Winning Marriage

Winning Marriage:

Now in Paperback With a New Afterword on the Final Supreme Court Decision

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Marc Solomon sits down with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press to discuss 'Winning Marriage'!

A Best Book of 2014

"A playbook for progressive causes."

- US News and World Report

Winning Marriage

In Winning Marriage, Marc Solomon, a veteran leader in the movement for marriage equality, gives the reader a seat at the strategy-setting and decision-making table in the campaign to win and protect the freedom to marry. With depth and grace he reveals the inner workings of the advocacy movement that has championed and protected advances won in legislative, court, and electoral battles over the twelve years since the landmark Massachusetts ruling guaranteeing marriage for same-sex couples for the first time.

From the gritty clashes in the state legislatures of Massachusetts and New York to the devastating loss at the ballot box in California in 2008 and subsequent ballot wins in 2012 to the joy of securing President Obama’s support and ultimate victory in the Supreme Court, Marc Solomon has been at the center of one of the great civil and human rights movements of our time. Winning Marriage recounts the struggle with some of the world’s most powerful forces—the Catholic hierarchy, the religious right, and cynical ultraconservative political operatives—and the movement’s eventual triumph.


Bob Woodward, Journalist and Author

Bob Woodward, Journalist and Author

Winning Marriage is a deeply-reported and deeply-felt insider’s account of the marriage equality movement. Astute, committed, and fair-minded, Solomon’s story chronicles the political sea change on marriage equality. Solomon is an authoritative voice, observer, and participant. This is an important history about how America is changing.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

Long before the national attitudes began to soften and other states followed Massachusetts' example, Marc, his small team of strategists, and his legions of grassroots activists showed how the politics of conviction, rather than of convenience, could make a new and better reality in Massachusetts. Then he took the campaign on the road to other states, and then nationally, to do the same. This is that story. And there is no one better to tell it than Marc.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

Winning Marriage offers a front row seat to the historic progress we have seen across our country. Our nation’s experience has always been defined by movements that have advanced our uniquely American values of freedom, equality, and fairness. Marc Solomon captures a very important chapter in our movement for marriage equality and tells the inspiring story of more and more Americans deciding that they want to leave to the next generation a country that is more equal, not less.

Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon

Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon

Every now and then a book about current events reads like a high-wire suspense story. Marc Solomon’s Winning Marriage provides an insider’s view of one of the most urgent questions of justice and social policy of our time. Gripping, concise, clear-eyed, Solomon’s work isn’t only a welcome history, Winning Marriage is a stimulant to the continuing pursuit of civil rights.

Congressman Barney Frank

Congressman Barney Frank

Marc Solomon's book is one of the most valuable I've read about the fight for legal equality for LGBT people. It is by far the best, and most accurate, of the accounts to legalize same-sex marriage. His narration demonstrates the crucial role that the intelligent, disciplined approach to the political process played in the successes we have won.

Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary to Bill Clinton, contributing editor to Vanity Fair

Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary to Bill Clinton, contributing editor to Vanity Fair

In Winning Marriage, Marc Solomon tells the riveting story of the long battle for marriage equality, with its strategic discipline and internal conflicts, principled leaders and committed adversaries, unexpected setbacks and lucky breaks. Even though I knew where each chapter would end, I was drawn into Marc’s detailed, carefully researched and deeply personal account -- and it left me wiping my eyes and pumping my fist. I can’t wait for the ultimate epilogue.

The New Republic Publisher & Editor-in-Chief and Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes

The New Republic Publisher & Editor-in-Chief and Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes

It’s hard to imagine a more thorough, lively account of the fight for marriage equality coming from someone who labored on the front lines for over a decade. Marc traces in careful detail the emergence of the first major social movement of this century in a way that will inspire activists on the side of justice and equality for decades to come.

