National gay rights group to air same-sex marriage ads in Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A national organization with goals to bring equal rights to same-sex couples has launched a three-day commercial campaign.

"I can't imagine anyone loving someone as much as I love my wife," says the woman in the commercial.  Images of her hugging their daughter while smiling lovingly at her spouse across the table at a Birmingham pizza restaurant flash across the screen.

The mood quickly changes as she continues, though. "Alabama does not recognize our marriage."



The commercial, paid for by Freedom to Marry, is pushing for not only the national legalization of same-sex marriage, but also the respect given to heterosexual couples.

"Everyone wants to believe that if you do what you have to do, you'll be taken care of.  We don't have that safeguard," the Birmingham wife and mother continues.

"When you're not treated as married under the law, it's being shut out of an important system of legal protections that touches everything from birth until death with taxes in between," said Evan Wolfson, the Freedom to Marry founder.

Seventy percent of Americans live in states where gay couples can marry.  In Alabama, same-sex couples are holding their breath until February ninth -- when a court-ordered end to the marriage ban is set to take effect.

The commercial campaign will run during political talk shows in the Birmingham and Montgomery areas.

"We're trying to reach people that are part of this conversation," said Wolfson. "I'm confident that most of the people in Alabama, like most people in the United States, are going to treat their neighbors and their fellow citizens with respect and with dignity."

The commercial aims to show that at the core, they're just a typical American family.

"This couple, Jessica and Chi, live together in Alabama," explained Wolfson. "They're raising a little daughter."

But because of the state's same-sex marriage ban, they wed in Connecticut, then came back to the south where they are part of a church that celebrates and accepts their marriage.

"And by not allowing that church to have its views represented equally under the law, the government is picking and choosing," said Wolfson.

He went on to say it's not about telling a church what it must do, but stopping the government from discriminating in issuing legal marriage licenses to people trying to build a family.

While the future of same-sex marriage in Alabama is not final, state officials including Governor Robert Bentley oppose it. His belief is that the state should control its affairs and protect 'traditional marriage.'

Learn the story behind the ad and watch the video here.