Halftime for marriage equality

The recent New York and Washington state court decisions failing to strike down unconstitutional laws banning same-sex couples from marrying serve as a wake up call to our community. Though we have made tremendous strides, we are by no means at the finish line yet. Unfortunately, we can’t rely solely on the courts to wave their fairy gavels and bestow justice – we need to get out there and win this fight in heart-to-heart combat. Marriage Equality USA, a national, grassroots volunteer driven organization, seeks your help in this battle to secure liberty, justice, and marriage equality for all.

People should not get discouraged by the recent rulings, but rather simply take them as a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted and a sign that our work must continue. The Washington decision was a 5-4 split decision – we almost won that one. In New York and Washington the courts’ decisions have spurred legislators in both states to promise marriage equality legislation in the next legislative session. Everyday more elected officials and community leaders are speaking out in support of equality under the law.

National polls continue to show that we are winning this fight in the long-term. Opposition to marriage equality is eroding and it is gaining supporters every day. The collective efforts of all of us talking to our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members are working. We are on the non-gay radar screen on this issue in a big way – we have the ear of the nation – we need you to keep using your voice to help fair-minded people understand why excluding same-sex couples and their children from the 1,400 rights that come with civil marriage is wrong and must not continue.

All eyes turn to the remaining battleground states – California key among them – to move this issue forward. There are more same-sex couples in California than in any other state – we have the best chance at joining Massachusetts as the second state to secure marriage equality. We have won round one of a three-round court battle in California. The California Court of Appeals is set to issue a ruling in the next month or so. Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) will be reintroducing the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act on December 4. Furthermore, we know that any marriage equality victory in California will immediately be met with a ballot initiative to take it all away. What we do in this state is critical to the fate of the nation.  Can we count on you to help us?

California’s strength lies in its diversity – but it also presents the challenge of ensuring that our education and outreach efforts are reaching all Californians. Marriage Equality USA has assembled a dream team of California community leaders who are focused on developing educational materials and outreach within the following targeted communities: African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, Middle Eastern, military, LGBT parents, seniors, binational couples, LGBT singles, transgender, youth, differently-abled, and the faith communities. Chances are, you are in one or more of those categories – would you be willing to serve on the statewide task force and help build coalitions and outreach to these communities of which you are a part? If so, contact the statewide steering committee outreach director from our Web site and join their efforts to build coalitions with partner organizations and engage in outreach activities.

Marriage Equality USA also has county-based chapters across California that need your help with public outreach, media interviews, tabling local events, speaking at community meetings as well as behind the scenes work such as data entry, networking with our out-of-state chapters, and technical Web site assistance.

MEUSA-CA has a plan to help win marriage equality in California and we need your time and talents to ensure we can win and sustain our gains in this critical state as well as move forward to end marriage discrimination throughout the nation. In the words of Mayor Gavin Newsom, "Together we can win."

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., is executive director of Marriage Equality USA. For more information, visit www.marriageequality.org.

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