How We Won: A Look at Freedom to Marry’s Work

For more than ten years, Freedom to Marry has made the case for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide. For decades before that, Evan Wolfson set the groundwork for the national strategy that has brought us to this point. Here's a look at how we won marriage nationwide, top media hits looking at the Freedom to Marry strategy - and lessons we've learned along the way. 

TIMELINE
TACTICS
TESTIMONIALS
BOOKS
LESSONS
In-Depth Looks

"How Gay Marriage Became a Constitutional Right"
The Atlantic • July 2015
This in-depth, beautifully narrated piece by Molly Ball tracks the history of the marriage movement, examining the leading role that Evan Wolfson and Freedom to Marry played in this "improbable campaign that finally tipped the U.S. Supreme Court." The story checks in with the plaintiffs from the early 1990s Hawaii marriage case, top White House officials, and pioneering writer Andrew Sullivan.

"The Making of the Marriage Equality Revolution"
Politico • April 2015
As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case that could bring the freedom to marry nationwide, historian Josh Zeitz highlighted the work of movement architect Evan Wolfson and political strategist Marc Solomon. He wrote, "What Evan Wolfson and Marc Solomon learned may well provide the roadmap for every major rights campaign over the next 50 years.

"The Marriage Plot: Inside This Year's Epic Campaign for Gay Equality"
The Atlantic • Dec. 2012
As marriage supporters across the country celebrated the first-ever victories for the freedom to marry at the ballot in four states - Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington - Molly Ball wrote the exclusive, inside story about Freedom to Marry's work in each of the states, detailing how we changed the conversation about same-sex couples, their families, and marriage.

VIDEO: HOW
WE WON

In this video produced by EyePop Productions, we examined the 40-year fight toward the freedom to marry nationwide, examining the movement, the strategy, and the campaign that pushed marriage forward - and won. Click to enlargen.

BOOKS ON MARRIAGE

WINNING MARRIAGE BY MARC SOLOMON (2014)

In Winning Marriage: How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and the Pundits – And Won, Marc Solomon – a preeminent leader in the movement for marriage equality–gives the reader a seat at the strategy-setting and decision-making tables in the campaign to win and protect the freedom to marry. With depth and grace, he reveals the inner workings of the advocacy movement that has championed and protected advances won in legislative, legal, and electoral battles over the decade since the landmark Massachusetts ruling guaranteeing marriage for same-sex couples for the first time.

News & REVIEWS

"The Strides and Strategy in Same-Sex Marriage" • NBC News' Meet the Press 
"A lot of people now say this is inevitable - and 'inevitable' is a word I have a lot of problems with," Marc Solomon said to Chuck Todd. "I think we need to continue to make the case strongly - and once it's done, then it will be inevitable."

"How the Right Was Won"  Slate
"Winning Marriage may well stand as the definitive political history of marriage equality. It’s certainly the book that leaders of the movement deserve, and that latecomers to the movement need to read. After each new pro-equality court ruling, Americans seem to look around in wonder and ask, How did we get here? With this riveting, passionate book, Solomon has provided the answer."

"Lessons From the March to Same-Sex Marriage"  U.S. News & World Report
"Every progressive cause wants to be the next gay marriage, and a longtime activist has written them a playbook."

WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS BY EVAN WOLFSON (2004)

Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry offers a compelling and clear discussion of a question at the forefront of our national consciousness. It is the work of a brilliant civil rights litigator who has dedicated his life to the protection of individuals' rights and our Constitution's commitment to equal justice under the law. Above all, it is a thoughtful, straightforward book that brings into sharp focus the human significance of the right to marry in America - not just for some couples, but for all.

News & REVIEWS

"Once in the Closet, Now in the Courts" • Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Gay marriage is one of today's most hotly debated issues. Wolfson articulates the pioneering arguments that have made him one of the nation's most influential gay activists."

"Review: Why Marriage Matters" • Time Out New York
"Perhaps the most important gay-marriage primer ever written....[A] cogent and moving argument."

