Start Here: The Marriage Basics
Use the topics below to learn more about why the freedom to marry matters.
Some basic questions and answers to get you started.
There are over 1,100 rights, benefits and responsibilities conferred on married couples by the federal government including access to health care, parenting and immigration rights, social security, veterans and survivor benefits, and transfer of property—and that doesn't include state and local law, and employers, or the intangible security, dignity, and meaning that comes with marriage.
This is not the first time our country has had this kind of conversation about marriage. Throughout our history, marriage has often been a battleground on which larger questions have been contested. To understand the current landscape of the movement towards marriage equality, it's helpful to know just a bit of its history.
Rather than ending marriage discrimination outright—the only way to provide equality—an increasing number of states are creating a parallel mechanism either with civil unions, domestic partnerships or some lesser package of protections and responsibilities. While these mechanisms do provide same-sex couples with important responsibilities and protections previously withheld, we are constantly witnessing the shortcomings of such separate and unequal institutions.
Relationships between people of the same sex are subject to the same challenges and pressures as all relationships. Unfortunately, without the freedom to marry, divorce and splitting up for same-sex couples can be a huge legal mess. Disconnect between state laws and federal laws make these hard situations even more challenging.
Do you think you've got a handle on the basic issues involved in the fight for the freedom to marry? Learn more about the status, strategy, and flashpoints ahead in this movement, and how to get involved.
Called "the most important gay-marriage primer ever written" by Time Out New York, this book, written by Civil Rights attorney and Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson, "should be required reading" according to The Advocate.
Called "the Thurgood Marshall of the gay rights movement" by The American Lawyer, Evan Wolfson has been on the front lines in the battle for the freedom to marry for the past twenty years. Read his biography, speeches and publications, watch his debates, and see where he's traveling to next.
View all of Freedom to Marry's publications which are available for download and rebranding by anyone interested.
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)