GLAAD has several couples and experts who can speak to the media about the importance of marriage equality and the Supreme Court hearings.
To book any of these contacts, please contact:
Director of Communications
Sarah Kate Ellis is the President and CEO of GLAAD. An award-winning media executive and salient communications strategist, Ellis led national media brands to their biggest successes, most notably growing Real Simple into one of Time Inc.’s most respected and successful magazines. Her vision has transformed and energized leading media outlets including Vogue, InStyle, New York, and House & Garden.
As co-chair of OUT at Time Inc., she led programming to spotlight the diversity of the LGBT community and educated the organization’s straight allies on a wide range of LGBT issues. She is a member of Advertising Women of New York, Cosmetic Executive Women, and the Magazine Publishers of America. Ellis is also a Vestry member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Ellis earned her B.A. from Russell Sage College and also attended the Tuck Executive Education program at Dartmouth.
In 2011, Ellis co-authored a memoir with her wife, Kristen Ellis-Henderson, titled “Times Two, Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made," released by Simon & Schuster. The autobiography chronicled their simultaneous pregnancies and road to motherhood. The two are outspoken advocates for LGBT equality and were featured on the groundbreaking “Gay Marriage Already Won” cover of Time Magazine. They were also profiled in a special New York Times Style section devoted to marriage equality on the day it became legal in New York State and were the subjects of The Huffington Post's three part documentary web series titled "Here Come The Brides." They were named one of GO Magazine's Most Captivating Couples of 2012 and are the proud mothers of two children. The couple held the first same-sex marriage ceremony performed in the Episcopal Church of New York State.
Zeke Stokes is GLAAD's Vice President of Programs. In that role, he oversees GLAAD's advocacy work to advance the stories of LGBT people that lead to positive cultural change in the United States and abroad. He leads a staff of media professionals in both Los Angeles and New York City in GLAAD's Entertainment Media and Spanish-Language departments, as well as the organization's transgender, sports, Southern, international, and youth initiatives.
A veteran of the fights to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the U.S. Supreme Court, Zeke served as director of outreach at Media Matters For America, where he was lead brand ambassador for the organization and worked to ensure that the research and rapid response tools produced by the nonprofit were leveraged across the progressive movement to create change. Previously, he was communications director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network – and then director of external relations at OutServe-SLDN – where he played a key role in advancing LGBT military equality. Prior, Stokes managed his own practice, consulting for a variety of political, nonprofit, corporate and governmental clients. He is a former publicist for the March of Dimes, where he managed celebrity involvement. He is a native of South Carolina, and began his career there as director of communications for the South Carolina Democratic Party.
In addition to his work at GLAAD, Zeke is currently a co-producer on the upcoming docu-reality series, TransMilitary. He is also a frequent media commentator on progressive issues and has appeared in the pages, online, and on the air of countless local, state, and national news outlets including The Huffington Post, Sirius XM Radio, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated, and The Advocate.
Ross Murray is the Director of Programs, Global and U.S. South at GLAAD, where he amplifies the voices of LGBT-affirming communities of faith and LGBT people of faith. He speaks and writes frequently about the relationship between religion and LGBT people. He has written and appeared on numerous media outlets, such as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Religion News Service. Ross holds a BA and an MA in religion, as well as an MBA. Ross is also a founder and director of The Naming Project, a faith-based camp for LGBT youth and their allies, which has appeared in the award-winning film Camp Out, as well as the controversial episode "Pray the Gay Away?" of Our America with Lisa Ling. He is based in New York.
Monica Trasandes is the Director Programs, Spanish-Language and Latino Media at GLAAD. She was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and grew up in San Diego. She has a very accepting family and lives with her partner of 11 years, Valda. As a spokesperson, she has done dozens of interviews on local, national and international news programs on CNN en Español, Telemundo, Univision and for many radio and print outlets. She is based in Los Angeles.
Monica Trasandes es la Directora de Medios en Español para GLAAD. Nació en Montevideo, Uruguay pero se crió en San Diego. Tiene una familia que la acepta y apoya y vive en Los Angeles con su pareja de 11 años, Valda. Como portavoz, ha realizado más de 40 entrevistas en programas de noticias locales, nacionales e internacionales, en CNN en Español, Telemundo y Univision y en muchos programas de radio y medios impresos.
