Freedom to Marry Announces Win More States Fund

3/22/2012

Campaign Aims to Raise and Spend $3 Million in State Battles in 2012

Press Contact:
Jackie Yodashkin
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry
jackie@freedomtomarry.org 
917-620-4502

New York – Today Freedom to Marry announced the Win More States Fund to raise at least $3 million dollars, every penny of which will be spent directly on the work of winning in five 2012 marriage battleground states: MaineMinnesotaNew HampshireNew Jersey, and Washington.
   
“Winning marriage at the ballot in even one state will take away the last desperate talking-point our opponents use to disparage the gains we are making across the country,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide.  “In each of our battleground states, Freedom to Marry is taking a lead role alongside local families and leaders, adding talent and resources on the frontlines to do the critical work necessary to win.”

Donations to the Win More States Fund will be channeled strategically into targeted campaigns where and when most needed, supporting grassroots organizing, television and radio spots, new media programs, and more, aimed at winning in these five states. Yesterday saw the first victory in a Win More States Fund battleground when the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down legislation that would have repealed the state’s two year-old freedom to marry law.  Freedom to Marry was the largest financial investor in the campaign with staff deeply involved, and will continue its work to preserve the freedom to marry in the Granite State.  

“There are many challenges and opportunities tapping donors this election year, and by maximizing donations strategically through the Win More States Fund, contributors and state campaigns will get the added bang for the buck of Freedom to Marry’s team and the lessons learned from prior battles,” Wolfson added.  “Our bipartisan victory in New Hampshire shows we know the winning recipe.”

Freedom to Marry has already raised $700,000 toward its initial $3 million goal – including a kick-off donation of $250,000 from Freedom to Marry supporters Sean Eldridge and Chris Hughes – and, in turn, has already invested $350,000 into ongoing campaigns to defend marriage in New Hampshire and win the freedom to marry in New Jersey.  "With numerous marriage cases heading to the Supreme Court, there is nothing more important than growing momentum and winning the freedom to marry in more states.  Freedom to Marry is leading the charge to win marriage in more states in 2012, which is why Chris and I are proud to contribute to the Win More States Fund," said Sean Eldridge, president of Hudson River Ventures.

Richard Carlbom, Campaign Manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign to defeat an anti-gay amendment at the MN ballot in November said of the fund, "Freedom to Marry has been a key partner in paving the way for a victory in Minnesota at the ballot box in November. They've rolled up their sleeves, built bridges for our campaign, and are committed to fighting to win.  I am thrilled that Freedom to Marry is adding this powerful way to encourage more donors to contribute more urgently needed resources into the work we're doing together."

In addition to these battleground efforts, Freedom to Marry has long invested in public education that creates the climate for changing hearts and minds, as well as the law.  In 2011 Freedom to Marry launched its national persuasion campaignWhy Marriage Matters, raising and spending an initial one million dollars on message development and delivery, including the creation of television spots and videos and deployment of powerful messengers and personal stories.  Freedom to Marry also seeks to triple that level of investment to continue making the case for why marriage matters across the country, growing the national majority for marriage that creates a climate for elected officials and judges to rise to fairness.

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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.