Congress just passed a historic LGBT rights bill. And it's only the beginning.

It's a historic day: The house just passed a bill that will provide nationwide anti-discrimination protection for the LGBT+ community and extend protection to women and people of color.

The bill, known as H.R. 5, is an extension of 1964's Civil Rights Act. It's meant to ensure that those who identify as LGBT+ can't be discriminated against at work, school, when seeking housing, and when participating in federally funded programs (among other things).


While many believe that the LGBT+ community already has all of these protections (especially after gay marriage was made legal), the reality is that gay, lesbian, transgender, and non-binary individuals can still be legally discriminated against in many parts of The United States. In fact, they can even be fired for their sexual orientation and gender identity in 26 states.  

Because these states don't have laws that protect these members of our society, individuals that are treated unfairly at school, let go from their jobs, or denied housing because they are LGBT+ have no legal recourse when it comes to fighting discrimination there. This bill attempts to rectify that, making it clear that all Americans are first-class citizens regardless of how they identify or their sexual preference. (sidebar: Isn't it strange that we have to keep reminding ourselves we're in 2019 because the laws that either govern us or are being passed are so goddamn archaic?)

Of course, this is just one hurdle we've crossed on the long, arduous road to equality. While the bill has passed 236-173 in the house, it still needs to pass the senate in order to become law and there will be some major opposition there. OUT reports that voters have generally been supportive of moves towards equality, but that doesn't mean that republican senators will be.

One republican congressman actually quoted Coretta Scott King when denouncing the bill on the house floor.

"Coretta Scott King wisely said, 'Freedom is never really won. We earn it and win it in every new generation,'" said Ross Spano of Florida. "H.R. 5 is bad for freedom. You see, it would immediately expose churches, religious schools and universities and faith-based organizations to legal liability for simply following their earnest beliefs."

First of all: Gross to invoke King's name like that.

Second of all: Rest assured that this is only the beginning. The way that it will always be only the beginning until all of us are seen as equal in the eyes of the law. There will be many more people who will try to tear this bill down, but there will also be countless others who will fight for it with everything they've got.

And that's why we're not ending this on a dark note. There's lots to be hopeful about when it comes to equal rights — in America and around the world. Case in point, just recently in Taiwan, the government legalized same-sex unions. In The US, we'll continue fighting for equality.

As presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren said this morning: "LGBTQ Americans deserve to be treated equally, no matter where they live – or who they love."

via The Today Show

Michael and Jack McConnell will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd and it won't only be a big moment for them, it'll be a landmark for the entire gay rights movement.

The couple was legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and 43 before it became federally legal in 2015.

How did they do it? They outsmarted a system that wasn't prepared to address same-sex marriage.

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via The Today Show

Michael and Jack McConnell will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd and it won't only be a big moment for them, it'll be a landmark for the entire gay rights movement.

The couple was legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and 43 before it became federally legal in 2015.

How did they do it? They outsmarted a system that wasn't prepared to address same-sex marriage.

Keep Reading Show less
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If you've ever donated to a cause but worried that your contribution wasn't really enough to drive real change, you're not alone. As one person, it can be tough to feel like you're making a real difference, especially if you don't have a lot to donate or if times are tough (aka there's a worldwide pandemic going on.)

That's why, for years, the idea of philanthropy felt a little bit like a rich person's thing: if you had millions, you could donate and make change. The rest of us were just tossing pennies into a cup without really doing much.

But that's a problem: the priorities of a wealthy few don't represent the priorities of many, which means that good causes are often left underfunded, leading to a lack of meaningful action.

The thing is: it doesn't have to be like this. We can all make a difference, especially if we pool our money together.

Enter: Giving Circles. These are when groups of people with shared values come together to drive change. They do it by pooling their time and money together, then deciding as a circle where it should go. That way, they can cause a real targeted change in one place quickly in a very people-powered way by giving what they can, whether that's volunteer hours, money, or a mix of both. Best of all, Giving Circles are a social experience — you get to work together as a community to make sure you do the most good you can.

In other words, giving circles are a way to democratize philanthropy, making it more accessible regardless of your age, income, gender, or race.

That's why this year, The Elevate Prize, a nonprofit founded in 2019, is launching a new pop-up "Giving Circle" program so that problem solvers, budding philanthropists, and anyone that wants to do good can come together and drive real impact at a large scale. And you can do it all in just 90 minutes.

All you have to do is join one of the Elevate Giving Circles online. Learn about organizations doing good for the world, then pool your money together, and as a group, direct it where you think that donation could make the most difference.

But that's not all: every single donation made is matched by the Elevate Prize Foundation — basically guaranteeing that you double your impact for good. The theme for the first cycle is education, and Elevate Giving will match up to $75,000 in total donations for each cycle.

Ready to get involved? Elevate Giving experiences start June 26th, so sign up now for your spot to make a difference. There's no minimum fee to join either — so get involved no matter what you have to give. Now that's philanthropy for all.