Leading marriage equality organization Freedom to Marry features a clear, telling infographic on its website that depicts the status of marriage equality in each American state. Dead center appears to be the portion of our country where the fight for marriage equality still has perhaps the longest way to go; states there are left completely blank, indicating that there are anti-gay Constitutional Amendments in place. Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana and Oklahoma make up this cluster of stagnant progress towards equality, but there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Earlier this month, Oklahoma residents witnessed the state’s first-ever marriage equality advertisement on TV. The ad was created by Freedom Oklahoma, a local organization dedicated to achieving equal access to marriage for same-sex couples living in the state. The ad itself is wonderful; it depicts one of Oklahoma’s real families, the Cuylers, discussing how marriage equality would make life better for everyone. In just 32 seconds, the advertisement shakes up social conventions and breaks barriers by taking viewers inside the real lives of relatively conservative American people who are for marriage equality.
One of the most compelling facets of the advertisement is how Mr. Cuyler, a retired United States Army Colonel, speaks so lovingly about being both a patriotic American and a father who wants what is best for his family. “As a veteran, I know freedom means freedom for everyone,” he explains, noting how having access to marriage means that traditional family values can be instilled in all Oklahoma residents, regardless of sexual orientation. Mr. Cuyler’s daughter Deedra married her wife Amber in Massachusetts; they are the loving parents of three young children. Deedra and Amber, who are lifelong Oklahoma residents, hope that their state will soon recognize their marriage.
Marriage equality has gained momentum in the last year, but it’s stories like these from the Cuyler family that make us remember that there is still a long way to go before same-sex couples are valued equally in our society.
What do you think about Oklahoma’s first marriage equality ad?