Evan Wolfson Hub

Join Us LIVE This Thursday for an 'ENDA Situation Room'


This Thursday at 2 pm, Towleroad will be webcasting the first-ever ENDA Situation Room at New York Law School, hosted by Freedom to Work, the leading advocacy organization for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

The event, moderated by Towleroad legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman, will consist of a bipartisan discussion of ENDA and the path to victory.

Towleroad readers can tweet questions they would like answered at the forum to @freedomtowork.

Speakers at the event will include Tico Almeida, President of Freedom to Work; Evan Wolfson, President of Freedom to Marry; Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA Law; Gregory T. Angelo, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans; Melissa Sklarz, Executive Director of Stonewall Democrats and Professor Ari Ezra Waldman of New York Law School, and legal editor for Towleroad. More additions may be announced in the coming days...

Join us here LIVE this Thursday for the webcast, from 2 to 4 pm ET.

Enda_obamaOver the weekend, President Obama tweeted the sad facts: "In 29 states, no state law protects you from being fired for being gay. Let's fix that."

Here's a report on the event from Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade, who spoke with Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson about this week's ENDA Situation Room:

Wolfson told the Washington Blade he envisions that his participation will facilitate a discussion on the ways successes from the marriage equality movement can be applied to ENDA.

“It’s going to really be more of a conversation about what are some of the lessons that we applied from history and from other movements in the shaping our strategy and campaign to bring the freedom to marry to the United States, and how can we apply some of those in the work to end employment discrimination,” Wolfson said.

The cross-pollination of the marriage equality strategy to other movements isn’t new for Wolfson, who said he’s been asked by other campaigns — ranging from the environment to voting rights efforts — to talk about the ways in which marriage equality achievements can be applied to these initiatives.

Evan Wolfson And Andrew Sullivan Talk To Anderson Cooper About The End Of DOMA: VIDEO

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Last night, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson and gay blogger Andrew Sullivan sat down with Anderson Cooper to discuss the end of DOMA and what this decision will mean for gay couples, immigration, and the federal government's 'gay exception.' 

Said Wolfson:

"Today the Court said that the federal government has to go now from being the number one discriminator against gay couples to putting its moral and legal weight on the side of families, on the side of fairness, and on the side of the freedom to marry. We haven't won all the states yet. We haven't finished the job. But but the momentum this adds will continue to bring us forward and our country closer [to full marriage equality]"

He goes on to talk about the realities of legally married gay couples who reside in states that don't recognize same-sex marriages and the work that is still needed to bring full marriage equality to the remaining 37 states.

"Couples should not see there marriages sputter in and out like cell phone service depending on what state they're in," he said

Andrew Sullivan also chimed in on what the DOMA decision will means for binational gay couples who will no longer be saddled with the constant worry of deportation. 

"The whole nightmare is over. They [binational gay couples] can apply for a spousal green card just like a regular human being...if you love someone and want to spend your life with them, the government has no right getting in the way."

Check out the great segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Evan Wolfson And Andrew Sullivan Talk To Anderson Cooper About The End Of DOMA: VIDEO" »

Evan Wolfson Schools Tony Perkins on 'Face the Nation': 'Gay People are not Going to Use Up the Marriage Licenses' — VIDEO


Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson, Daily Beast journalist David Frum, and Alliance Defending Freedom's Austin Nimocks participated in a roundtable this morning on Face the Nation to discuss the upcoming arguments at the Supreme Court and the rising support for marriage equality in the nation.

WolfsonEvan Wolfson delivered this sizzler:

"Marriage is not defined by who is denied it. When gay people share in the freedom to marry, it doesn't change your marriage, it doesn't change Tony Perkins' marriage. My marriage is my marriage. And it means that I'm able to share in the same aspirations of commitment and love and support and dedication and connectedness, and that my parents are able to dance at our wedding. And our familiy and friends are able to support and celebrate and hold us accountable for the commitment we've made to one another. That takes nothing away from anyone else...

...The gay people are not going to use up all the marriage licenses when we enter marriage. And this is not just somebody saying it. We now have nine states including the District of Columbia, fourteen countries on four continents in which gay people share in the freedom to marry and the result is families are helped and no one is hurt."


Continue reading "Evan Wolfson Schools Tony Perkins on 'Face the Nation': 'Gay People are not Going to Use Up the Marriage Licenses' — VIDEO" »

Thomas Roberts Speaks to Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson About Marriage Equality Ad Campaign: VIDEO


This morning I posted about the new million-dollar marriage equality campaign spearheaded by HRC and Freedom to Marry which has as its lead-off piece of media an ad featuring Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, and Colin Powell making pro-equality statements.

Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson joined MSNBC's Thomas Roberts today to talk about the campaign.