Christine Chavez, former Political Director, United Farm Workers and Granddaughter of Cesar Chavez

Christine Chavez, former Political Director, United Farm Workers and Granddaughter of Cesar Chavez

Solomon's powerful account of this enormously successful civil rights battle is both an inspiration and a hugely important guide for strategists, organizers, and everyone else who seeks to take on the system and create what my grandfather called 'a revolution of the mind and heart.'

Chris Anderson, TED Curator

Chris Anderson, TED Curator

As one of the key players in the quest for marriage equality, Marc has an amazing story to tell. This movement was years in the making, yet the speed and manner in which opinion on the topic has changed is breathtaking. Marc’s ringside narrative of this achievement is inspiring and historic.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

The recent and unprecedented victories we’ve seen in the battle to secure marriage equality would not have been possible without Marc Solomon. In Winning Marriage, he delivers a compelling and moving inside story.

Reviews and Media

Slate: The Definitive Political History of Marriage Equality Has Arrived

“After each new pro-equality court ruling, Americans seem to look around in wonder and ask, How did we get here? With this riveting, passionate book, Solomon has provided the answer.”

Read the full review at Slate.

The Daily Beast: The Real Story Behind the Fight for Marriage Equality

Solomon’s campaign memoir delivers the first real picture of how the LGBT movement won marriage equality: through person-to-person moral suasion, on the one hand, and hardball politics, on the other.

Read the full review at The Daily Beast.

U.S. News: Lessons From the March to Same-Sex Marriage

One of the biggest misconceptions, Marc Solomon tells U.S. News, is that “it just happened on its own, and that young people all the sudden came supportive of gay rights and this marriage thing, the few court cases were filed and here we are at this amazing time where everything is sort of toppling.”

Read the full story at U.S. News.

Politico Magazine: The Making of the Marriage Equality Revolution

Warm and embracing, Solomon is a born consensus builder—patient, adept at making personal connections, preternaturally gifted at politics without seeming at all like a politician. “I have an experiential understanding of how power works in this country,” Solomon offered, “and how to leverage power for our side.”

Read the full story at Politico Magazine.

The Daily Beast: Inside the Supreme Court’s Gay-Marriage Debate

Our movement has done the work, built the momentum, shown the American people the depth of our love and commitment, and made our case for a better, more equal country.

Read the full op-ed from Marc Solomon at The Daily Beast.

The Advocate: Talking to People About Equality Does Indeed Change Minds

Even though a a new report discredited a study that claimed speaking with marriage equality detractors sways opinions, Freedom to Marry’s Marc Solomon says person-to-person communication works.

Read the full op-ed from Marc Solomon at The Advocate.

Metro Weekly: The Wedding Planner: A Q&A with Freedom to Marry’s Marc Solomon

“There is this idea in our culture now that there needs to be a superhero, and that’s how things happen. I wanted to tell the story of how a successful movement really works. The movement is not about one person.”

Read the full interview at Metro Weekly.

Excerpt: Secrets of Obama’s evolution: The inside story of how the president backed gay marriage

“I also was gratified to see the president talk about the freedom to marry using the messaging frame that we had developed and that Evan had, in one of his meetings with Valerie Jarrett, recommended the president use when this time came.”

Read the full excerpt at Salon.

HuffPo: New Book Sets Record Straight on Who Won Marriage Equality—and, More Importantly, How

Perhaps Solomon’s greatest contribution is portraying the hard work of social change — how victory emerged from a broad-based team effort planned and executed over two decades…

Read the full story at Huffington Post.

Ms. Magazine: Marriage Equality Keeps on Winning

While we await a national victory, Winning Marriage makes for good reading in the trenches. Solomon helps us measure the distance we have come and look forward to a time when we can put this battle behind us. The big win—equality for all—can’t come soon enough.

Read the full story at Ms. Magazine.

