Voices for Equality: Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of ‘Peter, Paul & Mary’

Peter, Paul & Mary were an American folk-singing trio who ultimately became one of the biggest acts of the 1960s. The trio was composed of Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. Manager Albert Grossman created Peter, Paul and Mary in 1961, after auditioning several singers in the New York folk scene. After rehearsing them out of town in Miami, Grossman booked them into The Bitter End, a coffee house and popular folk music venue in New York City's Greenwich Village. They recorded their first album, Peter, Paul and Mary, the following year. It included "500 Miles", "Lemon Tree", and the Pete Seeger hit tunes "If I Had a Hammer" (subtitled "(The Hammer Song)") and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?". The album was listed in the Billboard Magazine Top Ten for 10 months, including seven weeks in the #1 position. It remained a main catalog-seller for decades to come, eventually selling over two million copies, earning Double Platinum certification from the RIAA in the United States alone.  Learn more here.

As posted on August 27, 2010 by Kathleen Perrin on prop8trialtracker.com:

"As we all know, the National Organization for Marriage’s ironically named “Summer for Marriage” tour ended recently and Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker team was there throughout. The team documented both NOM speakers’ messages of exclusion and discrimination and the powerful demonstrations by the people who stood up to NOM and spoke in support of marriage equality.

"All along the tour we saw, time and again, how NOM inverted the truth, portraying themselves as the oppressed instead of the oppressor. NOM’s president Brian Brown even made the outrageous claim that he follows in the footsteps of Martin Luther King as the leader of a new civil rights movement.

"In keeping with this twisted version of the truth, NOM played a Peter, Paul & Mary recording of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” during their rallies. You can hear the song being played in the background of this YouTube video showing marriage equality supporters walking away from their counter-protest at the end of NOM’s tour stop in Albany:

"When I first heard this recording played in Albany, NY, I was stunned and deeply offended. Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul & Mary are artists who have always unequivocally supported justice and equality for all.

"I felt certain the surviving members of Peter, Paul & Mary would want to know of this grievous misuse of their recording, so I wrote to Peter Yarrow. In my correspondence, I provided a link to a video of the Albany rally and explained that their recording had been used at high volume to drown out the chants of “Equality” from the counter-demonstrators.

"Mr. Yarrow responded, saying use of the song by NOM was “heartbreaking” and indicated he would be contacting NOM. Here is the letter to Brian Brown from Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey, surviving members of the group who performed as Peter, Paul & Mary (reproduced with permission at bottom)."  [Link]

Freedom to Marry salutes Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey as Voices for Equality!

If the Peter, Paul & Mary members' support inspires you, take action by signing the Freedom to Marry Pledge.