Marriage equality proponents take arguments to the airwaves, courts

Issue advocacy group spent $50K on television ads in D.C.

By

 Updated:

Correction (Feb. 27, 2013, 11:48 a.m.): This article originally overstated the size of the Respect for Marriage Coalition's TV buys last Sunday by $10,000. The Center regrets the error.

The Respect for Marriage Coalition has spent at least $49,000 to air a new television advertisement in the nation's capital, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of documents recently filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

"Freedom means freedom for everyone," says Craig Stowell, a former Marine and Republican gay rights activist, in the coalition's new TV ad, which aired on Sunday on the Washington, D.C., affiliates of NBC, CBS and ABC.

"I didn't used to understand the importance of same-sex marriage, but after learning my brother was gay, I wanted the same rights for him," Stowell continues in the ad. "He was the best man at my wedding, and I want to be the best man at his."

The Respect for Marriage Coalition consists of more than 80 organizations that assert same-sex couples should have the right to marry. It is co-chaired by two nonprofits, the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry. A spokeswoman for the coalition declined to comment for this story.

Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two lawsuits involving marriage for same-sex couples: Windsor v. United States, which challenges the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges Proposition 8, the ballot measure passed by California voters in 2008.

On Friday, the Justice Department filed a brief arguing that DOMA was unconstitutional, a position echoed in a brief filed today by more than 80 Republicans, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and Mary Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The legal case in support of DOMA has been spearheaded by the House Republican-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.