Louiseville, Kentucky – Maurice Blanchard & Dominique James
Rev. Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard was born in a small town in South Carolina, near the Georgia border and grew up in the Southern Baptist church. In 2006, he was married to his partner, Dominique James, in a church ceremony by his father, who’s a minister, although marriage equality is still illegal in the state of Kentucky. Dominique is active as a volunteer for underprivileged children. Rev. Blanchard and Dominique applied for a marriage license in 2013 and were arrested for holding a nonviolent pray-in to protest their denial. The couple is also beginning the process of adopting a child. Their faith is extremely important to them and they believe God has led them to making LGBT equality a reality everywhere.
Louisville, Kentucky – Greg Bourke & Michael de Leon
Partners for 33 years and parents of two teens, Greg Bourke and Michael de Leon are raising a multiracial family in a state that does not recognize their marriage of 11 years. In addition to their ongoing efforts to bring marriage equality to Kentucky, Greg has long advocated for full LGBT-inclusion within the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He was forced out of his role as troop leader after 10 years of Scouting, simply for being gay. The couple's family, along with other equality advocates, went on to deliver well over 1 million petitions signatures supporting LGBT-inclusion to the BSA headquarters. That same year, Greg launched a new petition and delivered more than 64,000 signatures to the United Way, urging the organization to reconsider its financial support of the BSA. He was even named to 2013's OUT100 list of compelling people. The couple has been covered by the Associated Press, Al Jazeera America, BuzzFeed, USA Today, Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.
Hayward, California – Lt. Colonel Vicki Hudson (RET.) & Monika Poxon
Lieutenant Colonel Vicki Hudson (RET.) and Monika Poxon have been married for 11 years, and are the mothers of two young daughters. Vicki served 33 years, beginning as a Private and retiring as a Lt. Colonel in the United States Army. During her service, Vicki commanded two companies and three battalions, and deployed for Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Joint Endeavor (Bosnia/IFOR) and Iraqi Freedom with two domestic Noble Eagle tours. After the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Vicki became one of the first openly gay commanders in the US Army. The couple challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2011 via the landmark litigation, McLaughlin v. Panetta, and continue to advocate for full LGBT equality.
Sharon, Massachusetts – Major Shannon McLaughlin & Casey McLaughlin
Army National Guard Major Shannon McLaughlin was deployed for Operation Enduiring Freedom following the attacks on September 11, 2001. She and her wife, Casey, are the parents of 4 year old twins Grace and Grant and new baby Gabriel. Shannon and Casey have known each other for 17 years, and instantly felt a connection when they first met. Under the "Defense of Marriage Act," Casey was excluded from Shannon's military family healthcare plan once Casey went on maternity leave from teaching high school, even though they were legally married. The couple were lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Department of Defense on marriage equality. The couple has been featured in pieces by NBC News, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, and Freedom to Marry.
Jackson, Mississippi – Joce Pritchett & Carla Webb
Joce Pritchett and Carla Webb, who both grew up in Mississippi, have been married for ten years, and say it was love at first sight. They are one of the two couples to file a federal challenge to Mississippi's ban on marriage equality. Joce is also making history by running for State Auditor, which means she is Mississippi's first openly LGBT statewide candidate. As residents of Mississippi, the couple had to travel outside of their home state in order to marry, and to find a doctor who would treat them with in-vitro fertilization. In the eyes of the state's law, many LGBT parents are not recognized as such. They have been featured in stories by WAPT News, LGBTQ Nation, Washington Blade, and more.
Vacaville, California – Lt. Commander Gary Ross & Dan Ross
Navy Lieutenant Commander Gary Ross has an extensive background as a surface warfare officer, and was joined by his partner Dan Swezy in becoming the first US military couple to exchange wedding vows after "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed. Lt. Commander Ross' resume includes managing Antiterrorism and Force Protection programs and Antiterrorism and Combat Systems Training Teams. His personal decorations include the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, Admiral deGrasse Award from the French government, and numerous individual, Campaign, and Unit awards. The couple has been together for fifteen years, and featured in international newspapers, magazines, books, and television programs, including The Guardian, CBS News, and Outserve Mag.
Columbus, Ohio – Major Steve Snyder-Hill & Joshua Snyder-Hill
Major Steve Snyder-Hill gained notoriety for asking candidates during a Republican presidential debate if they would undo the progress of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and was immediately booed by the audience. None of the candidates said they would support LGBT service members. Steve has served in Iraq and decided to come out to his family as gay after surviving a hail of artillery fire at age 19. Joshua and Steve married in Washington DC before the policy was repealed, and the couple's marriage is still not recognized in their home state. In 2013, Steve and Joshua brought 25 couples from across the country to marry in front of the Supreme Court, just days before the "Defense of Marriage Act" was repealed. Steve is the author if Soldier of Change, and the couple has been featured in the Advocate and Mad Mike's America.