ACLU announces $10 million gay marriage 'war chest'

The American Civil Liberties Union has announced it has a $10 million "war chest" that it will use to draw Republican partners into the state-by-state fight for marriage equality between now and 2016.

The news follows the Supreme Court ruling this week striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages in individual states.

Family law is largely the territory of states, anyway, and with DOMA out of the way, the fight for federal recognition is even less at the forefront.

The state-by-state battle, meanwhile, is still very much alive.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the District of Columbia and 12 states -- 13 if you count California, which will have it soon thanks to another Supreme Court ruling undercutting the validity of the state's Proposition 8 ban.

But more than 30 states have limitations or bans on same-sex marriage.

Enter the ACLU -- which helped bring the DOMA case -- and it's new "Out for Freedom" campaign.

"We are going to bring Republicans into the ever-increasing groundswell of support for the freedom to marry," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero in a statement. "Today begins the next step in the movement for full marriage equality for all Americans, and we need everyone, including Republicans, 'at the party' for freedom and fairness."

The statement goes on to say the campaign "will, over the next four years, advance marriage legislation in Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, and other states, and challenge constitutional bans on marriage for same-sex couples in Oregon, Nevada, and elsewhere."

The ACLU has hired Republican strategist Steve Schmidt to lead the campaign. Its plan is to "improve the map" -- win same-sex marriage in more states -- and build bipartisan support as they watch for the potential for another federal case to come before the Supreme Court.

As you may recall, the ACLU partnered with Equality Maryland  to demand same-sex marriage in state courts here back in 2004.

What do you think they can do with $10 million today?


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