The classic American pattern of civil rights advances can be summed up in one word: patchwork. During these patchwork periods, some states embrace equality and inclusion faster, while others resist and even for a time regress. The nation sees changes come in the course of battles in the courts and legislatures, struggles over constitutional guarantees of freedom and equality, and numerous person-to-person, group-to-group conversations during which fair-minded Americans think anew how we are treating our fellow citizens, and hearts and minds open. Throughout our history, many of these battles over fairness for all and what kind of country this is to be have been fought on the battlefield of marriage. Same-sex couples' struggle to end their exclusion from marriage, and the attack campaign underway nationwide to deprive gay Americans of any legal protections for their families, are part of this broader American history of increasing inclusion and commitment to equality for all.
Check out the sections below to see how the freedom to marry is progressing in important areas of society. Then check out our get involved section to see what you can do to contribute.
Learn about what's happening in your state to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and how to get involved.
Same-sex couples across the country are now getting married as a result of the great progress we are making, but these families are still facing discrimination from the federal government.
Current and historical maps showing the status of marriage laws across the United States.
Both the federal constitution and state constitutions throughout our country have come under attack with attempts to write discrimination into our governing documents. Unfortunately, many of these attacks were successful. Learn more about how to protect our constitutions and our rights.
Excluding same-sex couples and their families from marriage not only causes economic hardship for families, but also negatively impacts businesses.
Every two years, the American people have the chance to make their voices heard about issues of national relevance. In the past few elections (including 2004 and 2006, Americans have demonstrated a growing understanding of the need for marriage equality in our country. With the 2008 presidential election just around the corner, it is imperative that people urge the candidates to stand firmly for equality and speak out for fairness.
Every American, gay or non-gay, is entitled to their day in court. Numerous organizations across the country are representing same-sex couples and their families in order to secure marriage to protect all families. Learn more about the landmark and current cases in this fight for fairness.
More and more legislatures are dealing with the failure of the law to provide equal treatment and legal protections and responsibilities to gay and lesbian constituents and their families in nearly every state.
The public is increasingly more open to ending the exclusion of same-sex couples and their families from marriage, which they consider to be inevitable, and young people already strongly support it, as do other demographics and some state majorities.
Find out who we're up against and how to read through their dishonest claims — and arm yourself, your family, neighbors and community against the enemies of fairness.
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)