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Freedom to Marry maps out $100 million pathway to marriage victories nationwide

NEW YORK -- With two Supreme Court victories adding fresh momentum to the campaign for marriage equality, Freedom to Marry has laid out the next phase in the national strategy through 2016, the first concrete plan for nationwide victory post-rulings.

The strategy calls for accelerated goals for winning more states, ending federal discrimination, and growing and diversifying public support.

Based on work to date nationally and in the states, including what it takes to do public education groundwork and build and run successful ballot campaigns, Freedom to Marry estimates the cost of this push to finish the job to be more than $100 million, of which Freedom to Marry is determined to raise and contribute one quarter or more, building on its success at becoming the nation’s largest funder of marriage work.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, outlined the strategy.

“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. 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," Wolfson said.

"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 then to do the right thing.”

In its call to action, Freedom to Marry maps out plans to achieve, by 2016:

- A majority of Americans living in a freedom to marry state.

- Public support at greater than 60%.

- An end to federal marriage discrimination through full repeal of DOMA and equal treatment of all marriages for all federal programs and purposes, throughout the country.

Read the 30-month-plan, “The Roadmap to Victory: Finishing the Job."

Marking the next phase of work in the states, Freedom to Marry is today investing $500,000 in state marriage campaigns, including $250,000 in the Oregon ballot fight. This infusion is part of more than $3 million it seeks to raise and channel in 2013 through the Win More States Fund.

Freedom to Marry has hired Richard Carlbom as director of state campaigns, following his success leading Minnesotans United for All Families to the first-ever victory against an anti-gay constitutional amendment, and then months later, the passage of a freedom to marry law – the first legislative victory in America’s heartland.

“Richard’s wealth of experience and expertise will enable Freedom to Marry to continue to lead and accelerate the work required to win marriage nationwide,” said Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director. “The groundbreaking campaign Richard led in Minnesota was a model of strategy, drive, and mobilization – exactly what we’ll need to win the next waves of states.”

Under Carlbom’s direction, Freedom to Marry is working to win four states by 2013-14 – Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon – and laying the groundwork to win at least six more states by 2015-16 (some mix of Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia), while teeing up states for post-2016 (and recognizing that others could be added to the mix based on changing circumstances).

With strategic lawsuits to be filed, Freedom to Marry will continue to work closely with our legal partners on state-specific public engagement strategies.

Freedom to Marry’s newly launched Digital Action Center builds on its successes supporting state campaigns through cutting-edge new media tools. See the plan for more details.

End Federal Marriage Discrimination - Highlights: Freedom to Marry is guiding a multi-faceted strategy to ensure that legally married same-sex couples are treated as such for all federal programs and purposes by:

- Helping to guide work with the Obama administration, which has already taken strong steps in crucial areas such as immigration and personnel policies for federal employees.

- Leading the work to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA in its entirety. Our bipartisan federal team has helped grow support for the Respect for Marriage Act from 18 Senators and 108 Representatives at the time of its introduction in 2011 to 42 Senators and 161 Representatives today.

See the plan for more details on the effort to end federal discrimination.