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Alumna on conservative marriage equality group

An alumna and former campaign press secretary for John McCain accepted a position last month to serve on the leadership committee of the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a Republican-led campaign within the bipartisan Freedom to Marry Coalition that promotes nationwide marriage equality.

Crystal Benton ’04 said her work in the organization is crucially important as the U.S. Supreme Court decides the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

“Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry represents a rapidly growing number of young conservatives from across the country who agree all American citizens should share the freedom to marry,” said Benton.


“Our argument is the freedom to marry shouldn't be a partisan issue.” 


“Our argument is the freedom to marry shouldn't be a partisan issue,” Benton continued. “And further still, it represents basic conservative values of responsibility and community as well as limited government and individual freedom.”

As a journalism and political science double major at Emerson, Benton recalled taking a class with Associate Professor Jerry Lanson in which students traveled to New Hampshire to cover the 2004 presidential primaries.

After interning on Capitol Hill in Senator John McCain's press office during the summer of her junior year, Benton left Emerson in 2004 to become McCain's press secretary. She then worked as the communications director for a conservative think tank before returning to her home state of New Hampshire to serve as McCain's press secretary during the presidential primary, and then as the deputy communications director in Washington, D.C., for McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

“I got involved in politics because I wanted to make a difference in the world,” said Benton. “I think no matter what side of the aisle you're on, most people get involved in politics to make the world a better place.”

Currently, Benton also works as an executive at a D.C.-based public relations agency. She serves alongside 28 others on the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership committee, including best-selling authors, TV and radio commentators, and Meghan McCain, Abby Huntsman, Liddy Huntsman, and Marry Anne Huntsman, daughters of former Republican presidential candidates John McCain and John Huntsman.

“I continue to stay involved in issues that are important to me,” said Benton. “Especially an issue that makes sense to me as an individual, and that I think makes sense to Republicans as a party.”

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