The American Civil Liberties Union—worried that the public thinks the same-sex marriage battle is “over” after the Supreme Court’s twin decisions expanding gay rights last summer—is paying five same-sex couples who live in states that still outlaw the practice to get married.
Jensen and Manke are one of dozens of gay couples competing in the usually staid ACLU’s tongue-in-cheek online contest called “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding.” Same-sex couples that live in the 33 states that ban gay marriage submit their wedding ideas, photos, and love stories, competing against each other for votes to win cash for their weddings. Five of them will be declared the winners after the contest closes Feb. 16, just after Valentine’s Day.
“I’ve got the tickets to the hottest, chicest most fabulous thing this season: Gay weddings!” “Project Runway” star Tim Gunn says in a promotional video for the contest. Gunn, who the ACLU tapped as a spokesman for the contest, explains that many states still don’t recognize same-sex unions. “Ugh…these states need a makeover!,” he exclaims.
The lighthearted project is intended to highlight a serious issue: that 33 states still explicitly ban same-sex marriage, even though the federal government now recognizes the unions.
The ACLU is currently litigating same-sex marriage cases in Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah, attempting to get the courts to agree with them that there is a fundamental right to marriage that states should not be allowed to infringe upon.