Freedom to Marry Voices of Equality
Each of us has influence on the circles of people around us, and in the ongoing civil rights conversations about marriage, everyone's voice matters. Freedom to Marry's Voices of Equality include a diverse group of prominent Americans speaking out against discrimination in marriage.
From spiritual leaders to playwrights to politicians, these non-gay and gay women and men are refusing to be silent at a time when America's promise of equality is at stake and when fairness for all families requires ending the exclusion of same-sex couples and their kids from marriage.
Mayor Rocky Anderson | Founder of High Road for Human Rights
Anderson, a long-time proponent of gay rights and advocate for marriage equality, served as Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah from 2000-2008. He was Host City Mayor during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. Before serving as Mayor, he was listed in Best Lawyers in America, served as Chair of the Utah State Bar Litigation Section, and was Editor-in-Chief of Voir Dire legal journal. He served as President of the boards of the Utah affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, Citizens for Penal Reform, and Guadalupe Education Programs. He was a board member of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and Common Cause of Utah.
Randall C. Bailey | Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Hebrew Bible at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA
Dr. Bailey is married to Ms. D. Jean Lewis Bailey, formerly of Memphis, TN, and they have two young adult children, Omari and Imani. He is the author of numerous articles on the Hebrew Bible. He concentrates on the relationship of Ancient Africa and the Hebrew Bible and he specializes in ideological criticism, especially as regards the intersections of race, gender, class, sex, sexuality, nationality and power in the biblical text.
Christine Chavez | Political Director of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW)
Named one of the top Latinas of 2004 by Latina Magazine for her longtime involvement with civil rights issues — in particular her recent work to give same sex couples to right to marry under the law — Christine Chavez has a made a lifetime commitment to public service, civil rights and the labor movement.
Mayor Richard M. Daley | Mayor of Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has earned a national reputation for his innovative, community-based programs to address education, public safety, neighborhood development and other challenges facing American cities. Time magazine, in its April 25, 2005 issue, said Daley "is widely viewed as the nation's top urban executive."
Dakota Fine | Activist
Dakota Fine, 24, based in Washington, DC, is employed by the Human Rights Campaign, division of Public Education and Outreach. Dakota has been an outspoken and valued member of the VOE/COLAGE radio tour, speaking out across our nation on behalf of our families.
Rev. Michael Eric Dyson | Minister, author, civil rights leader
Named by Essence magazine as one of the 50 most inspiring African Americans, Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of eleven books, including his latest, Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?
Lama Surya Das | One of the foremost American Lamas in the Buddhist tradition
Lama Das, a Massachusetts resident, has spent thirty-five years studying Zen, vipassana, yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism with the great masters of Asia, including the Dalai Lama's own teachers, and has twice completed the traditional three year meditation retreat at his teacher's Tibetan monastery.
Kim Gandy | President of the National Organization for Women (NOW)
Gandy served as a long-time advocate for women's and children's rights in her home state of Louisiana before assuming the leadership of the nation's largest women's organization.
Marina Gatto | Activist
Bay Area resident Gatto has been a constant fixture in the media as a spokesperson for the LGBT community since the age of eight. As a child of two lesbian moms, she has served as an activist for Equality California/ Marriage Equality California, COLAGE, Immigration Equality, Love Sees No Borders, and GLSEN.
Mary Kay Henry | Executive Vice President, the Service Employees International Union
Mary Kay is an active champion of health care reform, immigration reform, and gay and lesbian rights, and a founding member of SEIU's gay and lesbian Lavender Caucus. She and her partner, Paula Macchello, have been together for almost 20 years.
James Hormel | Philanthropist
James Hormel is a philanthropist living in San Francisco. He served as Dean of University of Chicago Law School, was a member of the 1996 U.S. delegations to the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the boards of directors of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. He was appointed United States Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999.
Dolores Huerta | President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for Community Organizing and Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW)
Dolores Huerta is currently the President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for Community Organizing. She co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar E. Chavez and holds the emeritus positions of the UFW as Secretary Treasurer and First Vice President.
Alice Huffman | President of the California State Conference of the NAACP
Alice A. Huffman was elected president of the California State Conference of the NAACP in October 1999, where she is the first woman to hold this post. In 2002 she was elected to the NAACP National Board of Directors, representing Region 1. As the state President Ms. Huffman leads 67 local branches, more than 30 college chapters and youth units. With her leadership, they are continuing to fight for the civil rights and equality for people of color.
Congressman John Lewis | United States House of Representatives (D-GA)
Congressman Lewis is a nationally-recognized civil rights leader and last living speaker from the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington.
Nila Marrone | Co-coordinator of Families of Color and Allies (FOCAA) PFLAG in NYC, the first chapter dedicated to reaching out to families of color in the U.S.
Nila Marrone is a Bolivian American and emeritus professor from the University of Connecticut. Since her retirement in 1997, she has been a full-time volunteer for PFLAG and other organizations that work for equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. Her passion is educating families and society at large to move them from homophobia to acceptance to the celebration of LGBT persons.
Rev. Thomas J.S. Mikelson | Parish Minister of the First Church and First Parish of Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist
A visiting lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, Rev. Mikelson is a student of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the author of many works about the civil rights leader.
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson | The ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the US.
Gene Robinson's life is a compelling story of challenges overcome by hard work, intelligence, humor, love, and deep faith. It is also a story of one man's journey into his own "otherness"; of courage found and integrity retained; and the emergence of a ministry that speaks to countless people who believe in a Gospel of love and inclusion, and want the church to reflect that vision.
Bishop John L. Selders, Jr. | Organizing pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ, Hartford, CT, Program Coordinator of Zezzo House and Lead Principal for The Human Connection Project.
The Right Reverend John L. Selders, Jr. is an ordained minister and the loving spouse of Pamela and father of two, Alisia (daughter), Jay (son) and grandfather of one, Makenzie. He serves in leadership on a number of boards and works with several organizations both locally and nationally whose work is ultimately concerned with the healing of humanity.
Reverend William G. Sinkford | President, Unitarian Universalist Association
As president of this liberal denomination, Reverend Sinkford is responsible to the UUA Board of Trustees for administering staff and programs that serve its more than 1,000 member congregations. He also acts as principal spokesperson and minister-at-large for the Association.
Support the Respect for Marriage Act by contacting your legislative leaders and friends.(Link)
Make sure LGBT families and people are accurately counted in the 2010 census.(Link)
A new report shows the past 10 years have been a period of dramatic gains in equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in America, including sharp increases in the number of LGBT Americans protected by family recognition legislation at the state level. (Link)
Learn more about the 13th annual Freedom to Marry Week, February 8-14, 2010. (Link)