"The Peculiar Institution" • The New York Times Book Review
"The distinctive gravity of marriage shines through Wolfson's stories of gay couples seeking recognition."

A LOOK AT THE TACTICS

Messaging & Research

Through cutting-edge research and conducting focus groups, Freedom to Marry pioneered a new messaging playbook for the marriage movement, changing hearts and minds and growing public support from 30% to a supermajority – 63% - for marriage nationwide today. The playbook shifted the focus away from the rights and benefits that come with marriage and towards values-based frames of love, commitment, freedom, family, and the Golden Rule.

"The Making of the Marriage Equality Revolution" • Politico
"In 2009, Freedom to Marry ... poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into polling and focus groups, and discovered that traditional rights-based language fell flat with swing voters."

"Portland Gay Marriage Activist Watches Her Arguments Echo at Supreme Court Hearing" • The Oregonian
"Thalia Zepatos, as a top official for Freedom to Marry, has been encouraging supporters of same-sex marriage to focus on ... love and commitment. The change in tactics helped bring the striking increase in public support for gay marriage."

"How Gay Marriage Finally Won at the Polls" • Slate
"Freedom To Marry helped assemble a coalition of state-based gay groups, polling experts and academic researchers to centralize and share information so that each campaign didn’t have to start from scratch for each new battle. What came out of this tightly coordinated effort was the key to dismantling the anti-gay myths of the last 40 years."

"The Gun-Control Movement Is Borrowing the Marriage-Equality Playbook — and Hoping for Similar Results" • New York Magazine
"The conversation about marriage, Zepatos says, had to appeal to voters’ hearts, not their heads. Messaging had to be disciplined and consistent, and marriage equality activists in every state were armed with a talking-points tip sheet."

"The Marriage Movement's Secret Weapon: Radical Cooperation" • New York Magazine
This piece co-written by Freedom to Marry's Thalia Zepatos and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, director of social policy and politics at Third Way, explores the ins and outs of messaging research that we pursued to bring more supporters into the fold.

Fundraising

As the largest funder of the marriage movement, Freedom to Marry has played a pivotal role in attracting broad foundation and individual donors. Due to our victorious track record and reputable staff and programs, we’ve been able to raise over $43 million for the marriage movement. This money has been directed to state, national, and federal programs, including dollars invested directly into campaigns.

"Lessons for Philanthropy From the Marriage Win" • The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Reflecting on the marriage victory at the Supreme Court, Evan Wolfson examines the powerful role of philanthropy in funding a movement. "The important role of philanthropy — which embraced a sustained campaign to promote the idea and invested $120 million in it — cannot and should not be overlooked," he writes.

Communications & Media

Through aggressive press relations, Freedom to Marry’s press team drove the national narrative around marriage and combated our opponent’s fear-based messaging. Freedom to Marry funded, directed, and created TV ads showcasing unexpected surrogates and journey to support stories. Featuring compelling messengers such as Republican Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson or a Oklahoma Vietnam veteran who supports his lesbian daughter’s right to marry helped us make the case in the court of public opinion that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry.

"The Chief Engine of Change: Conversation" • Stanford Social Innovation Review
"From the beginning, we at Freedom to Marry believed that the chief engine of change would be conversation; thus, generating conversations was a critical objective," Evan Wolfson and Communications Director Kevin Nix write in this case study. "The right people delivering the right message—amplified across multiple media and advertising platforms, and, yes, millions of conversations—changed the American public's understanding of why gay couples want to marry and of gay people generally."

"GOP's Alan Simpson Backs Gay Marriage in Ad" • Politico
"Former Sen. Alan Simpson, a Republican, is making the case for a “live and let live” approach to same-sex marriage in a new television ad buy targeting Western states, just as a federal appeals court in Denver prepares to take up the issue later this week."

Digital Work

Freedom to Marry’s award-winning digital team developed cutting edge online tools and innovative content strategies to engage marriage supporters in effective action, advance the organization’s message online, raising funds and tell the stories of people directly affected by marriage discrimination. Freedom to Marry has won numerous honors for its pioneering use of video and social work for advocacy. The Digital Action Center was created to leverage the national organization’s successful online work and apply it to running state digital campaigns. Freedom to Marry led the digital work in more than two dozen states.

