The Equality Hawaii logo
|Founded||November 16, 2007|
|Family Equality Coalition, Family Equality Foundation|
Equality Hawaii was founded as Family Equality Coalition on November 16, 2007 as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. It was founded based on community and expert input at the organization's first meeting in September 2007 after a civil unions bill was attempted in February 2007. The organization made an early commitment to advocating for same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The first general membership meeting was held in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 5 and featured Cleve Jones. In 2010, the board elected to change its name to Equality Hawaii to reflect its scope expanding beyond just same-sex marriage.
Originally named Family Equality Foundation, Equality Hawaii Foundation (EHF) was founded on October 27, 2009 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. While its 501(c)(3) application was being approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the organization was fiscally sponsored by the Equality Federation Institute. This allowed the organization to immediately pursue grant funding. The organization received its official designation from the IRS on June 5, 2011.
Equality Hawaii Action Fund was founded August 13, 2010 as a 527 organization. It was formed in response to Governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle vetoing a 2010 civil unions bill; opponents of legal recognition of same-sex relationships had made public pledges to remove from office any legislators who supported civil unions; and Gubernatorial candidates Mufi Hannemann and Duke Aiona were promising to not only veto any future civil unions legislation, but put the issue on the ballot.
Equality Hawaii was a founding member and fiscal agent of Hawaii United for Marriage, a coalition of organizations that advocated for the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act, which was signed into law on November 13, 2013 by Governor Neil Abercrombie, and same-sex couples began marrying on December 2, 2013.
From 2013 - 2016 Equality Hawaii worked to pass key legislation to empower and protect Hawaii’s LGBTQ community; enabling transgender people to change the gender identity maker on official documents and preventing health insurers from discriminating against them. In 2016 Equality Hawaii formed a strategic alliance to share networks and resources with the Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to unifying, facilitating and empowering Hawaii’s LGBTQ community.
Equality Hawaii ceased operations in January 2017.
Equality Hawaii is often used to describe three separate organizations:
- Equality Hawaii — a 501(c)(4) organization
- Equality Hawaii Foundation — a 501(c)(3) organization
- Equality Hawaii Action Fund — a 527 organization
Equality Hawaii activities and programs included:
- Hawaii Family Portraits
- Community education
- Media relations
- Community outreach
- Legislative lobbying
- Voter outreach
- "Our History". Equality Hawaii. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "Our History". Equality Hawaii Foundation. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "Our History". Equality Hawaii Action Fund. Retrieved July 4, 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "Abercrombie signs same-sex marriage bill into law". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- "First same-sex couples marry in Hawaii". Advocate.com. December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Pignataro, Anthony (May 16, 2014). "Equality Hawaii Foundation: 1,417 Same-Sex Couples Married In Hawaii In Last Six Months". MauiTime News. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "Equality Hawaii Endorses Takai for Congress". Civil Beat. April 11, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "What's The Difference?". Equality Hawaii. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "About Us". Equality Hawaii. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.