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Our History Of Freedom To Marry

February 1, 2016

This weekend I received the last email from an organization that I have followed and been a part of for a very long time.

Our journey at Freedom to Marry has come to an end. This is the final note you’ll receive from Freedom to Marry, the campaign that drove the strategy and engaged and leveraged the movement that won marriage nationwide. 
 
What a journey it was – full of pain, injustice, loss, and sacrifice, but also, of course, love, hope, confidence, trust, transformation, and, ultimately, triumph. Through hard work, we held America to its promise, inspired tens of millions around the world, and made countless lives better. Love won. We all won.
 
As we now wind down this campaign, and close our doors at Freedom to Marry – strategy fulfilled and goal met – I want to share with you the new FreedomToMarry.org that we’ve built to tell the story of how it all happened and to share resources and the lessons we learned along the way. 
The site Freedom To Marry is most impressive, and one that will carry a reader from the start of a quest for equal rights for same-sex couples through the day when the Supreme Court of the United States allowed for the constitutional right of marriage to be the law of the land.    Here is how the story begins…….

Within living memory, gay people in America were a despised, oppressed minority. Same-sex couples’ love was scorned, summarily rejected by enormous swaths of the country, feared, deemed “immoral” and “pathological,” and made illegal. The notion of same-sex couples lawfully marrying was unthinkable – and early pioneers who bravely stepped forward to claim the freedom to marry were met with derision and venom.

From the dawn of the modern LGBT movement, in the immediate aftermath of Stonewall in 1969, same-sex couples in several states filed legal challenges seeking the freedom to marry. Courts of Appeals in Washington and Kentucky dismissed cases, with the Kentucky judge writing, “What they propose is not a marriage.” In Colorado an American was forced to choose between his country and the love of his life, an Australian man, when their legal request for a spousal visa was denied by the Immigration & Naturalization Service which literally wrote, on government letterhead: “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.” And in 1972, a Minnesota couple took their attempt to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which summarily turned down the case “for want of a substantial federal question.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2016 8:48 PM

    That is a great memory–and just the type of story and interaction that I know takes place all over the nation every day. The type of interaction that proves the more we know about each other the more we find we are so much alike. After all, life is so much about our interests about books or music or movies or stories of our childhood vs what drives the motor in bed. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. February 1, 2016 8:33 PM

    I never thought much about gay marriage one way or the other until I became friends with a gay man in New York City in the 80s. Actually we became best friends, with similar interests in “out-there” music (he also loved Gyorgy Ligeti) and discussing our dysfunctional pasts. Our different sexual proclivities never even came up, although he would tease me about being a “queen” because I wouldn’t admit to loving disco. I miss ya, Tom. You changed me for the better.

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