“We did it!” declared ACLU President Anthony D. Romero in a fundraising email sent out within an hour of the announcement of the Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage Wednesday.

The email featured a photograph of ACLU client Edie Windsor being hugged by her partner, the late Thea Spyer.

Beneath the picture, the ACLU posted a “Donate Now” button, with the following copy: “The ACLU won the fight to overturn DOMA at the Supreme Court. Now we turn to the states to win the freedom to marry for all Americans.”

Windsor and Spyer, residents of New York in 2007, were wed in Ontario, Canada, taking advantage of New York law that recognizes the marriage of same-sex couples wed lawfully outside the state.

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The case arose when Windsor sought an IRS refund after Spyer died in 2009, leaving Windsor her estate. Windsor was forced to pay $363,053 in estate taxes after the IRS denied her a federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses under Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples married in states that allow same-sex civil marriages must be granted federal privileges available to civil marriages formed between a man and a woman.

Targeting the states

“Donate now to support the ACLU’s work and help spearhead challenges to state marriage bans that still prevent millions of loving same-sex couples from getting married,” Romero, the first openly gay president of the ACLU, wrote in the ACLU fundraising email.

“Thanks to Edie’s victory today, marriages between same-sex couples will now be recognized under federal law,” the ACLU continued. “But state marriage bans are still preventing millions of loving same-sex couples from getting married.”

Romero announced that the ACLU’s “big, multi-year plan” to eliminate state same-sex marriage bans will begin Thursday with a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal.

“Our goal is simple, win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples all across America,” Romero’s email explained, signaling that the next initiative of the ACLU will be to challenge state law in states where same-sex civil unions are not yet legal.

ACLU posts on Twitter following the Supreme Court decision echoed the ACLU plan to press for legal challenges and ballot initiatives in the 30 states in which same-sex prohibitions remain in state constitutions.

ACLU tweets following Supreme Court decision

How does the ACLU plan to bring the same-sex marriage battle to the states?

“First, we have to secure the freedom to marry in a critical mass of states through litigation, lobbying, and ballot initiatives,” the email continued. “This will bring the freedom to marry to millions of people and set the stage for the strongest solution of all – a Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex couples to marry.”

Specifically, the ACLU has announced targeting with ballot initiatives the 30 states with constitutional amendments in place excluding same-sex couples from marrying.

“With your support, the ACLU is launching an all-out campaign to win the freedom to marry in more states,” the email concluded. “Then we’re putting campaign managers on the ground, setting long-term legislative strategies in motion, cultivating political allies on both sides of the aisle and preparing the ground for winning initiative campaigns.”

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