• Jennifer Rich

What Does Narrative Change Success Look Like? Marriage Equality.

By Jennifer Rich, Senior Communications Strategist


One of the many joys of learning and collaborating with all of you is your optimism. You know justice is possible. You keep working towards it every day. And you won’t give up until it’s done. You’re in it to win it, and you know there’s not a moment to waste.


But what does “winning” actually look like? And how can your CaseMaking support a winning strategy? There are many examples of how narrative change has been mobilized in support of broad social change efforts, but none more resoundingly successful in recent times than the Freedom to Marry campaign, which launched in 2003 and sprung from the marriage equality movement that was born in the 1970s.


June 26th marks the 6th anniversary of the day that love won in the Supreme Court. It’s a perfect time to look back at the success of that campaign and reflect on its many important lessons for our justice work still ahead. Here are four that stood out to me:


Narrative Change Was in the Service of an Inspirational and Winnable Goal:


Freedom to Marry’s goal from the outset was to win the right to marry for same-sex couples, period. Back in 2015, Evan Wolfson, a founder of the campaign, told a group of Columbia Law students: “If you can’t say what winning is, you’re not going to be able to get there as effectively as you need to because … you won’t be able to inspire and encourage others to come in and join you.”