Freedom to Marry Launches New Story Center to Showcase Unfair Patchwork of Discrimination
Nicole Collins Bronzan
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry
New York -- With continuing momentum for marriage from legislative wins earlier this year and the Supreme Court’s historic freedom to marry decisions in June, Freedom to Marry launched a new online Story Center today to gather and showcase compelling voices from across the United States, making the case for ending marriage discrimination. The stories highlight the house divided created by the denial of marriage, with those in freedom to marry states now respected for federal and state marriage protections while those living in discriminating states are denied respect, state protections, and even some federal protections.
The Freedom to Marry Story Center, which also features a form for others to share their stories – a time-tested way to change hearts and minds – can be viewed here: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/story
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said, “The house divided created by marriage discrimination cannot stand. All couples should have the freedom to marry, and all marriages should be fully respected under the law, throughout our country. By telling our stories and reaching out to the reachable, we can continue growing the majority for marriage and create the climate for the next wave of decision-makers – lawmakers, judges, and, in time, justices – to end this untenable and unfair patchwork of denial and secure the freedom to marry nationwide.”
In the “Let’s Celebrate” category, Freedom to Marry and the Devotion project released a video today featuring Brian Cantor and Paul Labrecque, of New York City, who have been together more than 25 years and married in 2011. Labrecque can now sponsor Cantor for a green card just like any other American spouse. "Marriage is the part where you say, 'I'm going to be there till the end of your life in this life,” Cantor says in the video, “and if there is another life, I know our eternal souls will be bonded together."
Other couples featured in the Freedom to Marry Story Center include:
- No Time to Wait: Tim Hare and Earl Ball, of Easton, PA, who married in Canada in 2003, have been together 37 years, 25 of them in Pennsylvania. Now they are selling their house as a first step to moving to New York, where their marriage will be respected. "It's with great relief and sadness that we make this choice," says Hare, in remission from advanced cancer. "But we have to stop pretending that we have civil rights in Pennsylvania."
- We Want to Marry at Home: Natalie Fox and Leah Nichols, who recently moved from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans, have been together seven years and have a 2-year-old son. They are committed to marrying in the South. "We love each other. We take care of each other. We support each other financially, emotionally, intellectually. We sacrifice for each other,” Nichols said. Still, “we're not recognized legally as a family.”
- Married, But Not Respected at Home: Mark Maxwell and Timothy Young of Winston-Salem, NC, who married in Washington, DC, this year after 22 years together. They have four adopted sons and are fighting for equality in their home state. “We know that all families should matter - but these laws basically say that all families do not matter,” Maxwell said. “They must be repealed so that our government can acknowledge that we do matter and that we have an equal place at the table.”
All the couples showcased in the Story Center are available for interviews.
The Story Center is one element of Freedom to Marry’s “Roadmap to Victory – Finishing the Job,” released last month, which calls for setting the stage for a successful return to the Supreme Court by ensuring that by the end of 2016, a majority of Americans live in a marriage state, polls show public support for the freedom to marry above 60%, and federal marriage discrimination has been eliminated through passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
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.