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Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Looking for Conservative Support

Ahead of today's Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up of legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the group Freedom to Marry has been holding closed-door "salons" over the past few weeks, trying to build a broad coalition in support of same-sex marriage.

The salons are designed to bring together groups of politically likeminded strategists, consultants and others who support same-sex marriage or are on the fence to discuss the issue and how to make it a reality. There was a salon on Oct. 11 for center-right politicos and one on Oct. 19 for Republicans, which brought together about 20 people at each gathering. Freedom to Marry wouldn't say who was there. There is a salon for Democrats on Nov. 16.

The Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal 1996's DOMA, has little if any chance of passing this Congress, but advocates are hoping to form a wave of support that will eventually lead to the end of DOMA and return the decision on marriage to states.

"The more people talk about this and think about it, the more they understand the denial is wrong," Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson said.

The salons are also meant to show conservatives that support gay marriage they are not alone. Getting them to support the issue publicly, though, is another story.


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