Gay marriage advocates this week laid
out their strategy for winning more states.
In an email to supporters, Evan
Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, asserted that
momentum was on his side.
“This past year has brought our
campaign galvanizing gains: winning seven states, solidifying and
diversifying a national majority, and delivering a powerful blow to
federal marriage discrimination in the Supreme Court,” Wolfson
said. “This irrefutable momentum confirms that the national
strategy we have pursued is the strategy that will bring us to
nationwide victory, and that full victory is within reach – within
years, not decades. The key to winning is, as it has always been,
that when we get to the Supreme Court with the next marriage cases,
we go with more states and more support creating the climate for the
justices to do the right thing.”
The group announced that it would
target four states in the near term: Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and
In Hawaii and New Jersey advocates are
looking to the courts to move those states into the marriage equality
column. A lawsuit is also underway in Illinois. But legislative
action could come first. A stalled marriage bill is expected to face
its final legislative hurdle in the fall. Voters in Oregon are
expected to weigh in on the issue next year. Freedom to Marry
announced a $250,000 donation to fund the Oregon ballot campaign.
An additional 9 states are being
considered for 2015-2016. They are Arizona, Colorado, Michigan,
Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
With the exception of Colorado and Ohio, laws in all those states are
being challenged through the courts. Colorado recognizes gay couples
with civil unions, while Nevada does so through domestic
Freedom to Marry also announced that it
had hired Richard Carlbom as director of state campaigns.
Last year, Carlbom successfully
campaigned against a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution
limiting marriage to heterosexual unions and this year successfully
lobbied for passage of a marriage equality law.