It's an old trick of anti marriage equality advocates to paint gay marriage as an issue that offends the core family values of America's heartland (whatever that means), but the obvious truth of the matter — as this sweet ad by Freedom to Marry points out — is that gay people are a present force in traditionally red states and they're just as invested in family values as anyone else is.
Speaking to this fact is Ed Cuyler, a retired Army colonel and recipient of the Purple Heart who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with his wife, his daughter Deedra, Deedra's wife Amber and his two granddaughters. Deedra works at the Goodyear factory where, according to Politico, she is blocked from adding Amber to her health insurance even though the pair got married in Massachusetts. Gay marriage is not recognized in Oklahoma so the women are denied all shared benefits and legal protection as a couple.
"Here in Oklahoma we value family," Mr. Cuyler begins in the ad, echoing the sentiment of a lot of anti gay propaganda. Fortunately, the twist here is that Cuyler values family no matter what — even if his daughter falls in love and settles down with another woman.
"As a veteran, I know freedom means freedom for everyone and no family should be denied a basic freedom," he adds.
The Freedom to Marry ad will run in Oklahoma throughout the week, leading up to a forthcoming decision by the 10th Circuit Court Appeals on a lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, which was as previously overturned by a federal judge in January. As of 2012, only 35% of Oklahoma residents supported same sex marriage, but hopefully that percentage will grow as more and more people realize the harm in denying equal rights to their gay neighbors, friends and family.