HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Supreme Court could decide the fate of millions of same-sex couples nationwide as soon as Monday and certainly before July 1. The court will determine whether states can prohibit same-sex marriage -- as 13 states currently do.
Thursday, WHNT News 19 spoke with a representative from Freedom to Marry, just one organization closely watching the evolving debate on same-sex marriage.
Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has focused from the beginning on setting the stage for a national victory at the Supreme Court. Working with national and state organizations and allied individuals, they have built a critical mass of states where same-sex couples can marry and a critical mass of public support in favor of the freedom to marry.
All this from what many may consider a very unlikely source -- groups of young, conservative Republicans.
Freedom to Marry’s goal is to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage once and for all. Not an easy task especially when they consider widespread resistance, specifically here in the south.
"I have family there in Alabama and I myself am from Texas and I'm very familiar with the sentiments in that area," says Freedom to Marry Campaign Manager Jerri Ann Henry. "We really learned early on that there's what I like to refer to as the 'silent majority;' which is always up against this very vocal minority."
Freedom to Marry is actively combating the narrative that all Republicans think and act the same way. Henry says that's not only untrue, but harmful to conservative principles like limited government and strong values for all families.
"The Republican party platform has over 5 different places where it's not just anti-gay marriage, it's hateful and has very incendiary language. We believe that language should be changed to be more inclusive and reflect the fact that within the Republican party, there are differing opinions on this issue," Henry explains.
There is certainly a tangible paradigm shift happening in America right now when it comes to notion that everyone should have the freedom to marry. The group has been working with all GOP campaigns and even the National Republican Committee to reform the platform. Henry says it's not just a PR stunt to win delegates and millennial voters, but a push for a genuine change of heart.
"I went out and did a focus group with our platform and put it in front of likely Republican voters who were not for the freedom to marry," Henry explains. "But when they read that language -- and it was a lot of moms and dads and families from a number of different states, much like Alabama -- when they read the language that was in the platform, many of them were appalled," she says. "And one of the things that really stood out to me that people said was, 'you know, I wouldn't ever let my children talk about one of our neighbors the way our platform is talking about same-sex couples in the United States."
Henry says once a Supreme Court ruling comes down, the mission of Freedom to Marry won't end. She says Freedom to Marry will continue to make the case that America – all of America – is ready for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. After a long journey and much debate, they plan to underscore the reality that it’s time for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution ensuring the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples -- which they argue makes for a stronger country no matter what your family looks like.
Freedom to Marry wants you to help build a vocal majority for marriage. Click here to sign your name to the Freedom to Marry Pledge supporting marriage rights for all Americans.