San Francisco City Hall Photo credit Michael Smith ©

We Still Have Miles to Go

Summer 2013 Letter from the President

We are at a historic time for marriage equality in this country. Now, how will we build on these victories?

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Today’s Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the freedom to marry are groundbreaking advances for the movement to secure equality under the law for gay and lesbian people. This remarkable – indeed, extraordinary – progress is a tribute to the vision and the hard work of countless organizations and their leaders, and also to the millions of people, gay and straight, who together have built a groundswell of public support in this country for equal marriage rights.  

But the movement’s work is not done—not by a long shot. Seventy percent of Americans live in one of the 37 states that do not afford the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Winning marriage equality in many of these states will be a very difficult fight. More broadly, the challenge extends far beyond marriage. It is still perfectly legal in the majority of U.S. states to fire someone or to deny them housing simply because they are gay. That is an unacceptable realization, and it illustrates how far we still have to go.

The Haas, Jr. Fund’s support for the marriage equality movement over the past 12 years is based on our belief that all people in this country should have the same rights and opportunities, no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love. We hope the Supreme Court’s historic rulings will catalyze the movement, and everyone who supports it, with our next opportunity to build additional support for change. We urge foundations that are not already behind this cause to consider participating in the Civil Marriage Collaborative. And we encourage individuals and foundations alike to increase their support for Freedom to Marry and other organizations dedicated to this work.

When we study the shifts in public support for marriage equality over the last decade, we are inspired by the evidence that the ideal of fairness for people and families trumps all that divides us: age, geography, ethnicity, even political affiliation. This is an ennobling affirmation of the American spirit. It calls upon all of us to join together and fulfill the nation’s founding promise of equality for all.