"Case Study: Turning Private Support into Public Action" • Blue State Digital
A Blue State Digital case study examines how Freedom to Marry leveraged its digital presence to grow support for marriage for all couples across the nation.

"Before Gay Marriage SCOTUS Case, #LoveMustWin Trends" • U.S. News & World Report
On the day of oral arguments, the hashtag #LoveMustWin was used by politicians, celebrities, brands, and supporters to urge the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the freedom to marry.

"Webby Award 2014 Honoree: 'Same Skin' Video"  Webby Awards
In 2014, Freedom to Marry was honored for our work with Blue State Digital on a video demonstrating the harms of DOMA on military families.

GROWING THE MAJORITY

In addition to having the right message, Freedom to Marry amplified third-party validators to help build an emotionally resonate narrative for marriage – a key aspect in shifting public opinion among virtually all demographic breakdowns. Through programs such as Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, conservatives were able to bring their message of why marriage matters to conservative media channels, invoking conservative values of limited government and individual freedom. Other Freedom to Marry programs include Southerners for the Freedom to Marry and Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

"Why Conservatives Gave Up Fighting Gay Marriage" • The Washington Post
The Post looks at the increasing number of conservatives who support the freedom to marry - or urge the party to stop discussing it since opposition to it is so unpopular.

"Young Conservatives Group Pressures GOP on Gay Marriage" • The Wall Street Journal
An exclusive first look at the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry campaign, which built conservative support for marriage and launched an effort to "Reform the GOP Platform" by removing anti-LGBT language. 

"SC Mayor Becomes 500th Mayor to Support Marriage Equality" • The Advocate
In September 2014 our bipartisan campaign of mayors who support the freedom to marry passed the 500 Mayors milestone, representing officials from nearly all 50 states.

FIELD

Freedom to Marry understood the value of in-person, one-on-one conversations with the public, and the work to increase those sorts of conversations - through Town Halls, message trainings, phone banks, and lobbying day - was an important part of our involvement with legislative and ballot campaigns. Even in public education campaigns, the value of Field work cannot be overstated. 

"Talking to People About Equality Does Indeed Change Minds" • The Advocate
"In-depth, in-person conversations on marriage are indeed effective, and Freedom to Marry and our partners have worked for the last seven years with some of the country’s top social scientists — separate and apart from the disavowed study — to test our techniques, make adjustments, scrap what isn’t working, and double down on what is."

How We've Moved Marriage Forward

1983-2001: The “Architect” of the Marriage Movement: Early Years

Samesex Marriage and Morality: The Human Rights Vision of the Constitution
Evan Wolfson’s Harvard Law School Thesis • April 1983
While a student at Harvard Law School, Evan Wolfson wrote one of the earliest - and still today, most influential - cases for why the freedom to marry is important and how winning marriage for same-sex couples will signal a broader path to equality for gay and lesbian Americans. Read More.

The Freedom to Marry in Hawaii: A Victory 20 Years in the Making
November 9, 2013
During the 1990s, Wolfson served as co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case, the first to win a ruling in favor of same-sex couples acknowledging that exclusion from marriage is discrimination and presumptively unconstitutional. The case launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry. The three plaintiff couples, and their lawyers, Dan Foley and Evan Wolfson, changed the world – and the impact of the case was felt for decades to come. Read More.

Evan Wolfson Debates on Hawaii Marriage Case
Nightline • September 25, 1995
In 1995, before the U.S. Congress pushed through the anti-marriage DOMA, Evan Wolfson debated the freedom to marry on Nightline, coming off of his work on the Hawaii marriage case.” Read More.

Evan Wolfson on Same-Sex Marriage in 1996
San Francisco Public Library • 1996
In this talk, Evan warns about the opposition already being organized, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, cases of same-sex wins in state courts, and polls showing that one-third of Americans currently support same-sex marriage. Read More.

