For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Robyn Shepherd, ACLU, 212-519-7829 or 549-2666;

The American Civil Liberties Union Launches “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding” Contest

NEW YORK, NY - Millions of Americans currently live in a state that denies them, their friends, and family members the basic freedom to marry the one they love. Today, the American Civil Liberties Union is launching “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding,” a campaign that calls attention to the patchwork of state laws that allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry in 16 states and the District of Columbia, but deny those same couples that freedom in the rest of the states.

The campaign launches with an animated video of Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn asking committed same-sex couples to submit creative ideas for a wedding that crosses state lines from their home state—where they can’t yet legally marry—into a bordering state where they can.

“The freedom to marry the person you love is a basic freedom that should not be denied to anyone, including committed gay and lesbian couples who want to stand in front of family and friends to make a lifetime commitment to each other,” said Tim Gunn. “I’m proud to support the ACLU in its efforts to ensure that all Americans have the freedom to marry the person they love no matter where they live.”

Friends, family, and supporters can vote for their favorite couple to win the Big, Gay (Il)legal Wedding of their dreams. The ACLU will help five same-sex couples go the extra mile down the aisle—whether it’s kayaking across a river or riding a hot air balloon—into a state where it is legal to marry. The campaign will capture the stories and struggles each couple faces, highlighting the current inequalities that exist between neighboring states.

“This campaign is about basic fairness. It’s about making sure that same-sex couples can protect their families and care for one another like other married couples,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “The ACLU will not rest until all 50 states allow everyone to marry the person they love.”

After the winning couples are announced, allies and proponents of this freedom to marry initiative can also enter the “Wedding Crashers Sweepstakes” for the chance to win a VIP trip to “crash” the marquee “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding” reception in New York City in the Spring of 2014. Participants enter the sweepstakes by signing the winning couples’ wedding “guestbook,” which will then be delivered to the governor of the couples’ home state as a petition calling for the freedom to marry.

Visit to learn more (including official rules) and submit your story for a chance to win the “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding” contest. The campaign was developed for the ACLU by Purpose, a New York-based organization that helps build 21st-century movements for social change.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding” contest is sponsored by ACLU. Open to legal residents of any U.S. states (except Wisconsin and Virginia) that do not have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and border a state & D.C. that does. You must be 18 & older to enter. Begins 12:00 a.m., ET on 12/10/13 and ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 1/27/14. For official contest rules, please visit:


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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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