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WATCH: Freedom to Marry Ads Feature Wyoming Republican Alan Simpson

 DENVER — National gay-rights group Freedom to Marry will air ads this week in Washington, DC, Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming featuring former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, a Wyoming lawmaker long identified in American politics with western conservativism who makes the case in the ad for gay marriage.

“I was raised here, Cody, Wyoming. It was a town of western values: independence, freedom,” says Simpson in the 30-second spot as images of red-rock canyonlands and Cody Mainstreet pass on the screen. A lone flag ripples against a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. “I’m a Republican and the Party’s basic core is government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone, and you want to marry them, marry them. I have had a wonderful married life, why shouldn’t somebody else have the joy of marriage. Live and let live. It is very simple.”

In Colorado, the ads are set to air from today through next week. As the Independent reported Friday, Freedom to Marry has purchased at least $27,000 in Denver market advertising time.

The ads come as the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear two key marriage cases, one from Utah — Kitchen v. Herbert — and one from Oklahoma — Bishop v. Smith. In both instances, federal judges struck down state laws defining marriage as only unions between a man and a woman. The same three-judge panel will hear arguments in Kitchen on April 10 and in Bishop on April 17.

The cases mark a next chapter in the movement to win gay-marriage rights in the United States. They are the first cases to come before a federal appeals court after the Supreme Court decision last summer striking down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. Many analysts believe appellate cases such as these will spur the Supreme Court to take up the question of gay marriage again soon and find state bans unconstitutional.

The Tenth Circuit, based in Denver, is a moderate court that covers cases from Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.

Freedom to Marry has long promoted its videos of gay couples telling their stories. It has also aired spots featuring supportive political and entertainment figures making the case for marriage equality.

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson has been a leader in the pathbreaking marriage-equality movement that has swept across the country over the last half decade. He has made it a priority to win over the public as the best way to fuel ballot-box, legislative and judicial victories.

“The goal of our movement has to be not just to get to the Supreme Court, but to win at the Supreme Court,” he told Metro Weekly last Thursday. “We must convey to appellate judges and the Supreme Court justices that America is ready.”

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