Learn About Atticus Circle and Soulforce

Atticus Circle, named after Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, is a national non-profit organization that educates and mobilizes fair-minded, straight people to advance equal rights for LGBT partners, parents, and their children.

Anne Wynne founded Atticus Circle in November 2004, as states passed marriage amendments embedding discrimination against gays and lesbians in their constitutions. A married mother of three and family practice lawyer, Wynne knew this discrimination had its greatest impact on children and families. Wynne created Atticus Circle to provide a place for straight people to stand up for equal rights for LGBT Americans, regardless of whether they know or are related to an LGBT person.

Atticus Circle focuses on education, policy development and legal advocacy to end discrimination based on who someone loves. Current projects include Caring for All Children, an outreach initiative to educate people about the impact of discrimination on the children of gay and lesbian couples; and a partnership with the "Gay? Fine by me" t-shirt project to expand our Campus Circle and engage thousands of college students around the country.

"What bothers me most is that we are teaching our children that it's OK to discriminate against some people. We're telling children of gay couples that their parents aren't as good as other parents. And we're asking some little children to tell big, fat lies, by hiding the fact that they have two mommies or two daddies. With Seven Straight Nights, we will bring forward parents, who, like my husband and I, want to raise our children in a country where everyone has equal rights - all partners, all parents, all children." --Anne Wynne, Founder, Atticus Circle

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Soulforce is a national LGBT social justice and civil rights organization. Our mission is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.

Soulforce was founded by the Rev Dr. Mel White and his partner, Gary Nixon in 1999. Before coming out as a gay man in 1993, White was a Christian minister, filmmaker, and ghostwriter for evangelical leaders such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Since coming out, White has dedicated his life to social justice for LGBT people. Most recently, he is the author of Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right.

Soulforce focuses its efforts on non-violent direct action to expose and discredit the religious-based bigotry that sustains discrimination. Current projects include the Soulforce Equality Ride, launched in March 2006 as a journey to confront military and religious colleges and universities that exclude LGBT students, and the Right to Serve campaign, a national action in which openly gay youth attempt to enlist in the military in order to call attention to the costs of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In 2007, Soulforce will unveil several new campaigns, including one to expose the deceptive "ex-gay" ministries and another that will create conversations about marriage equality.

Soulforce realizes that its mission is long-term; even when the United States is rid of discriminatory policies, Soulforce will still have a role in resisting the religion-based bigotry that fuels hate and injustice.

"Religious extremists and conservative pundits often attempt to discredit gay-driven social justice efforts by referring to us as "those militant homosexual activists." With Seven Straight Nights, we hope to create a political and moral dilemma for the forces that support oppression by moving heterosexual allies to the front lines. Our action will expose homophobic laws and the politicians who support them and educate the larger society in the process."--Jeff Lutes, Executive Director, Soulforce

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