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Evan Wolfson

  • Social justice and change
  • Freedom to marry

Evan Wolfson was founder and president of Freedom to Marry, the campaign that won marriage for same-sex couples in the United States, and is widely considered the architect of the movement that led to nationwide victory in 2015. Wolfson’s core message conveys the essential elements of “how to win” derived from his decades of work and leadership and applicable to many other causes, LGBT and other, in the US and around the world. The national strategy he drove at Freedom to Marry centered on a powerful insight: in order to win in court, first the movement would first need to win in the court of public opinion. To change the law, it was necessary to change hearts and minds.

The campaign was remarkably effective in engaging empathy and values, even as it navigated legal and political battles, and brought people together across fault lines of personal experience, religious differences, generation, race and sex, and even partisan politics. With long years of stories, history, strategy, and personal experience to draw on, Wolfson vividly paints the picture of how hope, clarity, and tenacity can overcome the odds and achieve needed change.

Hailed as “the godfather of gay marriage” (The Daily Beast), one of "the 100 most influential lawyers in America" (National Law Journal), and one of of "the 100 most influential people in the world" (Time Magazine), Wolfson is a frequent voice in the media and an inspiring speaker motivating general audiences as well as advocates and activists in varied organizations. His work is portrayed in the acclaimed documentary, The Freedom To Marry, and he is author of Why Marriage Matters. While advising and assisting diverse organizations, causes, and countries, Wolfson teaches at Georgetown Law and Yale, and is senior counsel at Dentons, the world's largest law firm.

Keywords: civil rights, LGBT, gay rights, diversity and inclusion, grassroots change, lawyer, supreme court, justice, human rights, philanthropy, strategy, law and legal affairs

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