Gay-rights group preps ground for court cases with Denver TV ad buys

DENVER — They’re court hearings, not candidate elections or legislative debates, but national gay-rights organization Freedom to Marry has always believed public opinion matters to the courts and has bought at least $27,000 in Denver television advertising time next week as the Tenth-Circuit Court of Appeals based here considers two pivotal gay-marriage cases.

A 9KUSA advertising contract shows the New York and Washington DC-based organization bought 18 thirty-second spots during popular NBC news and talk programing for $19,500. A contract with KMGH 7 shows the group bought 16 thirty-second spots for $7,625 for ABC’s version of the same kind of programming.

Any contracts entered into at other Denver TV stations are yet to post online.

Freedom to Marry is likely going to roll out new ads for what its founder and president Evan Wolfson told the Independent was the “next chapter” in the movement to win gay marriage rights, where federal appellate courts begin to take up marriage cases. But the group has yet to post any new ads online. Freedom to Marry has long promoted its videos of gay couples telling their stories. It has also aired spots featuring supportive political and entertainment figures making the case for marriage equality, like this one with Meghan McCain:

On April 10, a three-judge Tenth-Circuit panel will hear arguments in an appeal filed by Utah’s attorney general’s office, which in December lost in the Kitchen v. Herbert case that struck down that state’s gay-marriage ban. On April 17, the same panel will hear arguments in Bishop v. Smith, a similar case from Oklahoma.

Wolfson has been at the forefront of the pathbreaking gay-rights/marriage-equality movement that has swept the country in fast-moving waves over the last half decade. He is plain-spoken about the strategy adopted by his organization, where efforts to bring along the public were aimed at fueling first ballot-box victories and legislative advances and now judicial victories.

“The goal of our movement has to be not just to get to the Supreme Court, but to win at the Supreme Court,” he told Metro Weekly yesterday. “We must convey to appellate judges and the Supreme Court justices that America is ready.”