Ed Cuyler, a rural Oklahoman with a Purple Heart, wants to tell his neighbors about marriage equality. That's the message of a new ad airing in the conservative state this week, as a lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's gay marriage ban makes its way through the courts. The ad, from Freedom Oklahoma, features Cuyler talking about his daughter, Deedra, and her partner, Amber. The couple live with Deedra's parents on a very Oklahoma ranch.
The intent, it seems, is to do some work on the one thing a court decision in favor of same-sex marriage can't do in the state: change popular opinion. As recently as 2012, just 35 percent of the state supported same-sex marriage. The ad uses some of the same phrases about values we're used to hearing in opposition to same-sex marriage, but with a reversed conclusion. "Here in Oklahoma, we value family," the ad begins. Cuyler goes on to say, "Only marriage means the ability to take care of your family," referencing his wish that his daughter will be able to do the same for hers, and that "as a veteran I know freedom means freedom for everyone." It is his all-American experience, Cuyler's ad asserts, along with his devotion to his family, the makes him an advocate for equal marriage.