Freedom to Marry’s National Engagement Party Raises $500,000 for Ballot Battles
Brings State Investment to $4.5 Million for 2011-2012
Nicole Collins Bronzan
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry
New York –The National Engagement Party, Freedom to Marry’s nationwide series of house parties and special events, has raised $500,000 for states voting on marriage in November. This influx of cash brings the total that Freedom to Marry will have invested into the four ballot states to $4.5 million in 2011-2012.
In addition to direct support, Freedom to Marry has helped raise an additional $2.4 million for public education and groundwork persuasion in the four states, for a total of $6.9 million. Freedom to Marry is the largest out-of-state funder of three of the four state campaigns this year.
The New York party, hosted by Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman on Oct. 13, raised $300,000 and included special guest Congressman Jerrold Nadler, lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Other special guests at the Freedom to Marry events included Emmy-Award winning actress Jane Lynch in Los Angeles (Oct. 7); “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion in Miami (Oct. 13); author and activist Zach Wahls in Washington, DC (Oct. 13); and “Tonight Show” star Ross Mathews in Palm Springs (Oct. 6).
In addition to six anchor parties, 25 grassroots house parties were held from Albany, Ga., to Lincoln Park, Mich., to Carmel, Calif.
“With the momentum for marriage and our goal of winning one or more ballot battles in November, Freedom to Marry keeps upping the bar – and our supporters and friends continue to dig deeper and rise higher as together we engage in the work to win,” said Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry. “Supporters of the freedom to marry know that with three weeks until voters cast their ballots, we need all hands on deck as we work toward state wins that advance the campaign to win nationwide.”
Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. Its central support for marriage work includes a team of experienced political operatives, deep messaging and new media expertise and coordination, cutting-edge programming, and strategic leadership -- in addition to preeminence as an engine of funding for the freedom to marry cause.
Funds raised through the National Engagement Party will go to Freedom to Marry’s Win More States Fund and be used to support the ballot fights in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. Although Freedom to Marry met its initial ambitious Win More States Fund goal earlier this summer – raising and investing $3 million to provide the campaigns with critical early money for TV buys, field organizers, and other elements of making the case to voters – it redoubled its efforts to meet the campaigns’ continuing need for funds.
During the 2011-12 two-year cycle, Freedom to Marry will have raised and invested more than $14 million into the campaign to win marriage nationwide, compared to $4 million in the previous cycle, an increase of nearly 300 percent. These investments fund Freedom to Marry’s work to win more states, grow the majority for marriage, and end federal discrimination, and make Freedom to Marry the leading funder of marriage work in the country.
The National Engagement Party’s honorary host committee included strong marriage advocates such as Academy Award-nominated actress Anne Hathaway; author and columnist Dan Savage, who founded the It Gets Better project with his partner, Terry Miller; Thomas Roberts, an MSNBC news anchor who got married this month; trailblazing advocate Bishop Gene Robinson; Academy and Emmy award winning screenwriter, producer, and playwright Aaron Sorkin; Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick; Ricky Martin; and many others. House party hosts who raised $2,500 or more will be eligible to win a trip for two to Mexico or the Caribbean, sponsored by Orbitz, the official travel sponsor of the event. The media sponsor for the National Engagement Party is Here Media, which operates the Advocate, Out, Gay.com, Shewired.com, and more.
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.