support 15 years ago to above majority support today – far better than the 70% of Americans who opposed interracial marriage in 1967.
Over the past four years, Freedom to Marry and our partners have reshaped the national conversation on marriage around winning messages focused on love, commitment, and freedom, while highlighting the journey stories of people in the "moveable middle." This shift away from a focus on abstract rights and benefits has been crucial to the exponential growth in support for marriage.
Moving forward, Freedom to Marry will continue to increase and diversify the national support for marriage, leading the way in efforts to change hearts and minds through powerful messengers and groundbreaking research with the new goal of getting public support for the freedom to marry over 60% by 2016.
To read more about recent polling demonstrating consistent majority support for marriage, visit Freedom to Marry's Polling Resource. To find more information on why marriage matters to same-sex couples, visit Freedom to Marry's page on why marriage matters.
End Federal Marriage Discrimination
Since the Supreme Court decision struck down a central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, Freedom to Marry has guided a multi-faceted strategy to ensure that same-sex couples who are legally married are treated as such by the federal government for all federal programs and purposes. To ensure full and fair implementation of the ruling across all programs and across the country, Freedom to Marry helped to guide work with the Obama administration. We have proudly worked closely with, and relied on the expertise of, our movement’s legal organizations.
In addition, Freedom to Marry leads the work on Capitol Hill to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA in its entirety and codify that crucial programs, such as income tax and Social Security spousal and survivor benefits, must treat all married couples equally, no matter where they live. Our bipartisan federal team has helped amplify support for the Respect for Marriage Act and grow the number of cosponsors. We will continue to expand the Respect for Marriage Coalition, which Freedom to Marry created and co-chairs with HRC.
To find out more about the federal landscape for the freedom to marry, visit Freedom to Marry's federal page on marriage.