Love Unites Us

Winning the Freedom to Marry in America

Firsthand accounts from the attorneys and advocates who brought the historic cases and fought to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples

Victory may sometimes look like a sudden revolution when, in truth, it rests on years of struggle. The June 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a sweeping victory for the freedom to marry, but it was one step in a long process. Love Unites Us is the history of activists’ passion and persistence in the struggle for marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United States, told in the words of those who waged the battle.

Launching the fight for the freedom to marry was neither an obvious nor an uncontested strategy. To many activists, achieving marriage equality seemed far-fetched, but the skeptics were proved wrong. Proactive arguments in favor of love, family, and commitment were more effective than arguments that focused on rights and the goal of equality at work. Telling the stories of people who loved and cared for one another, in sickness and in health, cut through the antigay noise and moved people—not without backlash and not overnight, but faster than most activists and observers had ever imagined. With compelling stories from leading attorneys and activists, including Evan Wolfson, Mary L. Bonauto, Jon W. Davidson, and Paul M. Smith, Love Unites Us explains how gay and lesbian couples achieved the right to marry.


Love Unites Us is an exceptional piece of work by courageous and innovative leaders.”
—Eric H. Holder Jr., 82nd attorney general of the United States
Love Unites Us captures the amazing story of the fight for marriage equality—in California and around the country. A remarkable journey recounted with truth and eloquence. ”
—Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California
Love Unites Us is a tour de force and a treasure trove of legal and political history. It is required reading for lawyers and non-lawyers alike interested in learning how the once ‘impossible’ goal of marriage equality was achieved at what some observers rightly have called the speed of light.”
—Tony Varona, professor and academic dean at the American University Washington College of Law and first general counsel and legal director at Human Rights Campaign
“A unique look at the marriage debates—the inside story from the insiders who were actually there.”
—Nan D. Hunter, professor of law, Georgetown Law

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