Freedom to Marry Adds Diane Abbitt, Jennifer Cast to its Boards of Directors

1/29/2013

Press Contact:
Angela Dallara
Communications Associate
angela@freedomtomarry.org
646-430-3925

New York – Today Freedom to Marry announced two new additions to its growing boards of directors: former Amazon.com Vice President and community volunteer Jennifer Cast of Seattle, and political activist, lawyer, and Equality California founder Diane Abbitt of Los Angeles. Both women have longstanding histories in LGBT and political activism, fundraising, and community work. Cast will join the Freedom to Marry, Inc. Board of Directors, where she will work to maximize public education programs that increase knowledge about why marriage matters; while Abbitt will join Freedom to Marry Action Board of Directors, where she will work directly on the states expected to defend or pass marriage for same-sex couples in their legislatures this year.

“Diane Abbitt and Jennifer Cast are passionate pioneers for equality and strong advocates for the freedom of all loving and committed couples to marry,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “They have deep roots in the lesbian community along with significant accomplishments in the larger community, and their track records of relentless service to the cause are both impressive and inspiring. We’re thrilled to have their talent and commitment on the Freedom to Marry team as we turn the momentum we built in 2011 and 2012 into more triumphs in 2013.”

"My involvement with Washington United for Marriage was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," said Cast. "I'm eager to continue my marriage advocacy work in my new role at Freedom to Marry and to help finish the job of winning marriage for all loving and committed same-sex couples across America. We have enormous opportunities this year to make strides at both the federal and state levels, and momentum is on our side. I'm thrilled to join such a stellar team."

A graduate of Yale University and Stanford Graduate School of Business, Cast began her career in investment banking at Alex. Brown & Sons. After moving into marketing and general management, Cast served as vice president of books, music, video and digital businesses at Seattle-based Amazon.com, where she helped lead the company from a start-up with just 100 employees to a worldwide e-commerce company with a staff of over 7,000. Cast also served on the board of Lambda Legal for seven years and as one of the board’s co-chairs for her two final years. Most recently, she served as the co-chair of the Finance Committee for Washington United for Marriage, a role in which she was responsible for securing the single largest individual marriage donation to date: $2.5 million from Amazon’s founder and president Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, a writer and American Book Award winner.

"Freedom to Marry's Roadmap to Victory strategy of winning more states, repealing federal marriage discrimination, and growing the majority of Americans who support marriage is critical to moving forward this year," said Abbitt. "With just a few short months before the Supreme Court issues its opinion on landmark marriage cases, we must do everything we can to create a climate where the judges can uphold fairness and freedom and confidently stand on the right side of history. I'm proud to come on board and use my experience and knowledge to bring strength to this urgently needed campaign."

Abbitt is an attorney and businesswoman who has worked in LGBT and AIDS advocacy for decades. She was the first female co-chair of the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles, the nation’s first political action committee dedicated to securing equal protections for LGBT people. She was a founding member of Equality California and later became president of its board and chair of its political action committee. Abbitt was also the founding co-president of AIDS Project Los Angeles, a board member of the National Organization for Women, and a board member of the Human Rights Campaign, where she chaired its political action committee. Abbitt was honored by Equality California in a 2010 gala and also received the Rainbow Key Award from the City of West Hollywood last year. She has practiced law for more than 30 years.

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Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.