Same-sex marriage supporters in Minnesota and around the country already are trying to build momentum after historic wins in the recent election.
The Human Rights Campaign will launch a nationwide television advertisement this week to strengthen support as more states and the U.S. Supreme Court consider wrestling with the issue.
"This year proved to be a pivotal turning point in the movement for marriage equality, and now we press onward with renewed vigor and public opinion squarely on our side," said Chad Griffin, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign. "It is crystal clear that the prospect of an equal future is no longer up for debate; the question now is how soon it will arrive."
The ad will air as the Supreme Court considers whether to take up constitutional challenges to California's law banning same-sex marriage and to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The ad comes after voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state legalized same-sex marriage and Minnesota voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
The ad, narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, says the recent results delivered "a mandate for full equality."
"Freedom, justice and human dignity have always guided our journey toward a more perfect union," Freeman says in the ad. "Now, across our country we are standing together for the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry the person they love. ... The wind is at our back, but our journey has just begun."
The founders of Minnesotans United for All Families, the lead group that worked to defeat the marriage amendment, are hosting a forum Saturday to begin figuring out their next step. Minnesota law still forbids same-sex marriage.
Stung by their first major defeats at the polls and now facing new pressure to legalize same-sex marriage, the groups defending traditional marriage are figuring out their next steps as well.
Minnesota for Marriage, the lead group that tried to pass the marriage amendment, and the National Organization for Marriage say a majority of Americans continue to object to same-sex marriage.
Minnesota for Marriage Chairman John Helmberger warned allies that the threat to traditional marriage is even greater now that DFLers are in power at the State Capitol.
"Yes, we lost the battle, but the war is not over," Helmberger wrote to supporters. "We must not let their plan succeed."
After winning passage of marriage amendments in 30 other states over the years, traditional-marriage advocates are finding it more difficult to raise money. Minnesota for Marriage took in less than half the money raised by opponents. Fundraising for the National Organization for Marriage is down compared with past years.
Helmberger vowed to press on. "This is a vision worth pursuing and a battle in which we will stay engaged because there is too much at stake to simply give up and withdraw," he wrote.