We’re excited to announce that this spring, Family Equality Council, COLAGE, and FosterClub are joining forces to hold a national Lobby Day to tell Congress to end discrimination against LGBTQ families and youth!
Join us in Washington, DC on May 14-15 to meet with your members of Congress in person and urge them to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and the Equality Act.
Both bills end discrimination against LGBTQ people and families, and overturn existing state anti-LGBTQ foster care and adoption license to discriminate laws in nine states.
Register below, or scroll down for more info.
We would love to see your whole family at Lobby Day! We will have training for youth ages 13-18 on May 14 running concurrently with our training for adults.
The day-long training will likely not capture the attention of our younger family members under 13, though. If your family is able to travel to D.C. with multiple caregivers, the family member who will have the primary speaking role for your family in the meetings with members of Congress can attend the training while another caregiver can explore the city with other families with young children in town for the event. We will also provide resources for finding child care during the training day if you need it. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the Hill visits on May 15th!
Please submit your name, email, home address, and number of adults and children in your party. You’ll then be directed to a more detailed registration form, with the option to reserve a hotel room in our Lobby Day room block.
Lobby Day Info Session
Tuesday, February 5th 2-3PM EST
Want to learn more about Lobby Day and why you should get involved? Chat directly with Julie Kruse, our Director of Federal Policy, during our online information session!
Lobby Day FAQs
Why an LGBTQ Family Equality Lobby Day?
Opponents of LGBTQ rights are working to undermine full marriage equality by chipping away at equal rights and services for LGBTQ parents and youth. Nine states have now passed license-to-discriminate bills into law, allowing adoption and foster care agencies to turn away qualified parents primarily because they are LGBTQ or because they are single, of a different faith, or nonreligious.
Foster care and adoption license-to-discriminate bills are based on a presumption that LGBTQ people – as well as single people, people of minority religions, interfaith couples, and others targeted by these bills – are unfit to be parents for children in state care, even if they meet all other qualifications and requirements to become foster and adoptive parents. We simply cannot allow laws to stand that presume that LGBTQ parents and families are somehow “less than” other parents and families, or we will begin down a path to further discriminatory laws, policies, and practices.
Some of these laws also allow discrimination against and denials of service for LGBTQ foster youth, and all of these bills harm foster children by denying them loving forever families. LGBTQ foster children are particularly affected by reducing the pool of potential affirming foster and adoptive homes, as they already suffer higher rates of poor treatment in care, greater rates of multiple placements, longer stays in group homes, and other negative outcomes.
LGBTQ people and families also face multiple forms of discrimination in services, public accommodations, employment, health, housing, and more, and are not protected by nondiscrimination laws in many states. Such discrimination hurts not only LGBTQ people, but also our children and family members.
Family Equality Council, which represents LGBTQ families and those who wish to form them, COLAGE, which represents children of all ages with one or more LGBTQIA+ parent/guardian/caregiver, and FosterClub, an organization representing alumni of foster care across the United States, have joined forces to hold a national lobby day to tell Congress to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and our families once and for all, across the United States.
*Please note that this event will coincide with National Police Week.*
What will I advocate for on Lobby Day?
On the Family Equality Lobby Day, you and others from your state and region will speak directly to multiple members of Congress and/or their staff to advocate for full equality for LGBTQ people and our families.
Together, we will urge members of Congress to cosponsor and vote to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and the Equality Act. Both pieces of legislation will work to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in foster care and adoption and will overturn the ten state foster care and adoption license to discriminate laws in KS, MI, MS, ND, OK, SC, SD, VA and TX. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act will also help states provide better services to LGBTQ youth and parents, and the Equality Act will end discrimination against LGBTQ people in public accommodations, employment, health, housing, and more.
What will we learn on the May 14 training?
On May 14, we will train you to effectively communicate your story to your members of Congress and to advocate for full equality for LGBTQ people, our families, and LGBTQ foster youth. You will get to know your Lobby Day team from your district, state, or region, and practice incorporating your stories and effective messaging together to prepare for meetings as a group with members of Congress and their staff on May 15.
We will start and end our training day together. There will be breakouts in the middle of the training day for LGBTQ and allied youth 13-18, youth 13-18 who have one or more LGBTQ+ parent(s) or caregiver(s), and adults 19 and over. This will be an excellent opportunity for your children to get to know their peers and learn about COLAGE’s youth programming! Training will be provided by Family Equality, COLAGE, and FosterClub. For more information about the COLAGE programming for youth with LGBTQ+ parent(s)/caregiver(s) please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
While children under the age of 13 will not be at the training day, we will provide you with resources prior to lobby day and train you on May 14 on preparing your younger children for what they will experience on May 15. We ask that the caregiver that will have the primary speaking role for your family attend the training on May 14. If one of the caregivers in your family misses the training to take care of children 12 and under on May 14, please dedicate some time at the end of the day to preparing the full family (including little ones) for the Hill Day on May 15, so that everyone can be included seamlessly in your group.
If you need help identifying childcare options for the May 14 training day, please contact email@example.com.
Note: The May 14 training day is required for at least one adult from your family and youth age 13-18 in order to attend scheduled meetings on May 15.
What will we do on the May 15 Lobby Day?
By May 15, you will be familiar with your Lobby Day team from the May 14 training and your team leader(s), and will have role-played meetings with members of Congress.
On May 15, you and your team will meet with 4-8 members of Congress and/or their staff. You will tell them your stories, explain the need in their states and districts for equality for LGBTQ people and our families, and urge them to cosponsor and vote to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and the Equality Act. With your group, you will reflect and report on the outcomes of each meeting.
Who is invited to Lobby Day?
We welcome all of those who wish to join us to advocate for LGBTQ family equality, including LGBTQ parents and families; people with LGBTQ parents, children, or other family members; foster alumni; child welfare experts; faith leaders; and allies.
We would love to see your whole family at Lobby Day! We will have training for youth ages 13-18 on May 14 running concurrently with our training for adults. The day-long training will likely not capture the attention of our younger family members, though. We will provide resources for identifying child care options prior to lobby day. If your family travels to D.C. with multiple caregivers, and you prefer, the caregiver that will have the primary speaking role for your family should attend the training on May 14 while another can explore the city with other families with young children in town for the event. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the Hill visits on May 15th!
If you need help identifying childcare options so that you can attend the training on May 14, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I prepare for Lobby Day?
If you haven’t yet, click here to tell us your story and upload a picture, so we can prepare a handout for you to provide to your members of Congress when you tell them your story in person. You can read more about the Every Child Deserves a Family Act here and the Equality Act here.
What if I want to educate my members of Congress but I can’t attend the Lobby Day?
We will be holding a “Lobby at Home” webinar before May 15 with instructions on how to meet in-district with your member of Congress when they are at home on the weekend or during a Congressional recess.
What are other ways I can support the Lobby Day?
If you wish to sign your organization on to endorse the lobby day, click here. If you wish to volunteer as a youth trainer on May 14, a mental health specialist to assist attendees on May 15, or a team lead who will attend both the May 14 training day and the May 15 lobby day, please click here.