Over the more than 20 year period of continuous Overbrook support for LGBT-related issues, a fundamental and striking change has occurred in the movement to claim LGBT equality. With the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges LGBT people have moved another step towards full inclusion in civil society as they now have access to all the rights, benefits, privileges and obligations that are included in federal and state laws for opposite-sex married couples. This is an important milestone but not the end of the quest for broader rights and justice for all LGBT people. In response to this important achievement, the Foundation will continue its support to achieve and defend LGBT equality as a part of its larger mission to advance gender rights.
Below are the Foundation’s 2015 grantees working to advance Marriage Equality.
Religious Refusals Communication Hub – $50,000
With the Supreme Court’s forthcoming marriage equality decision likely to further inflame the conservative base, the clamor for religious exemptions will only grow. An incomplete response to these threats from progressives could result in a new, permanent right to discriminate against LGBT people, women, and others. An immediate response is necessary to shape the religious refusals debate nationally and in key states. This public education campaign will persuade the public to oppose legal faith based discrimination and other harms to the public. The ACLU will lead the steering and advisory committees being assembled to drive this response.
General Operating Support - $50,000
Freedom to Marry is the national campaign dedicated solely to ending discrimination in marriage. It is pursuing its Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. It partners with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.
Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project - $60,000
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and those living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. One of the nation’s leaders in the fight to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide, Lambda Legal helped secure the first major marriage equality victory in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage benefits to same-sex couples. Since then, Lambda Legal has helped secure marriage equality for same sex couples in numerous states, and provided essential support in the successful challenge to the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
Religious Liberty and Equality Project - $25,000
NEO Philanthropy will act as fiscal agent for Civitas Public Affairs Group, a public affairs and communication agency that works with leaders from across the political spectrum to forge bold, bipartisan government relations plans and to craft cutting-edge communications and marketing campaigns. Civitas works to shape public policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Civitas will begin building out a long term, proactive plan to defeat religious exemption proposals, while also building out and strengthening equality goals across the civil rights, LGBT rights and reproductive justice and rights movements.
Civil Marriage Collaborative – $125,000
Founded in 2004, the Civil Marriage Collaborative (CMC) was established at Proteus Fund, a foundation committed to advancing justice through democracy, human rights and peace. CMC will support the strategic efforts of this innovative funders collaborative in moving a state-by-state public education agenda on marriage equality. The Civil Marriage Collaborative seeks to advance appreciation of and support for the freedom to marry at the state level by investing in states where winning full marriage equality is a near-term possibility and supporting selected efforts to defend existing marriage rights as needed.