Advancing LGBT Civil Rights

Other Initiatives


National COVID-19 Remembrance 

Equality Forum conceived the National COVID-19 Remembrance, October 4, 2020, on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. Part of President’s Park, the Ellipse lies just south of the White House, which provided the backdrop. Equality Forum applied for the National Park Service permit; enlisted the help of Jess O’Connell, political strategiest and 2020 LGBT History Month Icon, who served as the lead organizer; and contracted with Bond Events to produce the occasion.


National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration 

On July 4, 1965, a group of courageous gay and lesbian activists from New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia laid the foundation for the organized LGBT civil rights movement with demonstrations in front of Independence Hall. Known as "Annual Reminders," these protests of East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) occurred every Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969.

On July 4, 2015, Equality Forum proudly commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Annual Reminders, the Gay Pioneers who staged them, and a half century of LGBT civil right progress. Jim Obergefell, Edie Windsor, Judy Shepard, Bishop Gene Robinson, Wanda Sykes and other leaders and entertainers, along with hundreds of guests joined in the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration and Ceremony.


217 Boxes

Equality Forum presented 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous, a play written and directed by Obie-Award winner Ain Gordon. In conjunction with the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, and the 45th anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness, this is a play about the man who helped end lobotomies, chemical castration, electric shock therapy and mental institutionalization and whose remarkable courage transformed the LGBT civil rights movement. Nightly talkbacks followed each performance.


Marriage Recognition

Equality Forum coordinated a marriage equality lawsuit filed in federal court in Philadelphia in September 2013. The suit, Palladino v. Corbett, challenged the constitutionality of the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states. The case requested that the Pennsylvania statute and similar statues that discriminated against same-sex couples be declared unconstitutional. It raised important constitutional questions that had not been addressed by the courts, including the impact of the Full Faith and Credit clause, which requires states to respect the judgment, decrees and orders of other states, and the constitutional right to travel between states without penalty or deprivation of legal rights. It also raised claims under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution.

Fortune 500 Project

Equality Forum in collaboration with Professor Louis Thomas, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor, Yale Law School reported a record 484 (96.8%) of the 2012 FORTUNE 500 Companies specifically include sexual orientation in their workplace policies.  Neither sexual orientation nor gender identity is included in the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and only 21 states statutorily provide sexual orientation and/or gender identity workplace protection.

The FORTUNE 500 project was started in 2004 when 323 (64.6%) of the FORTUNE 500 companies provided sexual orientation protection.  The project contacted each of the 177 non-compliant companies and made the business case directly to their CEOs, HR Directors and Board of Directors and shareholder case to large institutional shareholders.


Project 1138

This initiative increases public awareness of the 1,138 federal marital protections and benefits denied to same-sex couples. Equality Forum launched project 1138 in 2004 with a public demonstration, inviting couples to share their stories online. 



Identifying the GLBT Vote

The 2007 Philadelphia mayoral primary had five well-known, gay-friendly candidates. Equality Forum identified eight unique gay neighborhoods and selected 12 U.S. census tracks with the highest number of same-sex households. By reviewing results in those precincts, Equality Forum was able to objectively conclude that about 70% of the vote went to one of the five candidates.   

This initiative, which can be used in any municipality or state with a significant gay population, confirmed that the gay vote can be identified and that the gay community can be considered a voting bloc.


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