Freedom To Marry

The gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide

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Why Marriage Matters to Women

"Feminists can have a significant impact on the struggle for marriage equality because we have decades of victories and struggles that inform our commitment to justice. As feminists we understand the importance of choice because we have struggled for decades for our reproductive justice. We understand constitutional equality because we have fought for women to have equal protection under the constitution for decades—and we still do not have a signed, sealed and delivered Equal Rights Amendment. We also understand fairness and justice because as women we have faced centuries of inequality, oppression and injustice throughout the globe. Marriage equality is our fight because it encompasses all of the issues we are passionately committed to as feminists."

— Special to Freedom to Marry by Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, Senior Field Organizer, National Organization for Women

View ads from Let California Ring that appeared recently across California highlighting women.

Use the key resources below to learn more about why marriage matters to women and the huge difference women can make in the fight for equality.

 


 

FROM EVAN WOLFSON:

"Women as Legally Subordinate to Their Husbands"
From Chapter 3 of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry
Despite the broader agenda of the opponents of marriage equality for gays, most Americans today would not urge that our country return to the tradition of marriage that Wolfson describes—no matter how "efficient" it made the family unit or conformed to some religious views of "God's plan" and the "definition of marriage."

"Marriage Makes a Word of Difference"
Originally published in Portland Mercury
June 14, 2007

For much of our nation's history, women were denied the right to be lawyers. The Supreme Court itself upheld that exclusion, opining that each sex has its proper sphere and necessary roles, and the "paramount destiny [of women is to] fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator." Majorities sincerely believed that it was okay to withhold full participation in life choices, including the freedom to marry, based on a person's race or sex. By tradition and "definition," lawyers were men, and that, most believed, is how it had to be.

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WHERE YOU CAN GO TO GET INVOLVED OR LEARN MORE:

National Organization for Women: Equal Marriage NOW
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW is a partner organization of Freedom to Marry and includes links, talking points, and fact sheets on marriage equality on their website.

National Center for Lesbian Rights: Marriage
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. NCLR is lead counsel on behalf of same-sex couples in the California marriage case, which is currently before the California Supreme Court.

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THE NUMBERS: POLLING & STATISTICS:

Prevalence of Parenting:Percentage of Lesbian Couples Raising Children
courtesy of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

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PUBLICATIONS:

NOW POLICY STATEMENT: Equal marriage is a feminist issue
National Organization for Women
May 17, 2004

NOW's mission is to promote equality for women — all women. In 1995 NOW affirmed that the choice of marriage is a fundamental constitutional right.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (IX)
March 28, 2007
This letter to the CA Assembly Judiciary Committee endorses California's Marriage Non-discrimination Act (AB 43, Leno)

To Work or Not To Work?: The Effects of Partner Earnings and Children on Women's Labor Supply
Sylvia Allegretto, Center of Economic Analysis
November 2002

This study uses the 1990 Census to examine and compare the labor force participation decisions of three groups of women: married, cohabiting opposite-sex and cohabiting same-sex. Of particular interest are the effects of children and partner earnings on labor supply for all three groups.

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NEWS:

Read current stories about how women have an impact on the struggle for the freedom to marry.

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MULTIMEDIA:

From One Wedding and a Revolution
Women's educational media


"1st Wedding Ceremony"
[DSL] [56k]


"Kate Called Del and Phyllis"
[DSL] [56k]


"Gavin The Right Time"
[DSL] [56k]

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"Women as Legally Subordinate to Their Husbands"

From Chapter 3 of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry
Despite the broader agenda of the opponents of marriage equality for gays, most Americans today would not urge that our country return to the tradition of marriage that Wolfson describes—no matter how "efficient" it made the family unit or conformed to some religious views of "God's plan" and the "definition of marriage."

National Organization for Women: Equal Marriage NOW

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW is a partner organization of Freedom to Marry and includes links, talking points, and fact sheets on marriage equality on their website.

National Center for Lesbian Rights: Marriage


The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. NCLR is lead counsel on behalf of same-sex couples in the California marriage case, which is currently before the California Supreme Court.

To Work or Not To Work?: The Effects of Partner Earnings and Children on Women's Labor Supply

Sylvia Allegretto, Center of Economic Analysis
November 2002

This study uses the 1990 Census to examine and compare the labor force participation decisions of three groups of women: married, cohabiting opposite-sex and cohabiting same-sex. Of particular interest are the effects of children and partner earnings on labor supply for all three groups.

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