New York Times: A Strong Tide of Tolerance, Slow to Build

In an interview, Mr. Solomon said he wrote the book to show “the nuts and bolts” of how he and his fellow activists were able to mobilize a wider social consciousness on an issue that was barely on the political horizon just a decade ago.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

The New Republic: How Obama Became the Gay-Rights President

“Well, what’s Stonewall?” Obama asked. “You’ve never heard of it?” Kevin Thompson asked in surprise.

Read the full excerpt from Winning Marriage at The New Republic.

Boston Globe: The change-of-heart about same-sex marriage that changed everything

“In June 2007, the Massachusetts Legislature would be voting for one last time on a constitutional amendment that would take away marriage for gay couples. Marriage equality advocates needed nine lawmakers to change their votes to defeat it, and in the weeks prior to the vote, we were pulling out every stop.”

Read the excerpt at the Boston Globe.

Washington Post: How progressive advocates are using the state-by-state approach of the same-sex marriage movement for other issues

“So many other movements are coming to talk to us,” Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, said at a Tuesday event attended by The Washington Post. “I think we learned some things we can share with others.”

Read more at the Washington Post.

Seattle PI: How gay marriage became mainstream

“We looked at how we had been talking about marriage,” Solomon said. “A lot of straight people didn’t know why gay people wanted to be marriage. They didn’t understand it was a matter of deep love, commitment and caring.”

Read more at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Best Books 2014: Slate Staff Picks

Winning Marriage is the only account of the gay rights battle yet written that will still be read in decades to come. It’s a timeless story of a fierce and vital fight, fast-paced and marvelously detailed. Once or twice, it even brought this cynic to tears.

Read more at Slate.

The Stranger: What Political Lessons Can Progressives Learn from the Fight for Marriage Equality?

Real political change, Solomon says, “can’t be done in the state house.” He says grassroots organizing and field word is “crucial, crucial, crucial.” He says “the message is a fundamental piece” of any good political movement. “How do you talk about the cause? How do you talk about it in the context of American values? If you can seize the mantle of freedom, you’re doing well.”

Read more at The Stranger.

Minnesota Public Radio/NPR: Marc Solomon on ‘Winning Marriage,’ U.S. same-sex marriage campaigns

“What people forget today is that even in liberal Massachusetts it was a huge battle.”

Listen to the full interview at Minnesota Public Radio.

Daily Beast: Now, Gay Marriage Is a GOP Problem

By June 2016, same-sex marriage is likely to be the law of the land. What will Republican candidates do then? My how times change.

Read the full story from Marc Solomon at The Daily Beast.

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About Marc Solomon


Marc is a nationally recognized political strategist and campaign leader with nearly 25 years of experience in campaign management, policy development and execution, communications leadership, and field mobilization. For the last 12 years, Marc has been one of the key architects of the marriage equality movement, having worked as National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry.  He is presently advising other advocacy movements on strategy as Principal and National Director of Civitas Public Affairs Group.

As national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, Marc drove the marriage movement’s political strategy while managing a staff of 25 with expertise in communications, field organizing, digital media, messaging, lobbying, public engagement, and general campaign management. Marc is a regular national media spokesperson, appearing on Meet the Press’ Press Pass and quoted frequently in national publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico.

Marc’s 2014 book Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Public—and Won, is described by U.S. News and World Report as “a playbook for progressive causes,” was named a Best Book of 2014 by Slate which called it “the definitive political history of marriage equality.” He is a frequent speaker at colleges and universities, businesses and law firms, and gatherings of leaders and funders of other social movements.

In addition to his work on marriage equality, Marc has served as a policy adviser to U.S. Senator Danforth in Washington, D.C., a community development strategist in St. Louis, and a researcher for Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. In May 2009, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick presented Marc with the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s prestigious Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award, given yearly to an individual who espouses FDR’s ideals “with respect to democracy, justice, individual freedoms, and citizenship.” In 1999, the Rockefeller Foundation named Marc one of America’s next generation leaders and invited him to participate in its prestigious two-year Next Generation Leadership fellowship program.

Marc is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Marc resides in New York City.