The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund recognizes that opposition to marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians is often justified by, or originates from, faith communities. As a result, we have been working with a range of allies to build support for gay equality among targeted groups of clergy and congregations.
While religiously based homophobia remains a significant barrier to the cause of gay equality, the Haas, Jr. Fund and its partners have achieved important victories on this front in recent years. For example, the United Church of Christ has embraced marriage equality; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America overturned its ban on non-celibate gay clergy; and the Presbyterian Church USA amended the church's constitution to allow openly gay and lesbian members to become ordained ministers.
To build on these achievements, the Haas, Jr. Fund and its partners have adopted three goals:
- Increase support for gay equality among mainline Protestant clergy. The Haas, Jr. Fund is working to increase the number of clergy as pro-gay allies. Through our leadership in developing and supporting the Believe Out Loud campaign, the Haas, Jr. Fund is investing in innovative communications strategies to reach and move more mainline Protestant clergy to become advocates for equality.
- Increase the number of congregations that are welcoming and affirming of gay people. The Haas, Jr. Fund is supporting the Institute for Welcoming Resources and other faith groups to increase the number of welcoming and affirming congregations within mainline Protestant and Jewish denominations.
- Build support for marriage equality among communities of faith in California. Recognizing that the voices and power of these communities have not been fully utilized in our home state, the Haas, Jr. Fund is investing in efforts to build support for marriage equality among congregations across the state.