Morgan Freeman as God in the 2007 movie Evan Almighty. ( Ralph Nelson / Universal…)
Gay marriage proponents have good reason to feel they have momentum, with multiple election victories Nov. 6 and polls showing an increasingly welcoming public attitudes toward same-sex unions.
Now one of the major advocacy groups pushing for marriage equality has invoked a higher authority to maintain momentum on the issue.
A new television ad by the Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, features narration by Morgan Freeman — the actor known for possessing the sonorous “voice of God” — saying that the recent ballot box victories have “delivered a mandate for full equality.”
The 30-second ad, running in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., targets opinion leaders as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares later this week to consider whether to take up same-sex marriage controversies, including California’s Proposition 8, which limited marriage to individuals of the opposite sex.
Voters in three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — voted this month to legalize gay marriage. In Minnesota, a ballot measure that would have defined marriage as being between a man and a woman went down in defeat.
In Iowa, voters declined to reject a state Supreme Court justice who signed on to a 2009 opinion that legalized same-sex marriage in that state. And in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin won election to the U.S. Senate, making her the first openly homosexual person elected to that institution.
National exit polls found that while heterosexual voters split evenly for President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney (49% to 49%), voters who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual went for Obama, 76% to 22%.
The HRC television ad places these developments in a larger historical context. While images of Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights milestones appear on screen, Freeman declares: “Freedom, justice and human dignity have always guided our journey toward a more perfect union.”
The actor declares the election wins were a mandate, and adds: “The wind is at our back, but our journey has just begun.”
With more states due to take up the question of gay marriage next year, advocates intend to keep pushing. HRC President Chad Griffin said: “When you have momentum on your side, you don't back down. You double down.”