American Foundation for Equal Rights

In 2008, California’s Proposition 8 amended the state’s constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. RALLY responded by helping to create and manage the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER)—the sole sponsor of the federal case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.  The case, first filed as Perry v. Schwarzenegger and then Hollingsworth v. Perry, brought together super-lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies—who famously squared off in Bush v. Gore—and reframed the narrative around marriage equality, building bipartisan support around a concept all Americans can rally behind: love.

AFER American Foundation for Equal Rights Ted Olson and David Boies Celebrate Return of Marriage to California at Prop 8 West Hollywood rally

Together, AFER and RALLY steered Perry from Federal District Court to the United States Supreme Court, where on June 26, 2013 the Court returned marriage equality to the nation’s most populous state. Throughout the process, RALLY managed all aspects of the communications strategy accompanying the case: From message development and generating editorial support for the case, to leading the efforts to identify, recruit and roll-out diverse and impactful amicus briefs at the Supreme Court; From building the strategy for over 400 live performances of a play based on the actual transcripts of the District Court trial (including a star-studded performance of 8 The Play with over 1 million views on YouTube), to securing access for a film crew to document the Plaintiffs’ journey to the Supreme Court, resulting in a stirring Emmy-nominated documentary.  Thanks in part to these efforts, marriage equality experienced a sea-change in public support, jumping from 40 percent to 54 percent while the case was being heard, and ultimately removing a potential obstacle to the historic Supreme Court ruling in June 2015 that made marriage equality the law of the land.  

AFER American Foundation for Equal Rights Prop 8 Plaintiffs Ted Olson and David Boies Walk down steps of Supreme Court
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