Dear friends and supporters of Freedom for All Americans and Freedom for All Americans Education Fund,
We write with significant updates about our campaign for nationwide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.
As you’re no doubt aware, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law on December 13th, ensuring that marriage equality remains the law of the land for generations to come. Many from the FFAA team and partners were in attendance, and it was a particularly poignant moment for FFAA’s campaign. While this wasn’t the issue FFAA was organized to win, we should all be proud that we were able to play a leading role in securing the 12 GOP Senate votes that carried the bill over the finish line.
As we shared with you in July, neither FFAA or the broader Freedom and Opportunity for All (FOA) Coalition – comprised of the leading national LGBTQ and allied organizations - chose to prioritize the Respect for Marriage Act over a federal nondiscrimination measure. When policymakers moved the marriage bill before nondiscrimination protections, however, our strategy had to adapt. We drove assets into the marriage effort from the start. We mobilized our bipartisan strategies, relationships, consultants, and messaging on an ongoing basis to secure the 10+ GOP votes needed to pass the bill. It’s not a coincidence that 10 of the 12 “yes” votes on marriage in the Senate were priority FFAA targets for nondiscrimination over the past two years. Our immediate support, built on two years of deliberative bipartisan federal efforts, and following two decades of intensive marriage organizing, created the conditions in which this unexpected, quick sprint effort could succeed.
We did all of this in service to passing a nondiscrimination bill, and we never let up on our full court press for nondiscrimination protections. We worked hard to drive marriage over the finish line as quickly as possible, in hopes that the Senate would retain time to continue negotiating and ultimately pass a nondiscrimination bill. We knew the role that a strong, bipartisan victory on marriage could play in paving the way for a similar bipartisan outcome on a future nondiscrimination vote.
Ultimately, the clock ran out on our ability to win both issues before the end of this Congress. But the success on marriage is proof in FFAA’s theory of change: With strategic organizing and deliberative advocacy, we can bring Democrats and Republicans together to do the big things that our community needs.
As the sun set on Congress in 2022, so too it sets on FFAA’s campaign. FFAA was a time bound initiative, designed as a short-term campaign to build toward the unique federal window of opportunity that has closed. We have made the decision that FFAAEF will dissolve, as designed.
Through the deep and transformative investment you made in this campaign from the beginning, nondiscrimination has advanced farther than it ever has before. Together, we’ve expanded the number of states with protections by over 25% and we’ve grown public support for protections to an all-time high of 83% (an increase of 11% points since FFAA launched in 2015). We’ve won for the first time in the Supreme Court with the Bostock decision, written by a Trump-appointed conservative Justice. We’ve won at the ballot box in red and blue states. Republicans and center-right faith leaders made history by coming out publicly in support of the need for nondiscrimination protections. We passed the Equality Act through the House for the second time and secured the first-ever hearing on comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in the U.S. Senate.
Since we first announced in the summer of 2022 that FFAA would be beginning to prepare for this eventuality by right-sizing, we have been faithful to the intentional and responsible wind down of this campaign. We have been deeply engaged with our partners to disseminate assets and templates of continuing use. We know that the most urgent fights for nondiscrimination protections are centered in transgender issues, and we’ve made a concerted effort to ensure this distribution prioritizes those working to push back on transphobic efforts in the states. You will also have an opportunity in the coming weeks to opt in to support these organizations, as FFAAEF sends its final report and transition email.
It is our deepest hope that the movement will take the relationships and coordinating structures that were built and the lessons learned and leverage them to continue to build toward the moment of next opportunity. The 50-year movement for nationwide nondiscrimination protections continues. As President Biden prepared to sign the Respect for Marriage Act on the South Lawn of the White House, he called specifically for passage of a federal nondiscrimination law. Your investment in this work not only made lives better, it catalyzed critical conversations in Congress and in communities all across this country. These important conversations helped to secure passage of the Respect for Marriage Act this year - and have laid the groundwork for earnest negotiations to create bi-partisan legislation that secures federal protections for LGBTQ Americans.
Each of us, as directors, meet this moment of dissolution with reserve and resilience. This was not our intended outcome, and yet, we believe this work was deeply in service of our overarching goal. If you would like to discuss this further, please connect with one of our board representatives: Brad Clark at [email protected] or Tyler Deaton at [email protected].
FFAA & FFAAEF Board of Directors