The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Vaishalee Raja (916) 284-9187

Diverse Coalition Re-Launches Multi-Million Dollar Education Campaign for the Freedom to Marry

Let California Ring is the country’s largest marriage education effort of its kind


Today a
broad-based coalition re-launched Let California Ring, a comprehensive
campaign to build support for marriage for California's same-sex
couples with a focus on work in communities of color. A joint effort of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations, funders, and
allied partners and hosted by the Equality California Institute, Let
California Ring will invest more than $15 million over the next three
years to fund the campaign, which will:

  • Develop
    tailored messaging for all audiences, with a focus on African-American,
    Asian Pacific Islander, and Latino Californians.
  • Deliver
    these messages through a multi-media campaign, including television,
    print and radio advertising, as well as online outreach.
  • Provide
    opportunities, tools and resources for the 18,000 legally married
    same-sex couples to share their experiences with audiences throughout
    the state.
  • Activate straight allies and students to get involved and take action.
  • Engage
    the faith community at every level, to ensure that supportive voices of
    faith are given a platform and to bring mainstream and progressive
    congregations into the educational and organizing work.

California Institute's 20 organizers, working out of nine field offices
throughout California, significantly increase the capacity and reach of
the Let California Ring campaign.

Let California Ring campaign will enable hundreds of thousands of
Californians to learn first-hand why marriage matters so much to
same-sex couples," said Equality California Marriage Director Marc
Solomon. "By combining strategic media campaigns with personal
conversations at people's doors, we will make a powerful appeal to
Californians that will change hearts and minds. We are committed to
building meaningful and lasting partnerships in communities of color.
In a state where people of color are in the majority, focusing on this
work could not be more important," Solomon added.

California Ring will place special focus on partnerships with LGBT
organizations that do educational work in communities of color.

few months ago many of us said, 'let's prepare to prevail,'" said Luis
Lopez, the founder of the Latino-focused political committee HONOR PAC
and a member of the Executive Committee of Let California Ring. "That's
exactly what Let California Ring will do. This campaign will engage the
right partnerships to do the heavy lifting of reaching out to people of
color communities in ways that truly resonate. The time for this
campaign couldn't be better," he added.

model Let California Ring employs is to use multiple channels to engage
people on the issue of marriage: targeted advertising, online media,
community events, leader activation and on-the-ground organizing
efforts in neighborhoods. This continual drumbeat sparks conversations
and gets people to talk to others in their circles about marriage for
same-sex couples.

California Ring's model of concerted action is the surest and fastest
way to win the freedom to marry," said Evan Wolfson, executive director
of Freedom to Marry. "By combining the air-cover of media with the
ground-work of engaging in the needed conversations - person-to-person,
group-to-group - the menu of actions spurred by Let California Ring
will persuade the persuadable and help everyone we reach together rise
to fairness. The success of Let California Ring will not only advance
our cause in California, but also help write the recipe for success

in 2005, Let California Ring has invested $15 million in marriage
education work to date, including $4 million in communities of color,
making Let California Ring the largest campaign in the country of its
kind. Let California Ring has conducted public education efforts
through television, radio and print ads, including implementing the
state's largest ever ethnic press campaign on the issue of marriage.
The campaign also held community meetings, public forums, and trainings
across the state and has provided resources to LGBT organizations
working in communities of color. The Let California Ring coalition
currently numbers over 50 organizations.

February 2008, Let California Ring conducted a six-week targeted
campaign in Santa Barbara with field, media and advertising components.
Public opinion testing showed a 19-point increase in support for the
freedom to marry in 18-29 year olds at the campaign's conclusion, with
no similar increases in neighboring communities. It also built a cadre
of engaged activists who carried the work forward after the educational
campaign concluded. Prop. 8 lost by 10 points in Santa Barbara County,
the only Southern California county to vote that way.

California Ring also won two awards: the Saber Award for best public
relations campaign in the United States and the Gold Award from Council
on Foundations for best public policy campaign.

For more information or to join the coalition, visit

California Ring is a public education campaign to open hearts and minds
about the freedom to marry and the respect, support, protections and
responsibilities that come with marriage. Let California Ring is a
project of Equality California Institute, working in a diverse
coalition of over 50 national, state and local organizations.

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.