February 7, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Freedom to Marry pledges $2 million for state marriage campaigns

Evan Wolfson

Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Freedom to Marry on Thursday announced it hopes to raise $2 million for various state same-sex marriage campaigns around the country this year.

The group said it will invest an initial $800,000 through the “Win More States Fund” to groups in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and Rhode Island fighting to allow gays and lesbians to tie knot.

“Building on our four for four ballot victories in November, Freedom to Marry is calling on supporters to join us in continuing the momentum and winning still more states in 2013,” Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said in a statement. “With the clock ticking on the Supreme Court’s review of marriage cases, we want to make as much progress as we can – and with battles already under way now in state capitals, we all need to put our money where our momentum is.”

The announcement comes as Delaware same-sex marriage advocates await the anticipated introduction of a bill later this year that would allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot in the First State.

Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman declined to tell the Washington Blade how much money Freedom to Marry gave her organization, but she welcomed the contribution.

“We are thrilled to have Freedom to Marry as one of our national partners and are incredibly grateful for their participation and their expertise,” she said.

Freedom to Marry’s announcement came a day after Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton expressed support for nuptials for gays and lesbians in his annual State of the State address.

An Illinois Senate committee earlier this week approved a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot, while the Rhode Island House of Representatives last month overwhelmingly approved a same-sex marriage measure.

Hawaii lawmakers on Jan. 24 last month introduced two proposals that would extend marriage to gays and lesbians in their state. New Jersey legislators in the coming weeks are expected to once again debate the issue after Gov. Chris Christie last February vetoed a same-sex marriage bill they approved.

Indiana lawmakers on Thursday announced they would delay a vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

“It’s encouraging to see Indiana’s leaders making this choice, because limiting the freedom to marry is never in the best interest of a state, its residents, or its businesses,” Marc Solomon, national campaign director at Freedom to Marry, said. “This announcement gives the people of Indiana some much-needed time to have important conversations about marriage and freedom. As they do, we are confident that lawmakers of both parties will recognize that permanently eliminating the freedom to marry in the state constitution is wrong for Indiana’s families.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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