Leaving a Legacy for the Future of the LGBT Rights Movement

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November 23, 2015
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Dick Auer (left) and John Barham

As the holidays approach, the LGBT community has so much to be thankful for. 

But even with the incredible advances we’ve made in just the past year, the work to secure and defend the rights of every LGBT person and person living with HIV in America has just begun.

Our community still faces incredible challenges. As we move forward, the legal landscape in our country will undoubtedly shift, but the one constant is the need for Lambda Legal as an advocate for the LGBT community.

That’s why this holiday season, I invite you to create a lasting legacy with Lambda Legal and help us secure a future of equality for all.

For a short time, the estate of John Barham and Dick Auer has pledged an extraordinary $1.25 million challenge gift, immediately matching new planned gift intentions. This matching gift will allow you to secure the promise of our community’s future, while directly impacting our current work today.

John and Dick’s support of Lambda Legal started in 1990, before the modern era of the marriage equality movement. Although their investment in Lambda Legal helped to gain and protect their rights, they often thought of how their support helped other LGBT people — especially those less fortunate.

Their story is not just of generosity, but also of love and commitment. Born in Virginia and a pilot during World War II, John made his way to New York City shortly after the war. On one fateful day in 1954, John met Dick, an agricultural scientist, at the Oak Room of the Plaza hotel. Fifteen years before the Stonewall Riots, the couple fell in love.

Dick’s employer eventually asked him to move to South America — and John followed. After years abroad, the couple returned to the U.S. to settle in the Hamptons. Sadly, after more than 45 years together, Dick passed away in 2000 — three years before Lambda Legal’s Supreme Court victory in Lawrence v. Texas, which legalized the intimate lives of same-sex couples. John passed away on June 22, 2013 — four days before the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor started the dominoes falling and led to the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges this June.

But John and Dick’s support of Lambda Legal was never only about marriage equality. They understood the needs of LGBT people throughout our lifetimes. They supported Lambda Legal to protect LGBT youth from bullying at school, to secure housing and affordable and culturally competent medical care for LGBT seniors and seniors living with HIV – and to address all of the challenges of prejudice and discrimination that lie between.

Please join me in honoring John and Dick’s legacy by creating your own legacy for equality to help us continue the fight for the rights of all LGBT people and those with HIV. If you name Lambda Legal as a bequest beneficiary through your will, retirement account or life insurance policy, John and Dick’s estate will make a matching cash contribution equaling 10% — up to $10,000 — of your future commitment.

Help us continue the fight — beyond marriage to create full equality for all. Safeguard your legacy for equality with Lambda Legal today.

Planned giving