Third Way Celebrates Historic Senate Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act
WASHINGTON — Third Way released the following statement from Lanae Erickson, Senior Vice President for Social Policy, Education & Politics:
“Fourteen years ago, we sat with marriage equality advocates in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 in California and searched our souls to understand why the movement had lost 30 ballot initiatives in a row, even in the bluest states. We sat on the floor and dug through reams of polling crosstabs that showed big portions of Democratic voters, self-described liberals, and even San Franciscans had voted to ban marriage for gay couples in the state. We worked hand-in-hand with researchers at Freedom to Marry, the Movement Advancement Project, Basic Rights Oregon, and others to identify the concerns that were holding Americans back and develop effective ways to address them. We deeply shared their passion for honoring the commitment of every couple who chooses to pledge their life to one another. And we deeply shared their belief that if you meet people where they are and listen to their perspectives with empathy, you can persuade folks to change their minds and build a durable coalition to support progressive change that will stand the test of time.
“Back then, most people would not have called supporting marriage equality a ‘moderate’ position. Fewer than 20 Democratic Senators were on the record in favor of it, and the sitting Democratic President outright opposed it. But we fought alongside brilliant advocates, lawyers, researchers, and everyday Americans to make it mainstream. Today’s strong bipartisan vote to pass the Respect for Marriage Act in the Senate is the culmination of decades of struggle by so many—including those who died to advance LGBT rights and those who died before they were able to see their commitment recognized.
“We launched the Commitment Campaign to help persuade a broad spectrum of Americans from coast to coast to protect and affirm the vows that millions of couples have made to care for each other and their families for a lifetime. We knew the lives of LGBT people in this country would be better if this movement succeeded in bringing along most, not just a bare majority, of voters. We are so proud to see the United States Senate finally catch up to where the American people are and respect this fundamental right. And we could not be prouder to have played a small role alongside so many incredible leaders in the movement to make this day a reality.”