LGBT Equality’s Next Frontier: Securing Nondiscrimination Protections for All Americans

June 8, 2015 • 9:33 am

Bipartisan campaign seeks to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections at the local, state and ultimately national level

June 8, 2015 • Dan Rafter | dan@freedomforallamericans.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan group of organizations and funders working to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality formally announced a new campaign today to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans at the local, state and national level. The effort, Freedom for All Americans (FFAA), will engage in states across the country to advance nondiscrimination legislation and defeat anti-LGBT bills. FFAA also will engage in a national public education campaign to ensure Americans understand that in many states, their LGBT friends and loved ones are not protected from discrimination. FFAA’s ultimate goal is to secure passage of comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation through Congress. The Washington Post highlighted FFAA’s efforts to secure nondiscrimination protections in a story that ran this past weekend.

Currently, 52 percent of LGBT people live in states that don’t offer any explicit nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations. Discrimination against LGBT Americans is still legal in 31 states.

FFAAMap

“Our campaign efforts build off of one of the most fundamental American values: that we all should be treated fairly and equally under the law,” said Matt McTighe, FFAA campaign manager. “This is a critical moment for our movement – we’re going to be working aggressively to secure protections so that all Americans have the freedom to work hard and succeed in their communities, without facing discrimination. As we engage in states across the country, we’ll send a clear message to federal lawmakers that Americans from all backgrounds – Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike – support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections.”

Freedom for All Americans is a $25 million bipartisan effort that is funded by Republicans and Democrats alike with support from individuals like Paul Singer, Tim Gill, and Daniel Loeb and organizations like American Unity Fund and the Gill Foundation. FFAA will engage smartly and strategically to support efforts in states across the country, particularly states with large LGBT populations and few to none state protections. The organization has already assisted with recent efforts in Indiana, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and several other states and municipalities.

FFAA will engage major businesses from across the country to advance nondiscrimination protections and defeat anti-LGBT bills. A number of the nation’s most recognizable brands – from Apple to Facebook to Wal-Mart – have spoken out against discriminatory bills. FFAA will work to harness business support for commonsense nondiscrimination protections and use them to illustrate the economic impacts of not passing nondiscrimination legislation – or even the harms associated with passing bad legislation, as seen in Indiana this past March.

“Business will play an absolutely critical role in the hard and essential work ahead of us,” said Tim Gill, founder of the Gill Foundation. “Laws that protect LGBT Americans from discrimination are good for business.  Hostile laws make it difficult for companies to attract and retain talented people and result in lost revenue and do serious damage to a state’s bottom line and reputation.”

In addition to dedicated campaign efforts in states across the country, FFAA will be launching an LGBT-U program, geared toward training and deploying the next generation of campaign staffers and movement leaders. FFAA also is working to identify and elevate transgender spokespeople all across the country – so it’s crystal clear to policymakers that sexual orientation and gender identity and expression protections must always move together; no exceptions.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign dedicated to ensuring every gay and transgender American is fully protected from discrimination under the law, no matter where they live. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses big and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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