In his article this July, “After a Gay-Rights Victory, a New Challenge for Grant Makers,” Michael Seltzer reflects on the next challenges for philanthropy around LGBT issues. Seltzer traces the history of foundations addressing funding gaps to LGBT issues and points to the continued need for support to LGBT civil rights issues, even in the wake of the Supreme Courts strike down of Defense of Marriage Act.
Two days before the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which occurred on the streets of my neighborhood, Greenwich Village, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitution of the United States and states have the right to pass same-sex marriage laws.
While the decision came on the heels of another Supreme Court decision dealing a unconscionable blow to voting rights, the courts decision on same-sex marriage will long be known as one of the most significant and historic civil-rights victories in our lifetimes.
In spite of the Supreme Courts momentous decision, there is an even greater need for foundation leadership ahead. Much work remains to be done. Twenty-nine states, for example, do not protect lesbian, gay or bisexual workers from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. And, of course, 37 states have not yet made same-sex marriage legal.
J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, notes that the work to secure civil rights is far from completed: We are funding in 43 states and 81 countries, and have learned that we must not draw neat lines around decades or movements and say, Done. Our work is not done.