Richard Carlbom to direct national gay marriage push

Richard Carlbom was a key player in Minnesota legalizing gay marriage.
Richard Carlbom was a key player in Minnesota legalizing gay marriage.

A key behind-the-scenes player in Minnesota legalizing same-sex marriage has been hired to push the effort nationally.

Richard Carlbom, director of Minnesotans United for All Families, will direct state campaigns for Freedom to Marry, the primary group lobbying for gay marriage across the country.

SEE ALSO: Richard Carlbom on making same-sex marriage a reality Mark Dayton signs gay marriage bill into law

"Richard's wealth of experience and expertise will enable Freedom to Marry to continue to lead and accelerate the work required to win marriage nationwide," says Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry's national campaign director. "The groundbreaking campaign Richard led in Minnesota was a model of strategy, drive, and mobilization - exactly what we'll need to win the next waves of states."

As director of Minnesotans United, Carlbom ran a grassroots campaign like no other in the state's history to successfully defeat a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage last fall. After Democrats took back the House and Senate, the young operative quickly pivoted to push gay marriage in the Legislature.

"Richard was clearly the person," says Sen. Dick Cohen, D-St. Paul, told us for our June 26 profile on Carlbom. "You look at the grassroots effort. You look at the strategy. You look at the fundraising. Look at how public opinion was moved in the campaign. You don't see anything at that level, for an issue that's obviously an issue of controversy, the way things took place with this."

Carlbom is also behind a Political Action Committee designed to raise funds for legislators whose seats could be vulnerable come election season because they voted for the marriage bill. Same-sex weddings in Minnesota begin Aug. 1.

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