Continue reading "Thomas Roberts Speaks to Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson About Marriage Equality Ad Campaign: VIDEO" »

Maryland's Marriage Equality Measure, Once a Notable Omission, Shows Up on 'Freedom to Marry' Agenda

Yesterday, news spread of a fundraiser hosted by former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman and a celebrity-studded committee at Mehlman's Chelsea, NYC apartment for national marriage equality organization Freedom to Marry. The invitation, which you can look at AFTER THE JUMP, was posted by Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.

WolfsonWhat was not noted by the Buzzfeed article was that, for the first time, Maryland is one of Freedom to Marry's beneficiaries and appears to now be on their agenda. That Maryland is back on the group's radar is good news, of course, showing that recent polls (showing a 53% approval, 38-39% opposition) have bolstered the confidence of advocacy groups and LGBT supporters that a marriage equality measure (along with perhaps several others) can succeed at the ballot.

Last March, the Washington Blade's Kevin Naff, in an article headlined "Freedom to Marry Abandons Maryland Fight", wrote:

Clearly, [founder and president Evan] Wolfson lacks confidence in the coalition, led by the Human Rights Campaign, and implies here that there isn’t “sufficient groundwork and investment” to preserve the law. The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage predictably pounced on Wolfson’s remarks as evidence that the law lacks support.

Naff noted that bloggers were expressing dismay about the group's non-inclusion of Maryland and lack of support for the North Carolina  campaign against Amendment One.

This morning, asked about the group's addition of Maryland to its agenda, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson told me, "I have always believed we could win in Maryland, provided those in the lead there this round did the work and used the time effectively."

"Our drive and focus and hard work between March and now enabled Freedom to Marry first to raise and then invest more than $3 million so far in key battleground states," he added, "becoming the major national fundraiser for three of the campaigns (Maine, Washington, and Minnesota), even as we looked to others, notably HRC, to take the lead in Maryland.  Our focus and push has given those states unprecedented early money (the most valuable), enabling them to lock in TV air time before prices escalate, and otherwise make the case to voters."

Freedom to Marry's efforts have been focused strategically and incrementally, with the goal "of winning 1, then if doable 2, then if doable 3, etc," said Wolfson.

Finally, Wolfson laid out the group's plans for the remainder of the year:

"Building on the help we've quietly been providing Maryland all along, as well as our lead role on the three others, we again wanted to send a call to action that everyone should step up and do what we all can to win in all 4 states.  Having earlier this year worked to pave a pathway for the president, secure a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic platform, and launch Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, overcoming the ballot-measure barrier is now our remaining 2012 top priority as we look to tee up a big 2013, with more states to win and the need to create a climate of empowerment as the Supreme Court potentially hears one or more marriage-related cases."

The invite for next month's fundraiser, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Maryland's Marriage Equality Measure, Once a Notable Omission, Shows Up on 'Freedom to Marry' Agenda" »

Obama Delivering Barnard Commencement Address Alongside Evan Wolfson; Will Attend NYC LGBT Fundraiser Later


Obama is delivering Barnard College's commencement address at this hour, NY1 reports:

Fund_obamaArriving in the city late Monday morning, the president is slated to deliver the commencement address before 600 Barnard graduates at 1 p.m.

Obama called Barnard President Debora Spar on February 29 and requested to speak at the commencement. The original scheduled speaker, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, agreed to step aside to allow the president to headline the event.

While both Democrats and Republicans have recently debated on the campaign trail a women's right to choose and issues concerning working women, one of the scheduled student speakers at the commencement, Jessica Blank, told NY1 she hoped the president would also address the economy in his speech.

"You can't not talk about jobs. I think it's going to be interesting to see the balance I'm talking about, women's issues and jobs. I think they're both going to be prominently featured in his speech," said Blank. "But I think that coming to Barnard is a little bit different than whatever other colleges the president has spoken at in the past about jobs, because of this issue of women's leadership, and it's such a focus at Barnard, especially during the last four years."

The president is expected to receive a medal of distinction at the commencement.

WolfsonAlso receiving the medal is Freedom to Marry Founder and President Evan Wolfson. The joint honor was planned well before last week's historic announcement from Obama.

Said Wolfson in a statement:

I am deeply moved to join with President Obama to celebrate the next generation of leaders coming up among Barnard women, and to share the Barnard Medal of Distinction with him. I will thank the President for doing what we elect presidents to do - showing moral leadership in standing up for freedom, fairness, and families - and for speaking in such personal terms about the journey he and so many Americans have made to understand who gay familes are and why marriage matters.

Later this afternoon Obama will attend an LGBT fundraiser:

After the commencement, Obama is heading to the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea for a $5,000-a-ticket fundraiser co-hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council and openly gay singer Ricky Martin.


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