The ACLU has also established a war chest to promote same-sex marriage in the 37 states where it's still banned. (AP Photo/File)

$10 million campaign for marriage equality in all 50 states

Advocates of same-sex marriage, emboldened by two U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday are pressing their advantage in states where gay marriage is still against the law. The American Civil Liberties Union is launching a $10 million campaign through 2016.

When the high court essentially struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, it set in motion changes in the way federal rights and benefits are granted.

"There are 1,100 laws and programs under which same-sex couples will now have the same benefits that previously only straight couples could have," said Doug Honig with the ACLU office in Seattle. He said the first priority is to make sure those changes happen.

The ACLU has also established a war chest to promote same-sex marriage in the 37 states where it's still banned.

"We're mounting a campaign to take marriage equality state-by-state across the country," Honig announced. The campaign will enlist the GOP in the cause, including strategist Steve Schmidt, who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and worked on George Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

"It's really not a partisan cause, it's really about love and respect," argued Honig. "And the ACLU nationally has hired a major, very experienced Republican strategist and he's going to help with this effort."

Honig thinks testimonials from Washington state will advance the cause.

"When you have legal marriage in one state, it really sets an example for other states, that this is something that can be done, that this doesn't have negative consequences, that's it's actually a very positive thing for the people of this state," said Honig.

The ACLU plans to do outreach to gay conservatives and frame the issue of same-sex marriage in the context of freedom, fairness, and limited government intrusion. Details of the campaign are outlined in an advertisement in the Thursday edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Tim Haeck, KIRO Radio Reporter
Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.
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