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Commitment Campaign

Third Way has created its bipartisan Commitment Campaign to help policymakers and advocates persuade Middle America to strongly support marriage for gay couples. Below you will find our work on this campaign, including studies, resources, and infographics that illustrate the progress being made in this effort.

Reports: Our Country’s Journey on Marriage

Understanding the Marriage & Religious Freedom Act
Now that the Defense of Marriage Act has been relegated to the dustbin of history, those who oppose marriage for gay couples have begun to change their focus at the federal level to religious liberty. To that end, several marriage opponents introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act in the House, and although its name may imply that this bill would protect some of our most closely held American values, its mandate would contravene longstanding principles our country holds dear. This fact sheet outlines three ways MARFA would run afoul of American values.

Americans Agree: Marriage for Gay Couples Doesn’t Threaten Religious Liberty
The shrinking group of politicians who still oppose allowing gay couples to marry often argues that doing so would infringe on the religious liberty of marriage opponents. So Third Way and the Human Rights Campaign joined forces to field a national poll to find out where the country currently stands on marriage, non-discrimination laws, and proposals which would allow businesses like restaurants, florists, photographers, and bakers to turn away gay people and couples.

Marriage & The Supreme Court: What Does It Mean?
The Supreme Court has handed down historic decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. What do these rulings mean for gay couples across the country? And what will they mean for Congress and the Obama Administration?

Pro-Marriage Legislators Win Elections
Do voters punish legislators who support marriage for gay couples? A look at the data from the 2012 election shows that the answer is NO.

How Marriage Won in Washington State
Third Way conducted a poll immediately after the election in Washington State, where voters had approved, 53.7% to 46.3%, a law allowing gay couples to marry. When compared to the results of our 2009 post-election poll in the same state, these new results illustrate the rapid evolution that has taken place in just the last handful of years.

Commitment: The Answer to the Middle’s Questions on Marriage for Gay Couples
National polls now indicate that a majority of Americans support allowing gay couples to marry. But these gains are not yet locked in—a sizable chunk of the support is still susceptible to the arguments of marriage opponents. This report provides six lessons for talking to the middle about marriage and lays out the most effective framework for building and solidifying support for marriage across the country.

The State of Relationship Recognition in 2013
In the 17 years since DOMA was passed, our country has made significant progress—but the last 12 months may prove to be the most important yet in our country’s evolution. This report explains why.

The Big Shift: Changing Views on Marriage for Gay Couples
Support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry has risen dramatically in the past decade. Using data from 98 national surveys conducted between 2004 and 2011 with more than 128,000 responses, we dug underneath the topline numbers to gain insights about how different groups are evolving on this issue.

Advice: Talking about Marriage to the Middle

How to Change Your Public Position on Marriage
In the decade and a half since the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), our country has seen a remarkable transformation in both views towards gay and lesbian couples and in laws that recognize their relationships. This fact sheet lays out two major things to remember when talking about DOMA repeal to moderates and others in the middle.

Talking about Marriage in the Democratic Platform
This year, for the first time in history, the Democratic Party Platform will include language supporting marriage for gay couples, and policymakers across the party will undoubtedly be asked about their views of that plank. This memo provides two sets of advice on marriage for gay couples—the first for those who would like to publicly support marriage, and the second for those who are not yet ready to do so.

Talking about Religious Liberty, Marriage, & Non-Discrimination Laws
Some marriage opponents have tried to claim that allowing gay couples to marry will infringe on the religious liberty of churches, religious organizations, or small business owners—when in fact laws have been carefully crafted to explicitly protect it. Here are five things to know when pushing back against overly broad religious liberty proposals.

Commitment Fact Sheet
If you know only three things about advocating for marriage to the middle, they are the three lessons in this fact sheet. The most important lesson is that for the middle, marriage is about commitment—not rights.

Commitment Pocket Card
This quick-reference pocket card offers the most succinct framework and talking points for moving the middle on marriage: using a message of commitment, not rights.

Resources: Infographics, Timelines, and Maps

INFOGRAPHIC: Recognition Rising INFOGRAPHIC: Recognition Rising
This graphic provides a snapshot of the growing consensus in favor of legal relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples, extending all the way to marriage in many parts of the country. In 1996, DOMA was thought to have ended the debate on marriage. But it seems to have been only the beginning of a more profound shift in favor of gay and lesbian couples.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Changing State of Relationship RecognitionINFOGRAPHIC: The Changing State of Relationship Recognition
In 1996, when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, only 5% of Americans lived in a place that had any kind of legal recognition for the relationships of gay couples. Today, that number is nearly 48%. See where we’ve made gains in marriage and other relationship recognition laws across the country.

TIMELINE: Six Imminent Moments TIMELINE: Six Imminent Moments
This graphic illustrates the six major “marriage moments” in the next year that will spur a sustained and high-profile national conversation on the issue, culminating in a possible Supreme Court decision in June of 2013.

TIMELINE: State Marriage Laws TIMELINE: State Marriage Laws
Track the movement on marriage for gay couples in the states since the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in September 1996, and see which states have marriage-related ballot initiatives on deck in 2012.

TIMELINE: Federal Litigation on Marriage and DOMA TIMELINE: Federal Litigation on Marriage and DOMA
Track the progress in the federal courts in cases challenging limitations on allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry and questioning the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), from the passage of DOMA in 1996 through June 2012.

TIMELINE: The Respect for Marriage Act TIMELINE: The Respect for Marriage Act
Track the progress we’ve made on the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, from September 2009 to June 2012.

MAP: 2012 State Relationship Recognition Laws and Ballot Initiatives MAP: 2012 State Relationship Recognition Laws and Ballot Initiatives
See which states have laws that recognize the relationships of gay and lesbian couples and which will face marriage-related ballot initiatives in 2012.

MAP: Pending Marriage and DOMA Cases MAP: Pending Marriage and DOMA Cases
See where federal and state courts are considering cases challenging limitations on allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry and questioning the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, updated as of June 2012.

About the Commitment Campaign

The Commitment Campaign’s research, analysis, and messaging advice have changed the conversation about marriage in the halls of Congress, the offices of the Administration, and in living rooms across the nation. This presentation provides an introduction to the Commitment Campaign and its role in the country’s ongoing evolution in support of allowing committed gay couples to marry.