23 June 2015, Marriage Equality USA Executive Director Brian Silva speaks with AlJazeera regarding the history-making marriage equality vote in Ireland!
When asked if the vote in Ireland might have any effect on the outcome at SCOTUS here in the U.S., Silva responded, "Every win helps to build a stronger case for states here; for other countries in the world."
Talking about Ireland's history and tradition of Catholicism, Silva noted, "What we're showing is that people can still have their faith and be strong in it, but you can also have a country that treats people equally. Those two things are not mutually exclusive, they don't have to be in opposition."
Video courtesy of AlJazeera on MEUSA's YouTube Channel.
On 13 April 2015, Brian Silva, Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA, contributed to this story: Indiana Hires PR Firm To Rebuild Image After 'Religious Freedom' Fiasco - By Cristina Silva, International Business Times.
"Brian Silva, executive director of Marriage Equality USA, said Clinton was part of a growing movement of politicians on both sides of the political aisle who have come out for gay rights in recent years as more Americans demand marriage equality. He said the symbolism of Clinton's campaign message was significant.
"'Whenever we see our faces, our lives and our families reflected in political positions and businesses and in any kind of institution like that, it reflects where we’ve come, it reminds us that we still have a ways to go and it also inspires a new generation of young people that are questioning or struggling with coming out that they have places to go, that there is a future for them, that they can have whatever job they want and be the person they want to be,' he said."
PHOTO CAPTION & CREDIT: As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton addressed the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from around the world in her "Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights" speech on International Human Rights Day at U.N. premises in Geneva Dec. 6, 2011. She is now running for president as a pro-LGBT rights candidate. Photo by Reuters via International Business Times.
Brian brings to Marriage Equality USA his experience leading other large, volunteer-driven organizations including the International Association of Emergency Managers - Student Council, a global organization comprised of 1400 members, plus chapters. He helped to lead and grow those groups, focusing on how to balance vision, strategy and tactics while supporting the volunteers that truly make the work successful.
A passionate leader with a core commitment to diversity and the value of each individual, Brian has a steadfast dedication to LGBTQ equality, to non-profit work, and to collaboration with other organizations. Prior to stepping into his current position with MEUSA, Brian served Marriage Equality New York first at the Chapter Leadership level and later as Executive Director. Hailing originally from Northern California, Brian currently lives in New York City.
Brian has been fortunate to visit and work in many places including Northern Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, Vietnam, and Laos. He has traveled, backpacked, and camped cross-country twice, giving him the opportunity to enjoy two of his passions -- the amazing outdoors and meeting people from all walks of life.
Watching the President sign off on an Executive Order banning federal contractors from discriminating against the LGBTQ community last week, I was struck by how far our community has come. Just a few weeks prior, I was honored to represent MEUSA, our volunteers and members at the White House Pride Reception hosted by the President and the First Lady.Captivated by the historical immensity of the White House, I heard the President speak from the heart and joke with guests. I watched as he welcomed hundreds of LGBT activists. While meeting both the President and the First Lady was an honor, the power in that moment was in reminding me how far our own grassroots, volunteer-driven organization has come in changing the conversation around marriage equality in almost 20 years of work.
When Marriage Equality USA (then Marriage Equality New York) first began in 1996 after the enactment of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), few in our community (LGBTQ or political) would even dare to dream about, much less utter the phrase, "marriage equality." It took years of hard work, grassroots organizing, education and pushing against the establishment to make friends, lawmakers and the public understand that marriage mattered. MEUSA's unique history has allowed us to participate in both grassroots organizing as well as bringing the voices of so many grassroots organizers to more traditional halls of power. Now, as state after state embraces the goal for which so many of us have toiled for so long, we remember that our success stands in honor of those who have been with us from day one — especially those who toiled without ever having felt the joy of full marriage equality in their lifetimes.
For all those whose hard work and dedication to MEUSA made that collective White House moment possible, I humbly say, thank you.