The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians for two reasons. First, without the freedom to marry, same-sex couples face tremendous discrimination and are deprived of literally hundreds of legal and economic protections and responsibilities. For example, there are over 1,100 benefits and responsibilities uniquely associated to marriage under federal law – everything from tax benefits to Social Security benefits for surviving spouses – that are simply unavailable to gay couples, causing extreme hardship for millions. Second, we also believe that winning this right is a defining step toward full equality and inclusion of gay people in society.
Over a decade ago, the Haas, Jr. Fund was the first foundation to embrace marriage equality as a priority. We helped create Freedom to Marry and the Civil Marriage Collaborative and have played a leadership role in numerous other initiatives to advance equal marriage rights in California and across the country.
Today, the Haas, Jr. Fund is working with our partners in the marriage equality movement toward four goals:
- Increase the number of states extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. We are working with our funding partners in the Civil Marriage Collaborative to keep the movement on track toward its long-term goals.
- Advance marriage equality in California. We are building support for the movement’s goals in two communities that experience shows are crucial to success: communities of faith and people of color.
- Support and sustain a cohesive vision and strategy for the movement. We continue to support Freedom to Marry as a pivotal player in framing the national debate and uniting the movement around a shared agenda.
- Increase support for marriage equality among diverse funders. We are working to raise additional money for this work from funders that have not traditionally supported marriage equality and other gay causes.
We believe that continued momentum on marriage equality in a significant number of states in the years ahead will move the nation toward a tipping point on marriage equality – with the ultimate goal of full, nationwide marriage rights.