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Broadway Impact: A Look Back at an Organization That Made a Difference

Rejoice! This morning the U.S Supreme Court ruled that Same-Sex Marriage is now legal in all 50 states. The new ruling states that refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the Constitution.

As BroadwayWorld and the rest of the community rejoices over this landmark news, we've decided to look back at an important organization that made a big difference in the fight for equality, BROADWAY IMPACT.

Broadway Impact is the first and only grassroots organization to mobilize the nationwide theater community in support of marriage equality. What the organization stands for is simple: equal rights for all. Their mission statement reads: "Whether you're gay, straight, or somehwhere in between, we believe that you should be able to marry the person you love."

The organization recognizes that theatre has the power to change the hearts and minds of others. Broadway Impact realizes that whether showcased on a Broadway stage, a college campus or at a community theater in a small town, theatre can help raise awareness about federal marriage eqaulity coast to coast.

Broadway Impact was started by Tony Award nominated performers Rory O'Malley (Book of Mormon) and Gavin Creel (Hair) and production coordinator Jenny Kanelos. The project was started in 2009 and the trio helped gather groups of volunteers to help with Broadway Impact and spread their message.

Broadway Impact has accomplished a lot since it began in 2009. It produced a 3,000-piece letter writing campaign in support of the New York marriage eqaulity bill; produced a major 2009 Times Square Marriage Equality rally, where speakers and performers included Cynthia Nixon, Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and then Governor David Paterson. It organized a free bus trip for 1,400 volunteers to go to the National Equality March in Washington DC thanks to the generous sponsorship of Broadway producers, performers and other supporters; produced a summer concert series with the Broadway casts of American Idiot, Memphis, and Next to Normal to raise awareness about marriage equality and so much more.

Broadway reacts to the Supreme Court ruling!

In 2010, Broadway Impact held an event to celebrate the ruling that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. In 2011, Hair held a Be-In to benefit Broadway Impact. The concert featured songs from HAIR, along with original songs and cast favorites. With this "Be-In," HAIR continued its longtime association with Broadway Impact. In 2014 Broadway Impact organized an All Love Is Equal recital to benefit Broadway Impact and it played at The Kaufman Center.

Broadway stars also rally behind Broadway Impact and continuously show it support. In 2012, BroadwayWorld reported that Audra McDonald spoke about Broadway Impact when she was named a Givenik Ambassador. She talked to Givenik.com about Broadway Impact and Porgy and Bess.

The organization also helped create a nationwide series of staged reading of the new play 8 alongside American Foundation for Equal Rights and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar). The play tells the real-life story of Kris & Sandy and Paul & Jeff, two loving couples who want to get married but can't. Together with attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson and a host of expert witnesses, they take aim at Proposition 8, a discriminatory law that took away the right for LGBT couples to marry in California in 2008.

8 continues to be performed nationwide and it's all thanks to Broadway Impact's increased effort. Broadway Impact also gathers a group of runners each year to participate in the New York City Marathon as well as the New York City Pride Parade. The iconic TCS NYC Marathon takes the Broadway Impact runners through the five boroughs of NYC and finishing in Centeral Park. With over 40,000 runners from around the world, Broadway Impact looks to be part of that tradition of runners each year.

The money the team raises goes directly to fund outreach, education and programs that keep Broadway Impact at the forefront of the fight for equality across the country. Broadway fans can join the Broadway Impact team and help make a difference alongside other runners.

So celebrate the U.S Supreme Court rulling this morning by looking further into the hard work of Broadway Impact. To learn more and get involved visit Broadway Impact's website: http://www.broadwayimpact.com/. #LoveWins

Photo Credits: Broadway Impact



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