Love is in the air! States across the country advance toward marriage equality

FreedomtoMarryDayThere couldn’t be a better day than Valentine’s Day to advocate for marriage equality so that all loving and committed couples are able to marry the person they love. That’s why supporters in Minnesota, Oregon and Illinois are all making moves toward equality today.

In Minnesota, Minnesotans United for All Families is celebrating “Freedom to Marry Day” with a rally at the state Capitol urging legislators to support marriage equality. Today is a key first step in working with state legislators to ensure that in 2013, Minnesota state law is changed to allow loving and committed same-sex couples the freedom to marry. In 2012, Minnesotans rejected a constitutional amendment that sought to ban the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

OregonUnitedIn Oregon, Oregon United for Marriage is bringing Oregonians together to make it legal for same-sex couples to marry there. In 14 cities across the state, hundreds of Oregonians are stepping forward to sign sponsorship petitions to advance this initiative. The Task Force currently has two organizers on the ground for this historic event, mentoring organizers and assisting in the statewide oversight of the 14-city event.

At the Portland event, Gov. John Kitzhaber and former Gov. Barbara Roberts are scheduled to speak at 3 p.m., and sign the petition. They will be joined by representatives of several organizations, including the Task Force, who have worked with Basic Rights Oregon over the past several years to engage communities across Oregon and build support for the freedom to marry. We will continue our support of Oregon United for Marriage over the coming 21-month campaign to bring the freedom to marriage to Oregon.

Task Force Director Sarah Reece with the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition after a training.

Task Force Director Sarah Reece with the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition after a training.

In Illinois, senators will vote later today on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Task Force staff members have worked with Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition working to pass the bill, and will continue to offer support throughout the fight for mariage equality in the state.

You can follow the action in Illinois today via this live-feed from the Senate.

After the watershed moment that was Election Day 2012, when Maine, Maryland and Washington state all legalized marriage equality, there are now nine states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex couples can legally wed. We wish couples in those states a happy Valentine’s Day and remain committed to working state by state and at the federal level for LGBT equality including and beyond the freedom to marry.

Equality Maine released this video of newlyweds to celebrate today and we hope you enjoy it: