We Stand For
Gay and Lesbian Equality

Across much of the United States, we are closer to legal equality for gays and lesbians than ever before, but we still have a long way to go. It’s time to give all gay people and their families the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Moving Hearts and Minds

Freedom and equality are not new values. They define our collective aspirations as a nation, as a community and as a people.

When gay people are allowed to participate fully in society, it benefits our communities, the economy and millions of American families, gay and straight alike. Winning marriage equality was an important part of ending discrimination, and a defining step toward full equality and inclusion of gay people in American life. But there is still work ahead.

Love Won

We’ve come a long way.

In 2001, the Haas, Jr. Fund became the first foundation to make marriage equality a funding priority. Last year, with the Supreme Court’s historic Obergerfell ruling in June 2015, the freedom to marry was extended to gay and lesbian couples from coast-to-coast.

Profound Shift

America’s embrace of marriage equality was the result of a profound shift in our culture toward acceptance and understanding.

Fairness and Justice

It also was the result of a powerful movement for fairness and justice—people and organizations working at all levels to change public opinion and policies on marriage.

A Heroic Movement

The Haas, Jr. Fund applauds our partners in this heroic movement for helping to make the United States a more equal nation.

But the job isn’t finished yet.

  • The work continues

    Marriage equality is now the law of the land, but protecting the freedom to marry will continue to demand hard work.

  • Safeguarding the freedom to marry

    Today, some are arguing that government officials shouldn’t be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, or that businesses can refuse services to those couples.

  • Fighting for nondiscrimination protections

    In addition, gay and lesbian people in many states still do not have basic protections from employment and housing discrimination.

How We’ll Get There

Securing the Marriage Win

We took a stand for the freedom to marry 16 years ago. Now, we’re determined to defend that freedom and other civil rights for LGBT Americans. The Fund is supporting efforts to:

  • Defend marriage equality. More

    We are supporting litigation and coordinated action to enforce the Supreme Court’s historic Obergefell decision, including challenging laws that undermine that decision by authorizing or allowing discrimination against gay couples.

  • Move the nation to a "tipping point" on protecting LGBT people from discrimination. More

    We are investing in three areas: (1) Building case law establishing that current federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex should also include sexual orientation and gender identity; (2) Research & Communications on how to reach and move the public on nondiscrimination issues, including protecting the long-established balance between civil rights and religious liberties, and how to overcome attacks against transgender people; and (3) A national campaign, led by the Freedom for All Americans Education Fund, to educate the public about the harm caused by anti-LGBT discrimination and the need for redress. People of faith have a central role in advancing these protections and we seek to elevate their voices in educating the public about how the freedom to marry and extending civil protections to LGBT people do not infringe on religious freedoms.

  • Work in collaboration with the Fund's other program areas in key ways. More

    Together with our Immigrant Rights program, we’re strengthening alliances between the LGBT and immigrant rights communities. We’re working with the Haas Leadership Initiative to support and train LGBT leaders of color through the 21st Century Fellows program. As part of the LGBT Giving Project, we’re exploring ways to increase the number of LGBT people providing to LGBT organizations.

Even as marriage equality becomes a reality in every state in the nation, the struggle for LGBT equality continues.

All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.

Harvey Milk