Freedom To Marry

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

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Constitutions

Our federal and state constitutions are the principal blueprints for how we Americans govern ourselves, the treasured safeguards of national unity and personal freedom. Most Americans believe that our Constitution should protect equality and expand rights for all, not be used as a weapon for transient political agendas, ideological prejudices, or discrimination.

There is a current wave of attacks on the U.S. and state constitutions mounted by those who seek to impose their views on all fifty states and all future generations, but the truth is beginning to prevail and victories are starting to add up against these discriminatory measures. In both 2006 and 2004, federal efforts to write discrimination into the constitution were halted. In the 2006 election, Arizona's proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment was defeated by the electorate, and six state legislatures in 2007 defeated and/or blocked such amendments.

Anti-gay initiatives in California, Florida, and Arizona all passed in November 2008.

As more discriminatory amendments are proposed, the fight to protect our constitutions continues.

Use the key resources below to learn more about how to protect the constitutional rights of all American citizens.

 


FROM EVAN WOLFSON:

Stand Up For Our Constitutions
Our state and federal constitutions are among the most important documents in the union. Download Stand Up for Our Constitution and find out more about the consequences of enacting anti-gay marriage amendments.

 

The Constitution protects us all: Say no to discriminatory amendments
May 24, 2006
Evan Wolfson discusses how the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment," if passed, would force the intrusion of the federal government into the regulation of marriage. This unprecedented Constitutional intervention would prevent all states and all future generations from making their own decisions on ending sex discrimination in marriage, just as they ended race discrimination in marriage a generation ago.

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WHERE YOU CAN GO TO GET INVOLVED OR LEARN MORE:

Equality California
Equality for All is working to protect marriage by leading the fight against an anti-marriage initiative on the November 2008 ballot in California. This statewide coalition of LGBT and civil rights organizations, labor and business, straight and gay, is determined to defeat any attempts to write discrimination into our constitution.

Human Rights Campaign: Marriage and Relationship Recognition
The Human Rights Campaign [HRC] offers various resources on the fight against the Federal Marriage Amendment which was proposed and defeated in 2006 (House and Senate) and 2004 (House and Senate).

Fairness for All Families
Fairness for All Families is the campaign of fair-minded Floridians who say NO to the anti-marriage amendment proposed in Florida.

Equality for All
Equality for All is preparing to lead the fight against proponents of discrimination in California. This statewide coalition of LGBT and civil rights organizations, labor and business, straight and gay, is determined to defeat any attempts to write discrimination into our constitution.

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LEGISLATIVE STATUS OF GAY AND LESBIAN FAMILIES IN THE U.S.:

View Freedom to Marry Maps

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PUBLICATIONS:

From Griswold to Goodridge: The Constitutional Dimensions of the Same-Sex Marriage Debate
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
April 2008

So far, state cases have been based on state, rather than federal, constitutional provisions and thus have not been subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the high court would have jurisdiction in a case testing whether the U.S Constitution guarantees the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed. If the court takes such a case, its decision will likely stem, at least in part, from its prior rulings on privacy and related issues.

Same-sex marriage initiatives and lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in the 2006 elections
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
December 20, 2006
This analysis of election returns and data from the National Election Pool exit poll finds that same-sex marriage ballot initiatives did not help Republican Senate candidates in 2006. Support for same-sex marriage bans has fallen most dramatically in states where people identifying themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians make up an identifiable minority of residents.

The Money Behind the 2004 Anti-gay Marriage Amendments
National Institute on Money in State Politics
January 27, 2006

The Institute reports who paid for the campaigns promoting the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendments, concluding a majority came from conservative Christian organizations and organized religion.

Past and present proposed amendments to the United States Constitution regarding marriage
Edward Stein, Cardozo School of Law
Washington University Law Quarterly
Vol. 82, No. 3, 2004

A comprehensive article which legally places arguments from both sides of the marriage debate within the historical context of past attempts to amend the U.S. Constitution with regard to marriage.

TRANSCRIPT: Bob Barr's Testimony on the DOMA and FMA
May 3, 2004
Testimony submitted by Bob Barr, Former Member of Congress, to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution on the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment. Although Barr opposes ending the exclusion of committed same-sex couples from marriage, he argues here why constitutional action sets a dangerous precedent both at the state and federal levels.

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NEWS:

Read the latest news about constitutional challenges to the freedom to marry here.

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MULTIMEDIA:

VIDEO: Gay and lesbian marriages stay legal in Bay State
The Boston Channel
June 14, 2007

Watch lawmakers vote to keep a constitutional amendment that bans gay and lesbian couples' legal marriages off the 2008 ballot during a joint session of the Massachusetts House and Senate.

PODCAST: Evan Wolfson addresses Kentucky Fairness Alliance, rebounding after constitutional amendment vote
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
October 10, 2006

Speaking in Lexington, KY, Evan urges the 700+ non-gay and gay attendees not to "let the constitutional amendment be the last word," but rather, lay out a vision for how to move forward and win marriage equality for the thousands of Kentucky same-sex couples and their kids that the "reachable middle" has only begun to get to know.

PODCAST: Marriage equality leader debates VA anti-gay amendment sponsor
University of Virginia School of
October 6, 2006

Evan Wolfson's October 5, 2006, debate with VA Delegate Bob Marshall, co-sponsor of a proposed amendment to the VA Constitution to prohibit legal recognition or benefits for same-sex relationships.

LECTURE: Evan Wolfson at Marquette University Law School
Freedom to Marry
September 20, 2005

Evan Wolfson talks to the next generation of lawyers at MULS in Milwaukee, Wisconsin regarding the importance of the freedom to marry and how they can make their voices heard to encourage the non-gay people in their lives to embrace fairness and equality. Evan also addressed the dangers of the proposed anti-gay state constitutional amendment aimed at denying all family protections to gay couples and their kids in Wisconsin, and answered questions from students and faculty.

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Stand Up For Our Constitutions

Our state and federal constitutions are among the most important documents in the union. Download Stand Up for Our Constitution (pdf) and find out more about the consequences of enacting anti-gay marriage amendments.

The Constitution protects us all: Say no to discriminatory amendments
May 24, 2006

Evan Wolfson discusses how the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment," if passed, would force the intrusion of the federal government into the regulation of marriage. This unprecedented Constitutional intervention would prevent all states and all future generations from making their own decisions on ending sex discrimination in marriage, just as they ended race discrimination in marriage a generation ago.

Same-sex marriage initiatives and lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in the 2006 elections

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
December 20, 2006
This analysis of election returns and data from the National Election Pool exit poll finds that same-sex marriage ballot initiatives did not help Republican Senate candidates in 2006. Support for same-sex marriage bans has fallen most dramatically in states where people identifying themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians make up an identifiable minority of residents.

Equality for All

Equality for All is preparing to lead the fight against proponents of discrimination in California. This statewide coalition of LGBT and civil rights organizations, labor and business, straight and gay, is determined to defeat any attempts to write discrimination into our constitution.