This Video Is Getting Us Closer To Marriage Equality In Alabama

Update: On March 3rd, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered probate judges across the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, defying the federal court’s decision to strike down Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban. Despite this temporary setback, we’re working with Freedom to Marry to demonstrate how urgently we need to win the freedom to marry—in Alabama and across America—once and for all.

Less than two weeks ago, a federal judge in Alabama—one of the remaining 14 states where same-sex couples are denied the freedom to marry—struck down the state’s marriage ban. U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade issued a 14-day stay in her ruling, giving the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals until February 9th to make a decision. Meanwhile, the state’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, is defending the marriage ban, which left the fate of loving couples across Alabama hanging in the balance. But on February 9th, the justices ultimately rejected the trial judge’s legalization order from taking effect, so as of today Alabama has become the 37th state with the freedom to marry!

This is a big deal for marriage equality in our country.

With the national spotlight on Alabama, Blue State Digital is working with Freedom to Marry to deploy one of our most effective engagement tools: video. We filmed an online video in Birmingham called Who We Are as Southerners, telling the story of Chi and Jessica Peoples and their 7-year-old daughter, Nailah. It’s personal and provocative. (We dare you not to get a little teary.)

The true power of the creative was unleashed when we married its distribution with effective data targeting. To be as efficient as possible with Freedom To Marry’s paid media investment, Blue State Digital partnered with Civis Analytics to target specific counties within Alabama. We created an individual-level predictive model to assess who’s most likely to engage with Freedom to Marry and which areas of Alabama we should focus on. This strategy enabled us to generate the best possible outcome.

The online video and its subsequent 30-second TV spot have helped garner interest and support among key constituents:

  • Media has covered the TV spot extensively, ranging from the New York Times and LGBQT Nation to local outlets ranging from to WFSA News in Montgomery.
  • We’ve seen gains in awareness from our target audiences, with more than 150,000 video views and counting.
  • Supporters from Southern states accounted for a higher percentage of Freedom to Marry donations than ever before during our year-end online fundraising campaign (an increase of 44% from 2013).

For more than a year, Blue State Digital has been working with our longtime partner Freedom to Marry on a multi-state digital campaign to build majority support for marriage in the South. The campaign, Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, has highlighted stories of couples across the region, educated supporters about progress in specific states, and provided advocates meaningful ways to make an impact. Putting local faces on the broader issue of marriage discrimination is part of a larger goal to create a climate of public support for marriage across the country.

Time will tell if the US Supreme Court will end marriage discrimination at the national level this summer. In the meantime, we’ll continue to marry the art of storytelling and the science of targeting until we bring an end to marriage discrimination once and for all.