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Marriage Equality Wasn’t the End of the Fight, Just the Beginning

When the United States Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land, many of us rejoiced. We’d been fighting for that goal for years after all, and it seemed like that victory would change everything. But it hasn’t. Since then, and especially in 2016, there has been a rash of harsh, anti-LGBT legislature proposed and passed around the country, to deny service to LGBT people on “religious” grounds, to force transgender people to use bathrooms associated with the gender assigned on their birth certificate, and so on.

The fact that we won a victory does not mean we’ve won the war, and the forces arrayed against equality and human rights are not only strong but vindictive. Conservatives are ready and willing to use every means at their disposal to continue trying to oppress LGBT people, and they’re pushing even harder now that they’ve lost the marriage equality fight.

All this is sad, but expected. Perhaps worse is that, since that victory, donations to LGBT groups have dried up. It’s like we won marriage equality and then everybody moved on to other causes. But non-profit and charitable support for LGBT causes are needed now more than ever. Bans on gay marriage were bad, but legalized transphobia is worse. The conservative backlash has to be met with more work, with better data collection, with grants and marches and lobbying. None of which is free, and all of which needs support.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Every civil rights victory in the past has been followed by a backlash, and has required more work and more money to continue the forward momentum. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t end racism, ratifying women’s suffrage didn’t end misogyny, and enforcing marriage equality won’t end the threat to LGBT rights.

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Two Major Philanthropic Foundations Team Up for Human Rights

Two Major Philanthropic Foundations Team Up for Human Rights
HRC is the largest LGBT equality-rights advocacy group in the US.
IMG: via Shutterstock

In an excellent example of collaborative philanthropy, the Daniel S. Loeb Family Third Point Foundation and the Paul E. Singer Foundation are teaming up to award the Human Rights Campaign grants to support LGBT rights abroad. Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced how these two influential foundations were pledging to award grants to the organization over three years. This generosity is meant to support HRC’s advancement in advancing LGBT equality overseas.

According to a press release from HRC, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities around the world face stigmatization, harassment, violence and blatant human rights violations. To combat these horrific acts and to advance the cause of LGBT justice internationally, the Paul E. Singer Foundation is teaming up with the Daniel S. Loeb Family Foundation,” to provide funding for the education and research branch of the HRC. The HRC is the largest LGBT civil rights organization in the United States, and has been monumentally influential in the fight for LGBT rights in the U.S.

Now, the HRC is expanding its efforts to increase a more global reach, which wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of major philanthropic foundations. “I am proud to support HRC’s new initiative to protect LGBT rights globally,” remarked hedge fund manager and philanthropist Dan Loeb. Paul Singer concurs, explaining how “Every day around the world, LGBT individuals face arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution just for being who they are…As an organization that has been at the forefront of the equality movement for over three decades, the Human Rights Campaign is uniquely positioned to work in tandem with NGOs to empower LGBT and human rights advocates abroad to help stop these abuses,” of his reasons for supporting such an important human rights initiative.

No strangers to philanthropic work, Dan Loeb and Paul Singer are aware of the great impact their grants will have in advancing global LGBT rights. Reportedly, each of them have been long-time advocates for human rights, which makes their collaboration and donation to the HRC all the more powerful.