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New Community Resource Offers Allies Conversation Tools for Building Support of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

NEW YORK, APRIL 12, 2012 — A new community resource released today offers allies of LGBT equality conversational approaches to build support for the freedom to marry. An Ally’s Guide to Talking About Marriage for Same-Sex Couples provides ideas for helping people who are undecided on an “issue” become supportive of marriage for all loving, committed couples.

The resource—co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Freedom to Marry—is available online as part of the Talking About LGBT Issues Series at www.lgbtmap.org/talkingaboutseries and www.glaad.org/talkingabout.

“As we’ve shared the stories of loving, committed same-sex couples through our Why Marriage Matters campaign, we have also seen support for the freedom to marry grow significantly in the last few years,” said Thalia Zepatos, Director of Public Engagement for Freedom to Marry. “The Ally’s Guide brings together so many of the lessons we’ve learned, and we hope it will help to continue to build the momentum for marriage by empowering more allies to speak out for marriage.”

Over the last two years, multiple national polls, including two released last month by ABC News/Washington Post and Public Religion Research Institute/Religion News Service, show that a majority of Americans now support marriage for same-sex couples. This surge follows years of important public and private conversations about marriage and same-sex couples.

“Over the years, we’ve seen people experience a gradual change of heart when it comes to marriage for same-sex couples,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project. “This happens as people come to understand that it’s not about debating ‘rights’--it’s about speaking from the heart, and helping people understand how much the commitment and promise of marriage means all committed couples, gay and straight alike.”

The guide looks at three important approaches for sustaining and building support for marriage:

  • The importance of grounding conversations in the core values that embody marriage for all committed couples, gay and straight alike: love, commitment, responsibility, and the lifelong promise that two people make to take care of one another, in good times and bad.
  • The need to help people understand on an emotional level how same-sex couples are hurt when they are shut out of marriage.
  • The need to remind people of how our shared beliefs—particularly the Golden Rule, freedom, and not sitting in judgment of others—are at the heart of people’s journeys toward supporting marriage.

“At the heart of fairness is simple conversation—the stories of our friends, family and colleagues—that changes hearts and minds by reminding Americans of the common humanity that we share,” said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. “This guide is a critical tool to grow awareness of the importance of marriage for all committed couples.”

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Learn more at www.lgbtmap.org.

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings. For more information about Freedom to Marry’s Why Marriage Matters campaign, visit www.whymarriagematters.org.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit http://glaad.org or connect with GLAAD at http://glaad.org/connect.

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Media Contacts:
Calla Rongerude
Movement Advancement Project (MAP)
415-205-2420

Rich Ferraro
GLAAD
646-871-8011

Jackie Yodashkin
Freedom to Marry
917-620-4502