All Together Now
The Advocate • September 11, 2001
After the Hawaii case, Wolfson continued fighting for same-sex couples until 2001, when he began exploring the next steps for the marriage movement: a new national campaign focused singularly on winning the freedom to marry. In this early visionary piece, he set the blueprint for the national strategy going forward. He wrote: “Shimmering within our reach is a legal structure of respect, inclusion, equality, and enlarged possibilities, including the freedom to marry. Let us build the new approach, partnership, tools, and entities that can reach the middle and bring it all home.” Read More.

The Time 100: Our List of the Most Influential People Living in the World Today
Time Magazine • April 26, 2004
Throughout these early years, Freedom to Marry served as a base as Wolfson championed marriage as a potential engine for social change. His commitment and conviction won him national accolades, with Time naming him one of the “most influential people living in the world today” in their “Heroes & Icons” section, remarking on his visionary work. Read More.

Marriage Equality and Lessons for the Scary Work of Winning
Lavender Law Keynote • September 3, 2004
At the 2004 National Lesbian & Gay Law Association’s gathering of leading attorneys, legal academics, and law students in Minneapolis, Evan Wolfson laid out the vision of how we could win the freedom to marry nationwide. At a time when anti-marriage opponents were mounting ballot campaigns to add discriminatory amendments to various state constitutions before the people in those states had a chance to understand why gay people wanted to marry, these lessons were crucial. Read More.

2003-2004: The FIRST FREEDOM TO MARRY STATE

In 2003, the same year Wolfson founded Freedom to Marry, a court ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could marry. Marc Solomon took a job as political director and eventually executive director of MassEquality. There, he led the campaign to defend marriage and defeat two constitutional amendments, beating back attacks by the Catholic Church, President George W. Bush, Gov. Mitt Romney, and the right-wing anti-gay industry.

Massachusetts Marriage Victory Offers Key Tactical Lessons
The Boston Globe • May 17, 2014
After a decade of working on campaigns to win the freedom to marry, Marc Solomon looked back at his experiences devoted full-time to winning in Massachusetts. “Today’s success ... has taken a great deal of hard work,” he wrote. “Much of that work began one decade ago in Massachusetts, when the freedom to marry first became real.” Read More.

2004-2011: PUSHING AHEAD TO MOVE MARRIAGE FORWARD

In the 2000s, Freedom to Marry dramatically increased its capacity, cultivating a top-notch staff of strategists and leaders in political campaigns. The push stoked the intensifying fight to win marriage in more states, regroup after the devastating loss on the anti-marriage amendment Proposition 8 California, and move America to the right side of history. Victories soon followed in several New England states, our nation’s capital, the heartland of Iowa, and, triumphantly, New York.

How We Will Win
The Advocate • March 1, 2011
With wins for the freedom to marry in four states and the District of Columbia under our belts, Marc Solomon reflected on two key strategies for winning marriage nationwide: Organizing to tell our stories, and playing aggressively in elections. Read More.

The Godfather of Gay Marriage
The Daily Beast • July 20, 2011
Shortly before he testified before a key U.S. Senate committee on the Respect for Marriage Act, which sought to dismantle the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, Evan Wolfson spoke about his career and pioneering steps forward with Lois Romano. “Our job is to advocate for what we truly deserve,” he told her. “Not just for what we think is doable.” Read More.

How We Thwarted NOM’s Attack Plan in New Hampshire
The Advocate • March 29, 2012
Marc Solomon celebrates the victory in New Hampshire, defeating attempts to repeal the freedom to marry. Read More.

2011-2012: SuPport at the ballot - and from the president

In 2011 and 2012, Freedom to Marry set its sights on the 2012 Election, focused on demonstrating popular support for the freedom to marry and defeating the opposition's last talking point. As we built strategic coalitions in the four states, we pushed the president and the Democratic party on supporting marriage for same-sex couples, and in May 2012, after our vigorous "Mr. President, Say I Do" campaign, President Barack Obama made history by becoming the first sitting president to embrace marriage for same-sex couples. The announcement fueled us toward the eventual victories in all 4 ballot campaigns in November.

