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TV ad urges support for gay marriage

Oralandar Brand-Williams The Detroit News

Washington — A national television ad campaign kicked off Sunday supporting same-sex marriage as attorneys on both sides of the issue prepare to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The national spot is sponsored by the Freedom to Marry coalition and began airing during three Sunday morning political shows. It also was to air during the popular news magazine television show "60 Minutes" and during national cable programs in the upcoming week.

"From coast to coast people, Americans from all walks of life, have opened their hearts and come to support the freedom to marry," the ad says.

The brief commercial features same-sex couples as well as heterosexual ones.

"With this latest ad, Freedom to Marry is summing up our closing argument ... ," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. "After 30-plus years of doing marriage work, I am gratified that we're in such a strong place as we head into court on Tuesday. The American people have resoundingly and unequivocally embraced the side of love and fairness. We hope the Supreme Court does the right thing and agrees with more than 60 federal and state courts that have held marriage discrimination unconstitutional. America is ready for the freedom to marry. It's time."

According to the ad, more than 60 percent of Americans support the right of same-sex couples to wed, citing statistics from an ABC/Washington Post poll released last week.

Robert Sedler, co-counsel for Hazel Park residents April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who have sued the state to be able to jointly adopt each other's children and to marry, said the poll and the commercial show there is more awareness about same-sex couples.

"When we started this case three years ago that was not the case. America has come around," said Sedler on Sunday from Washington, D.C., where the case will be heard.

"There are more Americans whose children are gay, whose nephews are gay and whose co-workers are gay."

Michigan minister Stacy Swimp, who is part of a coalition of African-American pastors and Christian leaders opposed to reversing the gay marriage ban, called the poll "false propaganda." He said he would "stand fast in the faith" as the countdown begins to the start of the historic arguments.

On Tuesday, DeBoer and Rowse will be at the nation's highest court to hear the arguments. The women filed the lawsuit in January 2012. They later amended their suit to challenge Michigan's gay marriage ban, approved by voters in 2004.

Michigan and Kentucky have marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court. Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky have marriage recognition cases in which lawyers representing gay and lesbian couples will seek to have marriages performed in other states recognized in states that have same-sex marriage bans.

The court is expected to make its ruling by the end of June.

Organizers for Freedom to Marry, formed in 2003, say they will shut its doors if the court strikes down the same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee because its mission will have been completed.

Thirty-seven states have legalized gay marriage.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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