Swelling NYC Event for National Engagement Party Event Moves to Raise More Funds for Ballot Fights
2 Kickoff Parties Over Weekend
New York – On the heels of two kickoff events last weekend for the National Engagement Party, a nationwide series of house parties to raise awareness and funds for states voting on marriage in November, Freedom to Marry is moving its popular New York City event to a larger venue with an eye toward brining in even more support.
The New York party, hosted by Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman on Oct. 13, will now take place at Canoe Studios in Chelsea, to accommodate more than 200 guests, including Congressman Jerrold Nadler, lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. Grassroots house parties will happen the same night across the country, as well as sponsored events in Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, where activist and author Zach Wahls will be a special guest.
The Los Angeles event, hosted by Dean Hansell on Oct. 7, featured an appearance by Emmy Award winning actress Jane Lynch. Other attendees included Assemblymember Betsy Butler, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, and West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran.
The Palm Springs party, on Oct. 6, was hosted by Warren "Woody" Wood and Doug Hairgrove, who have been together for more than 50 years. It was attended by “Chelsea Lately” and “Tonight Show” star Ross Mathews; and Ron Wallen, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at this year's Respect for Marriage Act hearing. Wallen had to move out of his home after the death of his husband, Tom, because the so-called Defense of Marriage Act renders Ron ineligible to collect Tom's Social Security benefits.
The funds raised from all the parties will go to Freedom to Marry’s to 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 that provided the campaigns with valuable early money useful for TV buys and other ways of making the case to voters -- the campaigns still need more funds, so Freedom to Marry is redoubling its efforts to bring in more support.
The National Engagement Party’s growing honorary host committee includes 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, a news anchor on MSNBC who got married last week; trailblazing advocate Bishop Gene Robinson; Academy and Emmy award winning screenwriter, producer, and playwright Aaron Sorkin; and many others. House party hosts who raise $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.