Obama Showed Moral Leadership with Gay Marriage Support
U.S. News & World Report • May 11, 2012
After President Obama voiced his support for marriage for all couples nationwide, Evan Wolfson outlined the ways in which standing up for the freedom to marry was the right choice - morally and politically. Read More.

Secrets of Obama’s Evolution: The Inside Story of How the President Backed Gay Marriage
Salon • November 28, 2014
In this excerpt from his acclaimed book Winning Marriage, Marc Solomon writes of the journey and work that went into ensuring President Obama’s vocal support for the freedom to marry - from talks with his staff to a public campaign. Read More.

Evan Wolfson Debates Tony Perkins on Obama’s Support for Marriage
Face the Nation • May 13, 2012
Evan Wolfson joined a panel that included former Advisor to President Bush Mark McKinnon to debate Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council about Obama’s statement of support for the freedom to marry. Read More.

Evan Wolfson and President Barack Obama Honored at Barnard College
May 14, 2012
Just days after President Obama spoke out on the freedom to marry nationally, he received the Barnard Medal of Distinction, alongside Evan Wolfson and Sally Chambers. Before the ceremony, Wolfson said, “I will thank the President for doing what we elect presidents to do - showing moral leadership in standing up for freedom, fairness, and families.” Read More.

A Tale of Two Conventions
The Huffington Post • September 7, 2012
As Freedom to Marry pushed President Obama on supporting marriage for sex-couples, we also led an aggressive, unprecedented campaign urging the Democratic Party to add a plank in its party platform supporting the freedom to marry. We succeeded in the fall of 2012, a major victory at a time when vocal Democratic support for the freedom to marry was not assumed. Read More.

The Marriage Plot: Inside This Year’s Epic Fight for Gay Equality
The Atlantic • December 11, 2012
As marriage supporters across the country celebrated the first-ever victories for the freedom to marry at the ballot in four states - Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington - The Atlantic wrote the exclusive, inside story about Freedom to Marry's work in each of the states, detailing how we changed the conversation about same-sex couples, their families, and the freedom to marry. Read More.

2013: DOMA AT THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that DOMA’s section 3, which denied legally married same-sex couples the federal protections and responsibilities of marriage, violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

For Marriage Equality, the Work's Not Just in the Courts
The New York Times • December 10, 2012
One week after the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the cases challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, Evan Wolfson published his first New York Times editorial on how national opinion had shifted to support the freedom to marry, outlining the on-the-ground work left to do to grow support before the Court's decision. Read More.

The Lawyer and Writer Who Made Marriage Equality Happen
BuzzFeed • March 24, 2013
Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner profiled Evan Wolfson and Andrew Sullivan, who have been making the case for the freedom to marry since the 1980s. "To me this was always about, number one, what was right in terms of the American values of liberty and justice and equality and freedom and the pursuit of happiness," Wolfson said. Read More.

Pride in the Workplace with Lesley Stahl
CBS News • June 25, 2013
Evan Wolfson was interviewed by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl about the two landmark lawsuits concerning the freedom to marry on the eve of the Court's historic decision. Read More.

Big Wins for the Freedom to Marry, Now Let’s Finish the Job
Reuters • June 26, 2013
On the day that the Supreme Court struck down the core of DOMA, Evan Wolfson celebrated the ruling - and explained what work Freedom to Marry still had to do, including winning the freedom to marry in a majority of states by 2016, a goal we far surpassed in 2015. Read More.

Wedded to an Idea
The Washington Post • July 2, 2013
This profile of Evan Wolfson reflected on the landmark Supreme Court decision and looked ahead to what's next: "There’s no question where it’s going," Wolfson said. "The only question is how soon we can bring it home, and I believe it’s a matter of years, not decades." Read More.

