‘Beyond I Do’ campaign pushes boundaries for LGBT equality
Mega-donor Tim Gill has become one of the nation’s leading philanthropists for LGBTQ causes, spending tens of millions of dollars from his software-company fortune. One of his priorities now is to move beyond “the easy states” and build new alliances in Republican-controlled states that could pave the way for non-discrimination laws.
Gill’s Denver-based foundation is helping bankroll a national campaign by the Ad Council, known for iconic public service ad campaigns including Smokey the Bear and “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.”
Called “Beyond I Do,” it makes the point that while same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide, LGBT people still face legal discrimination in a majority of states — including being evicted, fired or denied services.
Only 19 states — mostly Democratic strongholds — offer comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for gays, lesbians and transgender people.
The new ad campaign is projected to get at least $15 million in donated media support — including TV and radio time, and billboard space.
Among the people featured in more than 20 stories and video spots are a Michigan couple who said a pediatrician refused to treat their newborn daughter because of objections to their same-sex marriage, and an Ohio woman who says she was fired as a teacher because she is a lesbian.
“We have to make new and different friends,” Gill said. “Ultimately a federal solution is better, but it always comes after the states have demonstrated the need.”
“Beyond I Do” makes the point that while same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide, LGBT people still face legal discrimination in a majority of states — including being evicted, fired or denied services.