Sharing Our Stories
Welcome to the Story Center, a joint project of Freedom to Marry and the American Civil Liberties Union. Here we invite you to share your unique story about how discrimination harms you, your partner, your partnership and your family. Your voice and personal experience can help us spread the word about the hardships we face due to the denial of equal marriage rights. Sharing our stories and showing our faces also helps the rest of America identify with our need to hold ourselves accountable to the promise of liberty, fairness and equality for all.
We are committed to protecting your information. Freedom to Marry and the American Civil Liberties Union will jointly manage all story submittals and statistical information all of which is securely stored. Your information will remain safeguarded and will only be used with your express permission.
The basic questionnaire should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Additional time may be necessary to write out the details of your story. You may wish to plan in advance before submitting your story. That way you can discuss it with your partner and prepare answers that can be copied and pasted into the form once you begin.
Why story-telling is important: There is no better way to communicate who we are and the depths of our commitment to our partners and our families than by telling the truth of our lives. Our stories help us communicate, in concrete ways, how the denial of marriage harms families. Explain specific incidents of injustice and hardship encountered due to denial of Social Security, health coverage, respect at work or school, and so on. Feel free to make it personal as well. For a list of the protections that come with marriage — protections you and your loved ones are deprived of because you can't get married — read through our Protections and Responsibilities Resources.
The simple process of story-telling is one way each generation passes on its wisdom. Talk honestly about the importance of equal rights, equal opportunities and basic fairness; connect the dots to how the denial of marriage affects you and others. Whether you are gay or non-gay (for extended families are often hurt as well), make it personal, make it concrete, and make sure you hit home by explaining why marriage matters to you. When our friends and neighbors see real, committed, loving couples building a life together, it helps them come to understand our devotion and commitment. When you submit your story, please consider sharing a photo of either you and your partner or the entire family.
If you are ready now, enter your personal story, and become one of many voices who understand the urgency of our movement for fairness and equality and who are making themselves available to participate in the ongoing national conversation. Submit your story, and then take a moment to read through other families' stories.
Read through other families' stories here:
- Carmen and Anisia Machado
- Denise and Treeva Liggett-Creek
- Shelley Hayes and Mary Horvath
- Terri Miller and Cindy Simms
- Mark McKinney and Steve Lepre
- Jennifer Lin and Jeanne Fong
- Lori and Cin Diné
- Gita Deane and Lisa Polyak
- Nigel Simon and Alvin Williams
- Jo Rabb and Takia Foskey
- Lisa Laurey and Toni Williamson
- Richard Phelps and Mitchell Wood
- Desiree Leone and Carolee Stoll
- Barry Clayton and Michael Garaza
- Charles Blackburn and Glen Dehn
- Delia Meraz and Persephone Gonzalez
- Amorie Robinson and Hattie Alexander-Robinson
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)