Tony Kushner Presents Evan Wolfson with Pride Agenda Leadership Award
Empire State Pride Agenda • October 22, 2013
Evan Wolfson received the Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award at the Empire State Pride Agenda's fall dinner in New York City, presented to him by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.  Read More and Watch.

2014: The 10th ANNIVERSARY of the freedom to marry

In 2014, marriage supporters cheered on the tenth anniversary of the freedom to marry, marking the occasion with reflections on how far the campaign to win marriage nationwide moved forward in those ten years.

 

Freedom to Marry Everywhere
USA Today • November 25, 2013
Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, wrote about two historic marriage cases: Hawaii’s and Massachusetts’ - 20 years after the beginning of Hawaii’s battle for marriage, and 10 years after the Massachusetts victory. Read More.

VIDEO: 10 Years of Freedom to Marry
April 28, 2014
Freedom to Marry's own tenth anniversary coincided with 10 years of marriage for same-sex couples in the United States. To celebrate, we hosted a special event in New York hosted by Cynthia Nixon, featuring this new animated video reflecting on 10 years of Freedom to Marry. Watch.

Until We Could
April 28, 2014
The event also featured the debut of the film version of “Until We Could,” a poem written for the occasion by Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco that was selected for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Watch.

Evan Wolfson Reflects on Decade of Marriage Momentum at 'Cheers to 10 Years' Event
April 28, 2014
Evan Wolfson delivered remarks at the 10th Anniversary celebration event, reflecting on the movement and organization he has led for ten years. "Thank you for joining us at this 10th anniversary party for Freedom to Marry. With your help, we are determined, there will be no 15th," he said. Read More and Watch.

Celebrating Marriage Equality
The Huffington Post • May 16, 2014
Marc Solomon joined Mary Bonauto, Congressman Barney Frank, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in an op-ed celebrating ten years of marriage in Massachusetts, taking a look at some of the tactics that helped move marriage forward. Read More.

10 Years of Marriage, 10 Milestones to Celebrate How We Got Here
Pride Magazine • June 2014
Evan Wolfson contributed this piece to the annual Pride magazine counting down 10 big milestones for marriage in the past 10 years. He writes: "Let’s take a moment to savor and remember how far we’ve come—and with full victory within reach (provided we keep reaching), let’s re-engage to finish the job and fulfill our goal of winning marriage nationwide!" Read More.

2015: AMERICA IS READY: RETURNING TO THE SUPREME COURT

In 2015, the Supreme Court at last granted review to a marriage case, hearing arguments in the case that could bring the freedom to marry to same-sex couples nationwide. Now, as we await a decision from the nation's highest court, Freedom to Marry is committed to keeping up and heightening the conversation on why marriage matters for same-sex couples. America is ready - and it's time for all Americans to be able to say "I do" to the person they love. 

Mary Bonauto is the Supreme Court Hero We Need and Deserve
The Advocate • April 15, 2015
Shortly before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in April, Mary Bonauto, who argued for marriage in Massachusetts, was announced as the choice lawyer to present the case for the freedom to marry. Evan Wolfson explained why she was the right choice - and a marriage hero. Read More.

How Do You Change the Deeply Held Beliefs of a Nation?
Reuters • April 16, 2015
Evan Wolfson describes how, through the years, Freedom to Marry worked to win the support for marriage between same-sex couples in the court of public opinion. Read More.

The Marriage Mastermind
Slate • April 26, 2015
Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern looked at "How Evan Wolfson transformed American society" through his decades of work on the freedom to marry, noting, "Wolfson’s greatest hope for the Supreme Court’s upcoming marriage equality ruling is that it will put him out of a job." Read More.

Evan Wolfson Debates Tony Perkins on America's Evolution on the Freedom to Marry
Face the Nation • April 26, 2015
Two days before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments, Evan Wolfson showed how America was ready for the freedom to marry, responding to Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. Read More.

Evan Wolfson Debates Brian Brown on the Freedom to Marry
CSPAN • April 28, 2015
On the day of the oral argument, Wolfson squared off with Brian Brown of the so-called National Organization for Marriage. “Gay people are not out there trying to redefine marriage," Wolfson said. "The courts are not redefining marriage. Marriage is not defined by who is denied it. When gay people share in marriage, it doesn't redefine marriage." Read More.

