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American Foundation For Equal Rights

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ, Protection Against Abuse

Mission: The American Foundation for Equal Rights is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights for every American.


An integral part of our nation’s character and laws is the principle that all Americans are entitled to be treated equally by their government. And more than 30 years ago, in its landmark decision to strike down bans on interracial marriage, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized that marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man.

Proposition 8 amended the California Constitution to eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples. As a result, the State of California is in violation of the United States Constitution, the “Supreme Law of the Land.” The United States Constitution guarantees every American basic fundamental rights, including the right to equal protection under the law.

As its first step in its mission to advance equal rights for every American, The Foundation filed a federal court challenge against Proposition 8 in May 2009. The case’s significance has seen it move swiftly toward trial, which began on January 11, 2010.

Specifically, Proposition 8:

  • Violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Violates the Due Process Clause by impinging on fundamental liberties.
  • Singles out gays and lesbians for a disfavored legal status, thereby creating a category of “second-class citizens.”
  • Discriminates on the basis of gender.
  • Discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Foundation hired attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies (who notably faced-off against each other in Bush v. Gore), who are leading a team of lawyers from their firms, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Boies, Schiller & Flexner, to litigate the case against Proposition 8. The plaintiffs in the case are two same sex couples – Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo – who wish to marry but cannot because of Proposition 8. 

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Rating: 4

There are many groups working for equality, all doing great work. What's special about AFER though is that they are uniquely focussed on Prop 8, meaning that they are fully and totally committed to winning it's overturn. When groups work on too many issues sometimes they measure impact across them all and progress can be slow.

I also think they deserve more credit, they are after all the ones leading the actual case. You can be sure though that when they win, our entire community will benefit and there'll be no shortage of groups and individuals lining up to take credit.

Review from Guidestar