The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on
Sunday announced a three-year, $8.5 million campaign to promote
equality in three Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
In an email to supporters, HRC called
the campaign, titled Project One America, a “bold, new chapter in
the civil rights movement of our generation.”
“It's time to broaden our focus to
the people least served by the LGBT movement,” the group wrote.
“These three states share the
distinction of having no local or state laws that protect individuals
from discrimination in the workplace, housing or public
accommodations – and each state's constitution expressly prohibits
marriage equality. Contrast that sad fact with this reality: these
states also have some of the highest rates of LGBT couples raising
children in the country and in fact, Mississippi has the highest in
The AP reported that HRC plans to open
offices in each state in an effort to change hearts and minds to
make it more comfortable for people to come out publicly, which in
turn, organizers hope, will increase acceptance of gay rights.
“You overcome all of the objections
by having conversations and getting to know your neighbors,” HRC
President Chad Griffin, an Arkansas native, told
Freedom to Marry, the nation's largest
group devoted to promoting marriage equality, earlier this year
launched a campaign targeting Southern states.