HOUSTON -- A Houston couple is hoping to win $5,000 towards their wedding. It's all a part of a push by the American Civil Liberties Union to have more states in the U.S. legalize same-sex marriage.
The ACLU, with is longstanding sober image, is looking for better ways to connect with younger folks who are often more aligned with its politics.
So the civil rights group launched, My Big Gay Illegal Wedding . Fashion Guru Tim Gunn narrates the ad pushing for same-sex marriage in the 34 states where it is illegal.
Among the contestants are Jeff Robertston, 29 and Jeremiah Pyant, 28. They met four years ago. In December, Jeff managed an elaborate surprise proposal at a beachside resort.
I got down on one knee and presented him with a diamond ring, said Robertson. Out comes the box and the ring and thus ensues the crying and screaming and more crying and screaming.
It was all captured on cell phone video. That became their contest entry. The couple with the most votes on ACLU's website wins $5,000. Contestants must live where same-sex marriage is illegal and get married in a state where it is legal.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her longtime partner Kathy Hubbard did that just last month in California.
The ACLU is banking on a political strategy with personal stories.
As people connect with the stories of real couples who these laws affect, I think it really changes hearts and minds, said Rebecca L. Robertson, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas' Legal and Policy Director.
We hit the street at a gas station on Montrose to get reaction.
A man is to be married with a woman, said a heavy machine operator. That's bottom line. I don't go for nothing else.
I just believe what the Bible says, a man should lay with a woman. That's it, said another worker.
I'd be voting against it if I could, said one woman.
Same-sex marriage is an issue that still divides hearts and minds in Houston.
Jeff and Jeremiah s proposal video has about 20,000 views on YouTube. For the contest itself, the couple has received about 300 votes.
The 2-month long contest ends February 14, Valentine s Day. So far, 183 couples have entered nationwide, 19 from Texas.