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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Freedom to Marry - Love Must Win

Silver Honor in Hashtag

Entered in Non-Profit


Marriage equality is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time, and one that a majority of Americans support. Over the past 12 years, Freedom to Marry, the campaign to fight for marriage equality nationwide, has led the effort to win marriage in more states, grow public support, and create the climate necessary for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution on the issue.

Since 2009, the organization has played a leading role in winning marriage equality nationwide by shaping the national conversation around this issue. A series of powerful campaigns were launched over the years incorporating paid media, social media, and email, using storytelling and clear calls to action to rally supporters behind critical legislative, ballot, and public opinion battles. With each campaign, the Freedom to Marry family grew (a supporter base that grew to more than 3,000% since inception), giving the organization and its supporters critical grassroots power to make the freedom to marry nationwide a reality.

Once it was announced earlier this year that the U.S. Supreme Court would hear oral arguments in the cases that could end marriage discrimination at the federal level, Freedom to Marry knew they needed to show that the United States was ready for the freedom to marry for all Americans.

Strategy and Execution

In advance of the Supreme Court oral arguments, we launched #LoveMustWin, a social media campaign to amplify the message that America is ready for marriage equality. The campaign asked supporters to speak up on their social media platform of choice — through art, song, dance, selfies, or a short video — using the rallying cry #LoveMustWin.

But it was more than a hashtag, #LoveMustWin was a chance for people to raise their voices in support of marriage in whatever way they chose, posting their own unique creations that expressed what #LoveMustWin means to them.

To build #LoveMustWin into a trending topic across social platforms, we created a targeted list of aspirational influencers. We engaged each influencer with personally targeted messages using a variety of means. On the day of oral arguments, we monitored the activity of our identified influencers and seized opportunities to amplify their content.

We leveraged early support from influencers like Vine superstar Jeffrey Marsh and Broadway shows including "Kinky Boots" and "Fun Home" for earned media and continued outreach to other influencers.

We created a dedicated page on our website that featured a selection of the best submitted content. We also shared on selected content across our social channels. This in turn generated more content as our supporters wanted to be featured on Freedom to Marry channels.


And it took off: The cross-channel campaign sparked 54,000 uses of the hashtag, generated participation from nearly 100 influencers like Ben & Jerry's, Chobani, Broadway stars, and political leaders including Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. It also earned placements in over a dozen media outlets from The Washington Post to US News to Funny or Die.

15 posts per minute during peak posting

54,134 total uses of #LoveMustWin

32,399 uses of #LoveMustWin on April 28th alone

Most importantly, on June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court made the freedom to marry the law of the land.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Blue State Digital, Freedom to Marry


Entry Credits