The Making of the Marriage Equality Revolution
Politico • April 28, 2015
Historian Josh Zeitz highlighted the work of Evan Wolfson and Marc Solomon, tracking their roles as key leaders in the campaign for marriage nationwide. Read More.

Inside the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Debate
The Daily Beast • April 28, 2015
After the argument, Marc Solomon reflected on the historic nature of the day, dissecting the arguments and concluding that the lawyers for the states opposed to the freedom to marry failed to articulate a rational, secular reason for banning same-sex couples from marriage. “Love, like freedom and family,” Solomon wrote, “must - and will - win.” Read More.

2015: A DECADES-IN-THE-MAKING VICTORY

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide, at last fulfilling the Constitution's promise and allow committed same-sex couples in every state to marry. With our mission fulfilled, Freedom to Marry began a smart, strategic wind-down, preparing to close our doors in the fall of 2016.

For Freedom to Marry's Founder, a Date with History
USA Today • June 17, 2015
A look back at Evan Wolfon's long history leading the movement to win the freedom to marry, explaining: "The Supreme Court is likely to put Evan Wolfson out of work in the next two weeks, and he couldn't be happier." Read More.

Who Were the Midwives of America's Gay Marriage Movement?
Newsweek • June 21, 2015
With a Supreme Court decision on the freedom to marry just days away, Newsweek looks at two movement pioneers, saying, "'Samesex' marriage will come to America because of Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto." Read More.

Evan Wolfson: What's Next in the Fight for Gay Equality
The New York Times • June 26, 2015
Following the momentous Supreme Court victory, Evan Wolfson looks at what's next, and how the LGBT movement can harness the marriage win to continue the essential work ahead. Read More.

How Gay Marriage Became a Constitutional Right
The Atlantic • July 1, 2015
Molly Ball tells "the untold story of the improbable campaign that finally tipped the U.S. Supreme Court," examining the leading roles of Evan Wolfson and Freedom to Marry. Read More.

National Constitution Center: The Fight for LGBT Rights in Philadelphia, 50 Years Later
July 6, 2015
Evan Wolfson appeared on a panel at the National Constitution Center alongside activists who fought 50 years earlier for LGBT rights in Philadelphia. Read More.

Freedom to Marry Celebrates Victory , Joined by VP and 1,000+ Movement Colleagues
July 9, 2015
At our Celebration, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden helped us reflect on this historic victory, alongside 1,000 of our friends, movement colleagues, and marriage pioneers. Read More and Watch Video.

Evan Wolfson: 'I Believed We Could Win'
The New York Times Magazine • July 24, 2015
In this in-depth Q&A, Evan Wolfson examines the SCOTUS decision one month later and reflects on how we as a movement arrived at this historic moment. Read More.

Lessons for Other Social Movements

"Lessons Learned, Symposium Keynote Between Evan Wolfson and Olatunde Johnson"
 Columbia Human Rights Law ReviewApril 2014
At this symposium, Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson shared lessons learned from the marriage movement, brainstorming ways that the right to housing movement can learn from the effort and successes.

"Freedom to Marry's Ladder of Clarity: Lessons from a Winning Campaign (That Is Not Yet Won)"
Columbia Journal of Gender and Law • March 2015
"We had great clarity about the vision," Evan Wolfson said at this Columbia Law Symposium on gay rights and reproductive rights. "If you can’t say what winning is, you’re not going to be able to get there as effectively as you need to."

"Marriage Equality and Social Change: Lessons for Advocates"
The Aspen Institute • May 2015
Evan Wolfson participated in this panel discussion on marriage advocates' success in turning around public opinion in states around the nation while working on litigation to make the legal case for the freedom to marry. The panel examined the two-pronged approach to change-making used in the marriage fight and how it is being studied by other advocates.

