Dec 18 2012




Journalist Molly Ball has written for Atlantic Magazine an amazing in-depth article about the marriage equality victory. Clearly she was given full access by Freedom to Marry and as a result the reader is provided a rare glimpse into the decisions, stresses and fears of the team that came together to fight for marriage equality. The end result of their efforts yielded four huge turning point victories in November.

This is a must read. Here is an excerpt

On November 6, four states -- Maine, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota -- took the side of gay marriage in ballot referenda. The improbable sweep for an issue that spent decades as an across-the-board political loser has already changed the landscape for gay rights in America -- and could provide a new framework for other causes: The leaders of other social movements, such as the campaign for gun control, are already studying the methods behind the gay-marriage campaigners' victory.

This is the exclusive story of that victory, based on reporting that began more than a month before Election Day; dozens of interviews; and access to scores of internal communications.

Engineering a Revolution

Today, America stands on the brink of a gay-marriage tipping point. The Supreme Court's announcement Friday that it would hear two cases related to gay marriage, including an appeal on California's Proposition 8, raised the possibility that by next summer legal gay marriage could be the law of the land.

But prior to November, gay marriage had been placed on 31 state ballots -- and voted down 31 times. Even in blue states like California (2008) and Maine (2009), defeat was universal. To opponents of gay marriage, that perfect record had become a powerful talking point -- proof that American voters stood firmly against any redefinition of the fundamental societal institution. "The people of this country have not changed their view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman," Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told me in August. "The only poll that counts is the vote, and we've never lost the vote."

Now that that's changed, it's easy, especially for satisfied liberals, to see the results as simply the inexorable forward march of progress -- the long arc of the moral universe bending toward justice as public opinion becomes ever more enlightened. But like Obama's announcement, there was more to these victories than met the eye.

"Somebody said to me, 'Oh, you had Maine and Washington, those are easy states,'" said Amy Simon, a Democratic pollster who conducted research for this year's campaigns. "Let me tell you, there was some bristling on the other end of the phone." Until this year, she noted, Maine had two Republican senators, and in 2010 had elected a Tea Party-inspired governor and awarded Republicans control of the statehouse. It has America's oldest electorate, a large rural population, and a high proportion of Catholics -- all challenging demographics for gay-marriage campaigners. "That was the easy case? Are you kidding me?" Simon said. "This inevitability storyline is a rewrite of history to me."

The breakthrough victories for gay marriage in 2012 were narrow and hard-won. They were the result of meticulous work by a disciplined group of operatives who had vowed, after the defeats of 2008 and 2009, to find a way to win at the ballot box. Some gay-rights activists and donors were so dispirited after the California loss that they didn't think it could be done, at least not yet -- the public just wasn't ready. Many argued it was too big a risk. But Wolfson and his allies believed they could, in Simon's words, "create a tipping point" by combining smart political campaigning with a persuasion effort unprecedented in its depth and duration."

Read more here.........