This year, Family Equality Council celebrates our 40th Anniversary! Founded in 1979 at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the organization that grew into Family Equality Council was driven by the same fundamental inequality that drives our work today: that caring, loving parents are being denied equal opportunity to form and sustain families because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Take a look at some of the highlights of our 40-year history:
- 1979 — Gay Fathers Coalition formally organized at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Gay Fathers Coalition starts holding annual conference gatherings.
- 1986 — Organization changes name to Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International (GLPCI) to reflect participation of lesbian parents.
- 1990 — COLAGE forms as a part of GLPCI, providing “for us, by us” programing for children of gay and lesbian parents.
- 1995 — First Family Week takes place in Provincetown, MA, bringing over 100 families together.
- 1996 — Last GLPCI Annual Conference takes place, with the annual gathering replaced by Family Week in Provincetown.
- 1997 — GLPCI hires Ray Drew as first paid Executive Director
- 1998 — COLAGE becomes an independent organization.
- 1998 — Organization changes name to Family Pride Coalition, becoming more inclusive of all LGBT parents and focusing on the whole families.
- 2001 — Family Pride opens Washington D.C. office and hires first policy staff position.
- 2003 – First Los Angeles Awards Dinner to benefit Family Equality Council
- 2006 — White House Easter Egg Roll campaign brings national visibility.
- 2007 — Organization changes name to Family Equality Council
- 2009 – President Obama formally invites LGBTQ families to participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll
- 2010 – First Night at the Pier Gala in New York City to benefit Family Equality Council.
- 2012 — Family Equality Council rings closing bell on Wall Street on the day President Obama announced his support for marriage equality.
- 2013 — Family Equality Council opens New York office
- 2013 — Justice Kennedy influenced by Voices of Children amicus brief in his decision striking down DOMA.
- 2015 — Justice Kennedy again references Family Equality Council and COLAGE amicus brief in his Obergefell decision, making marriage equality the law of the land.
- 2017 — Family Equality Council updates mission statement to support LGBTQ people seeking to form families, in addition to supporting existing LGBTQ families.
- 2018 — Family Equality Council merges with Path2Parenthood, strengthening programs for LGBTQ family building.
- 2018 – Family Equality Council announces planned merger with COLAGE.
In the past two years, attacks on the LGBTQ community have become more aggressive and more frequent. In response, we’re embracing the power of our families’ stories. Our stories have the power to create new allies, to move allies to action, and to spur elected officials to fight for our rights. And through sharing our stories, we also celebrate our victories — the proud family moments that capture what we’re fighting for.
You can take personal action: When you’re ready to speak out, we’re ready to help you share your story in a way that makes a difference.
We’ll be here for you in 2019, and for the next 40+ years, as your families flourish and grow. Each one of our families is unique, and Family Equality is here to ensure that we remember what’s important: that Love Makes a Family.