"The Impact of Judicial Decisions on the Midterm Elections"
The Center for American Progress Action Center • November 2014
Watch video from this panel featuring Evan Wolfson discussing federal court decisions in favor of the freedom to marry, and how they impacted Election Day races during the 2014 Midterm elections. The panel takes a look at the political landscape for political organizations and examines the issues moving forward.

"Guns, Marriage, and the Constitution"
Open Society Foundations • January 2014
Listen to audio from this conversation between Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson and David Keene, the former president of the National Rifle Association, on the challenges each campaign faced and the strategies they deployed to protect the right to which they are committed: the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and supporters of the right to bear arms. 

"How We Won Marriage: 10 Lessons Learned"
The Huffington Post • June 2015
Following a victory for the freedom to marry nationwide at the U.S. Supreme Court, Marc Solomon breaks down ten key lessons for other movements about how we won, including conveying a bold, inspirational vision; following an overarching strategy; finding the right messengers; working with bipartisan attention; and building momentum each and every day. 

TESTIMONIALS on FREEDOM TO MARRY 
“It is not hyperbole to say that Evan Wolfson occupies the top slot when it comes to leaders responsible for winning marriage in the country. Evan's many years’ commitment and dogged determination rallied both the LGBT community and non-gay allies to support our full dignity and equality. Long before others, Evan believed we could win this fight.”
- Kate Kendall
National Center for Lesbian Rights
“Evan Wolfson, without a doubt, is the modern day founder of the marriage equality movement. In good part, we have achieved our most recent victory in the Supreme Court because of his leadership and vision. He is a hero of mine."
- David Mixner
"Nothing about [the marriage fight] feels quick if you consider that Evan Wolfson, a chief architect of the political quest for same-sex marriage, wrote a thesis on the topic at Harvard Law School in 1983."
- Frank Bruni, The New York Times
June 20, 2015
“Given the momentum surrounding the issue it’s hard for many analysts to see the session ending without the justices affirming that gay couples have the right to marry. If they do, it would play right into the strategy of Freedom to Marry, the national campaign for marriage equality, which has been working to build pressure around the issue so the Court feels obligated to act.”
- Time Magazine
January 16, 2015
“The relative speed of this victory...is a vindication of the notion that brave leaders for seemingly hopeless causes can still change this country by fighting step by step over years. When I first heard Evan Wolfson, the civil-rights lawyer of Freedom to Marry, outline his strategy to legalize same-sex marriage back in the previous century, I thought he was a dreamer.  He was, but one who against so many odds made a big American dream come true.”
- Frank Rich, New York Magazine
October 9, 2014
"America’s increasing acceptance of gay rights didn’t descend silently like snow in the middle of the night. It arose out of the grueling, indefatigable campaigns by groups like Freedom to Marry, whose activists spent thousands of hours bending the arc with their own hands."
- Mark Joseph Stern, Slate.com
November 3, 2014
"Wolfson has the cases, the president, many judges and lawmakers, nearly 20 states, and the public behind him."
- Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed
January 23, 2014
“[Freedom to Marry’s] strategy has helped lead to a stunning turnaround in public opinion on gay marriage and a series of electoral wins that laid the groundwork for the recent court rulings.”
- The Associated Press
January 20, 2014
For the past 25 years, Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of the nonprofit group Freedom to Marry, has been at the center of this rapidly growing political and social movement 
- Richard Socarides, The New Yorker
December 2, 2013
The indispensable man in bringing marriage equality to America is Evan Wolfson ... History will one day see him as the critical legal critic, community organizer, and strategic activist behind this movement.” 
- Andrew Sullivan, The Dish
May 15, 2012
Even foes such as the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins acknowledge that Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry and its allies this year are better organized in this fight than his side.” 
- The National Journal
March 28, 2015
The Godfather of gay marriage - Evan Wolfson is considered a pioneer who not only saw the legal arguments but advocated embracing the ‘vocabulary’ of marriage when even progressive activists fretted about moving too fast.” 
- Lois Romano, The Daily Beast
July 20, 2011