“A national organization is launching a three-year, $8.5 million campaign to promote LGBT equality and push for new legal protections in three Southern states dominated by conservative politics and religion and known for resistance to change: Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Decades after groups used boycotts, marches, sit-ins, pickets and mass rallies to end legalized racial segregation and push for equal protection for blacks, the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign is planning a new kind of civil rights movement. It’s one based on using chats and front-porch visits between relatives and friends to foster an environment more welcoming toward people of all sexual orientations.
The idea is simple, and it’s borne out in polls: People are less likely to oppose expanded rights and acceptance if they know and care for someone who’s gay. Activists hope that’s particularly true in a region that values hospitality.
The Human Rights Campaign — which calls itself the nation’s largest civil rights organization working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality — plans to open offices in each state and staff them with 20 people total, primarily residents…