ACLU Launches ‘Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania’ Campaign

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has launched a major statewide education campaign to support marriage equality today. Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania will be a grassroots effort to generate awareness and support for equal relationship recognition for same-sex couples across the commonwealth.

Two press conference took place today – one this morning in the City-County Building in Pittsburgh, and the other in Philadelphia City Hall. Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter spoke at their city’s respective launch events. Each press conference also had plaintiffs in Whitewood v. Wolf and representatives from the Freedom to Marry as featured speakers. PSEC had student representatives present at both media events.

The campaign describes itself on their website as a “grassroots public education campaign to build support for the freedom to marry in Pennsylvania. This campaign is about sharing stories and fostering conversation – showing that every gay and lesbian person is a part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and respect.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter discusses the case with two Whitewood plaintiffs and their newborn baby. Reggie Shulford, ACLU of PA Executive Director, and Shawn Werner of the Freedom to Marry stand at the podium.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, center, discusses the case with Whitewood plaintiffs Dara and Helena and their newborn baby. Reggie Shuford (at right), ACLU of PA Executive Director, and Shawn Werner of the Freedom to Marry (at left), stand at the podium. (Credit: KSV)

With the Whitewood trial start date now set for June 9, 2014 in Harrisburg, the ACLU is undertaking the important effort to build large-scale buy-in of support from Pennsylvanians. Advocates know that legal equality is only part of the equation toward justice realized – the culture of our state must also be pushed forward socially to be more affirming for same-sex couples. These types of campaigns can be very helpful at defusing opposition which, if not engaged, could become a significant barrier for Pennsylvanians supporting a decision which strikes down our state version of DOMA. 

Since Whitewood was first introduced in Federal Court in July,  a slew of other cases since filed in state and federal courts for marriage equality in Pennsylvania.

Why Marriage Matters campaigns have been started by the ACLU, at times partnering with other organizations such as the Freedom to Marry, in several other states including Ohio, New Mexico, and Arizona.

To get involved with the campaign, please visit the Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania website, follow the campaign on their Facebook page, or contact the campaign using this online form.

The following organizations have endorsed marriage equality for Pennsylvania with the campaign:


Why Marriage Matters PA Campaign Coordinator Melissa Morris speaks at the Pittsburgh press event. At right, Mayor-elect Bill Peduto looks on. (Credit: ACLU of PA)

ACLU/ACLU of Pennsylvania
Freedom to Marry
AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania
Alder Health Services
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
Attic Youth Center
Bike Pittsburgh
Delaware Valley Americans United
Delaware Valley Legacy Fund
Dignity Philadelphia
Dreams of Hope (Pittsburgh)
Equality Forum
Equality PA
Erie Gay News
First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh
Freethought Society
Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller
HIAS Pennsylvania
Hispanic Bar Association
Keystone Progress
LGBT Center of Central PA
LGBT Community Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania
Mazzoni Center
NEPA Rainbow Alliance, Inc.
New Hope Celebrates, Inc.
NWPA Pride Alliance
Pennsylvania Diversity Network
Pennsylvania Nonbelievers
Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition
PFLAG New Castle
PFLAG of Erie & Crawford Counties
PFLAG Philadelphia
Philadelphia Coalition of Reason
Philadelphia Family Pride
Prevention Point Philadelphia
Reconciling United Methodists of Eastern Pennsylvania
SeniorLAW Center
Support Center for Child Advocates
The Summit
TransFamily of Erie
Unity Fellowship of Christ Church Philadelphia
United Steelworkers International Union (USW)
William Way LGBT Community Center
Women’s Law Project

[As of December 11, 2014]


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