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    HRC Is Committed to Uniting America Under Single Banner of Fairness

    Earlier this month at1-PHOTO-Frank woo the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, HRC President Chad Griffin received thunderous applause when he said, “Here at this largest-ever HRC National Dinner, we have so much to celebrate. Just since we were here last year: Senator Tammy Baldwin elected, President Obama re-elected. There are more Democrats standing with us, and more Republicans standing up to join us. The destruction of DOMA and its two decades of discrimination and marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota and, yes, California too.”

    He was right. We have a lot to celebrate, both across the country and here in California. So let’s celebrate. This weekend marks the 29th Annual San Francisco Bay Area HRC Gala Dinner. As we prepare for the evening of celebration, it’s fitting to take a step back and reflect on the successes we’ve had over the past year.

    Since the last Bay Area HRC Gala, marriage equality has been rightfully restored in California after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory Prop. 8, removing the cloud of discrimination that had lurked over our state since 2008. The same day, the Justices said Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, had to go. It was a day of great victories and celebrations ensued across the country, but nowhere did those victories hit home like they did here in California as our marriages became recognized at the state and federal levels.

    The Human Rights Campaign, under the current leadership of Chad Griffin, and past leaderships under Joe Solmonese and Elizabeth Birch, have played a pivotal role in the successes of the LGBT rights movement over the past years. HRC was here in 2008 fighting Prop. 8, and after we lost at the ballot box, they didn’t give up. They doubled down on their efforts in the Golden State and everywhere else where the dream of marriage equality eluded us.

    And our victories aren’t limited to marriage. Here in California the legislature passed, and Gov. Brown signed, AB 1266, a law designed to protect transgender students in public schools from discrimination and bullying. Thousands of you responded to our call to action to contact your state legislators. We know our work isn’t over, as just this week at the state Republican Convention, fringe members of the party were successful in getting the party to back efforts to reverse the law.

    The legal battle of SB 1172, the law that outlaws dangerous psychological practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors – practices that have been not only debunked as junk science, but have been proven dangerous by every mainstream medical, mental health, and child welfare organization – lingers on. HRC will be here every step of the way to protect our kids.

    This weekend at our San Francisco Gala, we will honor our long-time ally and bridge builder, Dorothy Polash, with the Charles M. Holmes Community Service Award. We are delighted that Mary Lambert will join us and perform. Mary was most recently on MTV’s Video Music Awards (she was fully dressed and not twerking) singing “Same Love,” with Macklemore and surprise guest, Jennifer Hudson. “Same Love” went on to win “Video with the Best Social Message,” which advocates for marriage equality.

    The Supreme Court decisions were monumental, but they have also highlighted the emergence of “two Americas” — one where full equality is almost a reality and another where LGBT citizens are denied even the most basic rights. HRC is committed to uniting these two Americas under a single banner of fairness.

    HRC is in the fight for the long haul. They are here for us. They are here for our families, our young people, ourselves. I am proud of what we — HRC and the LGBT community — have accomplished here in the Bay Area, up and down the California coast, and across the country. Full equality is within reach. We will get there with HRC and you, as a team.1-LOGO-HumanRightsCapmaign

    Frank H. Woo is a member of the National Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.