Out for Freedom

Out for Freedom

We now face an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples throughout the country. The historic Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will pave the way for equality for lesbian and gay couples across America, but for a full civil liberties victory we need to strike down barriers to the freedom to marry in states across the country.

While we celebrate all of the progress we've been making on marriage, individual states still have anti-gay, anti-marriage laws. In fact these discriminatory barriers are now embedded in 29 state constitutions.

With increased legislative advocacy and grassroots organizing to repeal existing marriage amendments, we can decisively win fair marriage laws and relegate discrimination against gay and lesbian couples to the dustbin of history.

Here's how we'll do it:

Improve the map: We know we can transform the current "marriage map." With the Supreme Court's decision in the Prop 8 case, now 17 states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The ACLU is working toward achieving marriage in 20 states by 2016. We're already laying the groundwork for passing fair marriage laws in Oregon, Nevada, and other states.
Broaden public support: Conservative voices are the next frontier in building public support for the freedom to marry. With the goal of working both with and within the Republican Party, the ACLU has hired top strategist Steve Schmidt. Schmidt was the senior campaign strategist and advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain and previously worked on Capitol Hill as the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Schmidt will bring right-of-center voices to the state campaigns to pass fair marriage laws and add the freedom to marry to state constitutions.
The federal solution: We know that the constitutionality of state laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage will come before the Supreme Court again sometime within the next few years. We will work both to lay the foundation for a good Supreme Court ruling (making that map better and building public support will sure help!) and to shape the cases that present the constitutional issue to the Court.

The ACLU is pursuing marriage cases in Indiana, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

Together we can transform our country's landscape until the freedom to marry is in every state. Join us to come out for freedom!

CAMPAIGN SPOTLIGHT

My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding

The ACLU is helping five same-sex couples have a Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding to highlight the unfair patchwork of state marriage laws and why it's so important for everyone to have the freedom to marry.
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My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding with Tim Gunn

Meet the Five Winning Couples of "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding!"

Almost 200,000 supporters of the freedom to marry voted for couples from across the country, to win the "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding" contest. The winning couples will each receive $5,000 towards the wedding of their dreams as part of our campaign to raise awareness regarding inequality in states where same-sex marriage is not yet legal.
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Jesse Tyler Ferguson Is Out For Freedom

Jesse Tyler Ferguson – star of ABC’s Modern Family and the ACLU’s Celebrity Ambassador on the Freedom to Marry – and his husband Justin Mikita, discuss growing up, coming out and coming together. As vocal supporters of the importance of the freedom to marry, this candid conversation about their own relationship and their advocacy efforts to spread the freedom to marry in Jesse’s home state of New Mexico and beyond, highlights a national movement for equality for all loving, committed couples.

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CASE SPOTLIGHT

Securing the Freedom to Marry in Missouri: Barrier and Schild v. Vasterling

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Missouri have filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of six same-sex couples who are seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages. The lawsuit does not seek a repeal of Missouri's ban on marriage for same-sex couples within the state.
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Read more about our recent court cases for same-sex marriage »

THE MARRIAGE PARTY

Out for Freedom

Hoping that everyone can come to the marriage party! Click below to see the full ad celebrating the freedom to marry.

Out for Freedom Advertisement
BLOGS

North Carolina: Let Me Take Care of My Son

Shana, Megan, and Jax

I live in Greensboro, North Carolina, with my family. My wife, Megan, and I flew to Texas to meet our son, Jax, over 4 years ago, who is now 6 ½. We have raised him to understand that his moms love him and would do anything for him. But Megan is his only legal parent. Jax has cerebral palsy, so he takes a lot of extra care. If I were allowed a legal relationship with my child, which I currently do not under North Carolina State Law, I would better be able to provide the safety that all parents want for their children. When we took Jax home from his foster home, we promised to provide the best life for him that we possibly could, but much of his equipment is denied from Medicaid, and if he was legally my child I would be able to provide secondary insurance through my employment...
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What North Carolina's Refusal to Recognize the Marriages of Same Sex Couples Really Means

Ellen Lennie Gerber and Pearl Berlin

Think of what it would mean for someone who has been with their partner for decades to confront losing a spouse, while the state insists they're not really married. That's exactly what many same-sex couples face in North Carolina. Today, we filed a new lawsuit seeking relief for three North Carolina families in desperate situations. Our clients -- three lesbian couples in long-term, loving, and committed relationships -- include a decorated war veteran and others who honorably serve and contribute to their communities in numerous ways. Yet North Carolina law treats them as second-class citizens, denying them respect of their marriages. Our new plaintiffs are Ellen ("Lennie") Gerber and Pearl Berlin, Lyn McCoy and Jane Blackburn, and Esmerelda Mejia and Christina Ginter-Mejia...
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When My Wife Died I Got a Bill for $300,000

Shana, Megan, and Jax

As a lesbian of Asian descent, I hear not very kind comments based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation often enough. Most of the time I can blame ignorance, not take it personally, and not let it bother me. But the way I was treated when my wife Kris died, that one really hurt. I met Kris in 1997 when we were both serving on the board of directors of a local nonprofit organization. We fell in love and married in Los Angeles in the summer of 2008. Months later, Kris was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and went through multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and treatments. During the last several weeks of Kris' life, I was pretty much home with Kris all the time...
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NEWSROOM

ACLU Hires Steve Schmidt to Bring Republicans Into Same-Sex Marriage Push

Edie Windsor

Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the landmark United States v. Windsor case, the American Civil Liberties Union announced a nationwide campaign to bring Republicans into its efforts to strike down barriers to the freedom to marry in states across the country...
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RESOURCES

After DOMA: What It Means For You

LGBT Organizations Fact Sheet Series details many of the ways federal agencies accord legal respect to married same-sex couples. (2013 Resources)