BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare September 15, 2015 to be “Evan Wolfson Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
Evan Wolfson, who many consider to be the father of the marriage equality movement, was honored yesterday by the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Evan grew up.
City councilman Dan Gilman, (photo right,) opened yesterday's council session by offering this proclamation, recognizing Evan for his success in devising the strategy that has made marriage equality a reality in the U.S:
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby recognize and commend Evan Wolfson for launching the global movement for the freedom to marry, and for dedicating his entire career to the idea that everyone deserves the same basic fundamental rights and protections under the law, and should be able to celebrate their love as equal members in all aspects of society. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare September 15, 2015 to be “Evan Wolfson Day” in the City of Pittsburgh
Evan, who was the founder of Freedom To Marry, and one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2004, has dedicated his life to advocating for gay rights. A Harvard educated lawyer, Evan served in Togo with the Peace Corps, publicly debated NOM's Maggie Gallagher, and as a lawyer with Lambda Legal argued the case of Scoutmaster James Dale, who was expelled from the Boy Scouts for being gay before the Supreme Court.
During his years with Lambda Legal, he headed the organizations Marriage Project and coordinated the National Freedom to Marry Coalition, forerunner of Freedom To Marry, which Evan founded in 2001.
The Pittsburgh City Council sent out this press statement ahead of the proclamation:
Pittsburgh, PA— This morning, at 10am in City Council Chambers, Councilman Dan Gilman will introduce a proclamation honoring Squirrel Hill native Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of the Freedom to Marry, one of the lead legal and political organizations in the fight for marriage equality.
In 1983, long before almost anyone in the gay community was talking about same-sex marriage, Wolfson wrote his Harvard Law School thesis on the freedom to marry.
From 1989 until 2001, Wolfson worked at the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, directing their Marriage Project and coordinating the National Freedom to Marry Coalition, the forerunner to Freedom to Marry. Wolfson worked on the Vermont Supreme Court case that led to the creation of civil unions in Vermont, and called the unions a “wonderful step forward,” but not enough. In April of 2000, Wolfson argued in front of the Supreme Court in the landmark case Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, in which the Court ruled that the Boy Scouts organization had the right to expel Dale for revealing that he was g ay. Wolfson was not deterred.
“Growing up with a loving community in the warm and welcoming Pittsburgh community, I always believed that we could all dream of love and inclusion, and America delivered on that promise when we won the freedom to marry this year,” said Wolfson. “And as we build on the marriage win to secure needed state and federal legislation against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations such as stores and restaurants, I am proud that Pittsburgh is again setting a good example for the kind of progress we need to see in Harrisburg and Washington.”
In 2003 Time Magazine described Wolfson as symbolic of the gay rights movement. In his book Why Marriage Matters, Wolfson called marriage “a relationship of emotional and financial interdependence between two people who make a public commitment.” In 2004, Time included Wolfson on its list of the “100 most influential people in the world.” In 2012, Wolfson received the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside President Barack Obama.
“This past summer, more than 20 years after Evan Wolfson began the same-sex marriage movement, the Supreme Court declared that freedom to marry legal for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. It is an unbelievable honor to bring Evan here, back to his hometown, and honor him for dedicating his entire career to assuring that everyone is assured the same basic fundamental rights and protections under the law,” said Councilman Gilman, who continued: “Thanks in large part to Pittsburgh’s own Evan Wolfson, the LGBTQ community can now celebrate their love as equal members by celebrating the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
With a subject as contentious as marriage equality, one might assume the vote to create an "Evan Wolfson Day" would be divided along party lines. It was not. The proclamation passed unanimously on a voice vote.
The New Civil Rights Movement sends our congratulations to Evan, and our thanks and admiration as well.
Evan Wolfson's photos via Facebook
Councilman Dan Gilman's photo via Facebook