Ten years ago Massachusetts became the first state in America where same-sex couples could share in the freedom to marry. Since then, 16 other states and Washington, DC have followed, resulting in 40% of Americans who now live in a state with the freedom to marry, up from zero a decade ago.
"The rapid and lasting progress of the freedom to marry movement is remarkable in the history of civil rights struggles,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “The shift in majority opinion since Massachusetts is a testament to Americans' inherent values of fairness, freedom, and family. We will keep making the case until we finish the job: the freedom to marry nationwide."
Same-sex couples began marrying in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004 following the landmark victory by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. That first day of the freedom to marry in 2004 also marked the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education – “civil rights karma,” Wolfson hailed it at the time.
In another milestone, Freedom to Marry this week celebrated its 10th anniversary in New York featuring a debut film version of a poem written for the occasion by Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, selected for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival; and tributes to Freedom to Marry’s leadership by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and GOP strategist Margaret Hoover.
“All of this progress, this joy, this momentum, didn’t just happen,” Wolfson said at the anniversary celebration Monday evening. “It wasn’t the product of one organization, one person, one case, one state, one battle, or even one decade. We celebrate our movement that made this all so … Thank you for joining us at this 10th anniversary party for Freedom to Marry. With your help, there will be no 15th [anniversary].”