Jo Deutsch, the Federal Director for Freedom to Marry from 2011-2015, led the campaign's Washington, D.C.-based work to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and overturn the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" to end federal marriage discrimination. As Federal Director, Jo was responsible for elevating Freedom to Marry’s conversation about marriage inside the beltway and grow momentum and support for winning the freedom to marry at the federal level. As Freedom to Marry’s chief federal lobbyist, with her decades of experience as a federal lobbyist, she utilized Congressmembers, their staff, as well as the White House and Administration to build support inside the beltway while enhancing overall field activities. She also oversaw key Freedom to Marry programs – Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry and the Respect for Marriage Coalition - to build momentum both inside the beltway as well as in the states. This work showed national opinion-makers that America was ready for the freedom to marry and that marriage discrimination created real harms for couples who could not marry.
Jo's political career and activism began at 13 when she joined the National Organization for Women in Miami, Florida. Since then, she has dedicated both her personal and professional life to fighting for equality and rights for women, the LGBT community and the labor movement. Combining all her passions, Jo fought for the rights of working women and men including LGBT members while leading the federal legislative and political campaigns at the Association of Flight Attendants, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Jo lives in Maryland with her wife, Teresa. One week before their 30th anniversary, Jo and Teresa got married on May 18th, 2013 in their adopted home state of Maryland. Their three children walked them down the aisle. In addition, Jo was picked as one of "100 Women We Love!" by Go! Magazine for its Class of 2012 in the Summer 2012 issue.