Freedom Forward 2019-2020

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Our mission is more crucial than ever. Despite significant wins this year, millions of LGBTQ people in a majority of states remain vulnerable to being thrown out of their home, turned away at the doctor's office, or denied service at a grocery store. This is true all the time, of course, but it’s especially urgent during a pandemic.

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–Kasey Suffredini, CEO & National Campaign Director

A Historic Year for LGBTQ Nondiscrimination & Freedom for All Americans

The work of Freedom for All Americans and Freedom for All Americans Education Fund has been a whirlwind these past 12 months. Here are some of the major milestones:

October 2019:

The Supreme Court considers the landmark Title VII case, for which FFAA helped organize a bipartisan group to submit amicus briefs, including 37 conservatives.

November 2019:

FFAA’s Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination coalition grows to include 350 members from all 50 states.

March 2020:

FFAA’s America Competes coalition organizes 40+ major companies against anti-LGBTQ bills.

April 2020:

The bipartisan Virginia Values Coalition, of which FFAA was a founding member, leads a comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill to passage in Virginia.

June 2020:

We helped achieve an historic Supreme Court ruling barring discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace.

July 2020:

Virginia officially becomes the 21st state, and first in the South, with comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.


The Supreme Court ruling in June 2020

In June 2020, the Supreme Court handed down a historic ruling barring discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace. In advance of the decision, we drove an aggressive, hyper-local effort in 11 key states to saturate the media with calls for Congress to act, regardless of the cases’ outcome.

We helped achieve an historic Supreme Court ruling barring discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace.

What it means:

LGBTQ people can’t be fired or harassed at work for being LGBTQ.

What it may lead to after years of litigation:

Federal sex-based protections in housing, healthcare and education also protect LGBTQ people.

What it doesn't mean:

It’s still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in public places like stores, restaurants, and hotels.

What about religious exemptions?

Next Spring, the Supreme Court will decide whether religious institutions like foster care agencies that accept taxpayer money have a broad license to discriminate against LGBTQ people; we’re working on that, too!

Our work is not done!

What do we still need?

New federal and state laws that provide express comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

When?

The next chance to pass federal legislation may come after November 2020 election.

How?

The Equality Act, comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation that will need bipartisan support for passage in the U.S. Senate.

As the only bipartisan and exclusively nondiscrimination focused LGBTQ organization, Freedom for All Americans will deliver the votes—on both sides of the aisle—needed to win nationwide protections.

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Our focus on the federal solution

All of our work, in the states, in the courts, and to move public opinion, is ultimately in service of passing federal nondiscrimination legislation—the only way to achieve comprehensive protections nationwide for LGBTQ people. In the last year we continued to create the environment where such legislation could succeed once there is an opening.

Over the last twelve months, FFAAEF led state and national partners in a collaborative project to organize constituent-driven educational meetings with federal policymakers in 10 states about the need for comprehensive LGBTQ nationwide nondiscrimination protections.

We also supported partners to identify, recruit and train constituents to participate in 50 virtual or in-person meetings (pre-pandemic) with members of Congress and their staff. Participants reflected the broad support nationwide protections enjoy from Americans of all walks of life: from residents in the Florida Panhandle, to parents of LGBTQ people in North Carolina, to faith leaders in Michigan.

A core part of our campaign strategy that has been successful in growing nationwide support to 72% (including expanding conservative support to 61% overall and to over 50% in all 50 states) has been to center the people impacted through storytelling.


Program Highlights: Businesses, Conservatives, and Mayors

We made important strides this year in organizing key influencers and constituencies to continue demonstrating the rising bipartisan consensus for LGBTQ nondiscrimination.

America Competes

Members of America Competes, FFAA/EF’s national business coalition, have been extremely active this past year. New members included Sun Life Financial and Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, a consortium of Danone, Unilever, Mars, and Nestle. In total, the coalition counts more than 65 members. More than 40 major companies signed on to a national letter urging state lawmakers everywhere to oppose bills targeting the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender youth. America Competes helped organize a friend-of-the-Court brief regarding the June LGBTQ nondiscrimination cases on behalf of over 200 of the nation’s biggest brands.

Conservatives Against Discrimination

FFAA/EF has continued building our innovative Conservatives Against Discrimination coalition this year chaired by Trey Grayson, former Secretary of State in KY and former U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of FL. This past year, we heavily assisted in recruiting 37 high-profile current or former Republican officials to sign an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the LGBTQ discrimination cases, which led to a supportive New York Times op-ed from Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the RNC. As a result of these efforts, bipartisan support is rising for LGBTQ nondiscrimination both among lawmakers and everyday Americans.

Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination

Since last July, the Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination coalition has counted nearly 40 new members and celebrated a milestone of reaching more than 350 mayors in all 50 states. The Advocate published an op-ed at the time from Mayor Breea Clark of Norman, Oklahoma, whose town had been the first in the state to pass an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The coalition also held its third annual meeting at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in January 2020. The coalition was integral in collecting nearly 100 signatories from mayors and cities in a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court in the LGBTQ nondiscrimination cases.


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