Job Title: State Policy Counsel
Location: Flexible – Ability to set up a home office is required
Reporting to: Chief Policy Officer
Salary: $60,000-$75,000 + generous benefits package
For over 40 years, Family Equality has worked to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form them. Family Equality is the only national organization exclusively dedicated to securing justice and equality for LGBTQ+ parents and their children by advancing legal and lived equality for all families. We aim to build community, change hearts and minds, and drive policy change.
We envision a future where all LGBTQ+ families, regardless of creation of composition, and LGBTQ+ youth, live in communities that recognize, respect, protect, and value them. We envision a world in which everyone has the right and should have the opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status, disability, or the intersection of those characteristics. Finally, we envision systems of service and support that are free of discrimination and that maximize opportunities for youth needing permanency and LGBTQ+ adults seeking family formation and expansion.
As an organization, we have prioritized anti-racism and integrating racial equity into every facet of our work. We acknowledge our history as a predominately white organization and are committed to ending white supremacy. Doing so is essential to our objective of full equality for all LGBTQ+ people.
Family Equality provides a team-based environment and we value the benefits of a diversified staff and workplace. Black (or African American), Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander, Latinx, Middle Eastern, North African, and other people who belong to communities of color; LGBTQ+ people; intersex people; women; immigrants; people with disabilities, including those living with HIV; formerly incarcerated people; and people with lived experiences in poverty and the child welfare system are strongly encouraged to apply.
As the leading national center for LGBTQ+ family policy expertise, Family Equality’s Department of Public Policy sets and advances a proactive agenda for family recognition and creation, family-inclusive non-discrimination and safety reform, and family-inclusive education reform; lobbies in support of legislative and policy changes at all levels of government that are beneficial to and affirming of LGBTQ+ families and LGBTQ+ youth seeking family formation; drafts and passes model family-inclusive legislation; and provides legislative drafting and other technical assistances to national, state, and local partners and elected officials.
The State Policy Counsel will work closely with other members of the policy team to advance our public policy agenda in state and local governments, focusing primarily on relationship and family recognition, family formation and expansion (foster care, adoption, assisted reproduction, and surrogacy), parentage, and nondiscrimination. This includes legislative and administrative advocacy, grassroots calls to actions, and creation of written resources and materials to inform our families of their rights. The State Policy Counsel also may work on other issues that affect the lives of LGBTQ+ families, and will assist in public education efforts by leveraging the stories of LGBTQ+ families and youth and participating in and facilitating strategic workshops and presentations.
This position is highly collaborative, working closely with our Communications and Programs teams, as well as civil rights partners at the national and state level, state equality groups, state lawmakers, and constituents.
- Draft and advocate for state laws and administrative policies related to recognition of LGBTQ+ families and their right to form and expand them, including relationship recognition, parental rights, family formation and expansion (foster care, adoption and assisted reproduction), and nondiscrimination.
- Draft and advocate for state laws and administrative policies that expressly permit LGBTQ+ families to foster and adopt children and protect LGBTQ+ youth.
- Work to eliminate discriminatory parentage laws and barriers to family creation.
- Support legislative solutions to outdated laws such as laws that prohibit marriage equality or inhibit equal recognition of marriages of same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ families.
- Work in coalition with partners to expand anti-discrimination protections and defend against legislative attacks against LGBTQ+ families and youth.
- Attend and participate in weekly LGBTQ+ coalition meetings during state legislative sessions (generally January – July).
- Provide legislative drafting and other technical assistance (such as talking points, fact sheets, tool kits, and action alerts) to national, state, and local partners and elected officials.
- Carry out all work with a racial justice lens and intentional incorporation of the perspectives of multiple communities, including communities of color and low-income communities, in the consideration of impacts and outcomes of policy advocacy.
- Work with our Communications team to develop and execute social media driven public education campaigns on legislation and issues that impact foster care and LGBTQ+ families.
- Participate in and facilitate strategic workshops, panels, presentations, trainings, and webinars.
- Conduct legal research and create and update written resources to inform and educate partners, allies, LGBTQ+ parents and families, and other constituents.
- Lobby on key legislation, regulations, and policies that fall within our core areas of expertise and focus, including providing written and/or in person testimony.
- Track and analyze state legislation, regulations and litigation impacting LGBTQ+ families and youth.
- Recruit and supervise legal and policy interns.
- Occasional travel may be required.
- Law degree; with at least 2 years of experience doing legal or policy work.
- Commitment to legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form and expand them.
- Commitment to racial and economic justice. And, an understanding of – or a strong and demonstrated desire to learn about – the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities.
- Experience in – or a strong and demonstrated desire to learn – and are excited about LGBTQ+ family law, specifically laws about relationship recognition, adoption, assisted reproductive technology (ART), and parentage rights.
- Attention to detail.
- Strong legal research, analysis, writing, and public speaking skills.
- Ability to work independently in a remote work setting.
- Interest in writing and creating content and ability to translate complicated legal concepts into non-legalese and digestible content.
- Willingness to collaborate with people who are mixed across race, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more.
- Experience incorporating the perspective of multiple communities, including communities of color and low-income, rural, and/or southern communities, in the consideration of impacts and outcomes of a decision-making process is strongly preferred.
- Interest in engaging with lawmakers and state agency employees.
- Ability to handle and prioritize appropriately multiple tasks in a timely and efficient manner.
Additional helpful experience:
- Demonstrated experience and interest working in the LGBTQ+ or allied movements.
- Prior experience with state policy work and bill tracking software.
- Prior experience working in coalitions in the LGBTQ+ movement or other progressive movements.
- We are a fully distributed organization with staff working remotely throughout the country.
- You will need a remote office set-up. We provide a monthly cell phone and internet stipend.
- This is a full-time position, but we are a family organization committed to the well-being of our employees and their families. As such, we offer flexibility in hours and generous leave policies.
- Salary is annual, paid on the 15th and last day of every month.
- We offer payment of state bar association dues in one state for licensed attorneys.
- Process/what to expect: applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, with the goal of completing initial interviews by July 1st. We expect to conduct initial interviews via telephone or zoom; a small group of finalists will be invited to a second interview via zoom. All invitations to interview will be sent out via email.
How to Apply
To apply, please submit an application (letter of interest, resume, and writing sample) on Idealist.
Family Equality provides a team-based environment and we value the benefits of a diversified workplace.
Women, people of color, transgender individuals and members of other underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to apply.
Family Equality is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on age, citizenship, color, creed, physical or mental disability (including HIV status), ethnicity, family responsibilities, gender identity and expression, marital status, matriculation, national origin, physical appearance, race, religion, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, union membership, veteran status or other unlawful factors, with respect to recruiting, hiring, job assignment, promotion, discipline, discharge, compensation, training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.