Lessons from Florida’s Defense of LGBT Rights
Equality Florida Co-founder and CEO Nadine Smith talks about the challenges facing the movement, and how her state has achieved pro-LGBT wins in a tough climate.
Equality makes us stronger as a nation. When employers, communities, and governments treat all people fairly—including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender—it benefits everyone. The United States has made important progress in extending equal rights to LGBT people, but we still have a long way to go.
Today, solid majorities of Americans support laws and policies aimed at reducing discrimination against LGBT people. People across the country have come to understand that the strength and the success of our communities and our economy depend on the diverse talents and skills of all people. We’re all better off when everyone has a chance to thrive.
But the fact is, it’s still legal in most states to fire hardworking employees, deny them housing, or refuse to serve them in a restaurant or other business—simply because they are gay or transgender.
Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only
In 2001, the Haas, Jr. Fund became the first foundation to make marriage equality a funding priority. 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.
The Haas, Jr Fund and our partners are committed to securing equal civil right protections for LGBT people across the United States including protections against discrimination in the following areas:
We’re supporting legal action and public education efforts to ensure that the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision is enforced and not eroded by measures seeking to sanction discrimination against gay and lesbian couples and their children.
We're standing up for the principle that LGBT people deserve the same civil rights protections as all other Americans and supporting efforts in the following areas to help move the nation to a tipping point on this issue:
We’re supporting litigation seeking to secure a Supreme Court decision holding that current federal nondiscrimination laws should be interpreted to include discrimination against LGBT people.
We’re investing in research to find the best ways to change hearts and minds and increase public support for the need to protect LGBT from discrimination.
We’re supporting the work of Freedom for All Americans and state-based groups to educate the community about the need to extend nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people, while safeguarding religious freedoms.
We’re working with partners to raise up the voices of clergy and other people of faith to make the case for LGBT equality, based on religious values and beliefs.
The United States is viewed around the world as a land of opportunity and freedom—a place where people who work hard, follow the law, and meet their responsibilities have a chance to get ahead and make a positive difference. It’s time to ensure that this vision is a reality for LGBT Americans—and for everyone.
Matt oversees the Fund’s extensive support for the drive for equal rights and opportunities for LGBT people.
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