Equality California or EQCA is a civil rights organization primarily concerned with the rights of LGBT people in California.
Significant Activities and Programs
EQCA has sponsored and helped lobby for the passage of dozens of bills supporting gay rights in the United States in the California Legislature, including the nation’s first same-sex marriage bill approved by a legislative body (AB 849, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno, D-San Francisco). On behalf of its members, EQCA is the organizational plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lambda Legal and several law firms challenging California’s marriage laws that exclude same-sex couples. EQCA was also a defendant in a lawsuit seeking to overturn California’s domestic partner laws.
Equality California Institute
The EQCA Institute informs LGBT people and the public about issues impacting the community and its allies, trains them to respond and work proactively for LGBT equality, and connects communities working for justice and civil rights for all. The Institute coordinates coalition working groups across California and leads the Equality Alliance (formerly the California Freedom to Marry Coalition), a formal group of LGBT and allied organizations working together to secure equality in California. Equality California (EQCA) is the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization in California. Founded in 1998, EQCA leads legislative and outreach efforts across the state with the mission of achieving equality and civil rights for all LGBT Californians. A nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based group with more than 35,000 supporters, EQCA has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Palm Springs and Fresno.
California Equality Project
The California Equality Project is a multi-million dollar campaign designed to overcome people’s cultural fears, ignorance and emotional conflicts about marriage for same-sex couples and reduce discrimination and intolerance toward LGBT Californians. The Project utilizes a coordinated multi-media strategy to improve the climate for an informed debate about these issues.
Equality California Political Action Committee
The EQCA PAC endorses candidates and supports their campaigns through donations, targeted mail campaigns and grassroots efforts. The PAC works to expand the number of equality-minded representatives in state government and continue the LGBT community’s progress toward equality.
History and Leadership
Equality California began in 1998 as the California Alliance for Pride and Equality (CAPE), and the CAPE Foundation was launched in 2000 to expand education and outreach efforts. In 2003, the organizations became Equality California, the EQCA Institute and EQCA Political Action Committee. During that time, the organization grew exponentially under the new leadership of Executive Director Geoffrey Kors, Board President John Duran, PAC President Diane Abbitt and Institute President Jody Cole.