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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2009
3:13 PM

CONTACT: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463 (Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

Task Force Profoundly Disappointed in California Supreme Court Decision Upholding Proposition 8

More than 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples that took place before ban remain intact

WASHINGTON - May 26 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is profoundly disappointed in today's California Supreme Court ruling upholding Proposition 8, a ballot measure approved by a slim majority in November 2008 that amends the California Constitution to eliminate the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The court did allow the 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples that occurred prior to the enactment of Proposition 8 to remain intact.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"This is a day of immensely conflicted feelings. We are profoundly disappointed the court has upheld Proposition 8. Banning the fundamental freedom to marry for same-sex couples is unfair, unjust and flies in the face of progress occurring throughout the country, from the Iowa heartland to the rocky shores of Maine. That California is taking a step backward at this moment in history is disconcertingly out of step with society's growing support for equality, and personally painful to committed couples who will be blocked from marrying in California. It is a travesty that the court has permitted a simple majority to use the initiative process to strip a fundamental right from a minority group.

"We are pleased, however, for the more than 18,000 same-sex couples who legally married before the ban took effect and will see those marriages remain intact. But there is no getting around the fact that stripping basic freedoms from people by majority vote is cruel and morally wrong. As long as Proposition 8 remains in effect, untold numbers of same-sex couples will be relegated to second-class status. We refuse to settle for this inequity, and are committed to working with our partners in California to eradicate this terrible injustice and achieve full equality."

About the Task Force's work in California

For the past five years, the Task Force Foundation and its sister organization, the Task Force Action Fund, have invested heavily toward winning the freedom to marry in California. Throughout this period, the Task Force Foundation:

* Contributed combined grants of more than $130,000 to state and local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organizations, including Equality California and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, to launch statewide public education efforts in support of the freedom to marry.
* Held two Power Summits in California, one in 2005 and one in 2007, which trained more than 170 leaders and volunteers in fundraising, volunteer recruitment and speaking persuasively to promote the freedom to marry in California.
* Worked closely with Equality California to assist in assembling a coalition of more than 45 national, statewide and local organizations to support a statewide public education campaign promoting the freedom to marry known as Let California Ring.
* Partnered with the Vote for Equality Project of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center in early 2009 to provide ongoing support and technical assistance for its door-to-door canvass program promoting the freedom to marry.

The Task Force Action Fund:

* Dedicated all Task Force Organizing & Training staff to work on the ground in California within the No on 8 campaign's field operation last year. The Task Force team assumed vital leadership roles by directing statewide, regional or local field offices.
* Organized the "Equality Calls" project in 2006, which recruited hundreds of volunteers across the state to call thousands of members of LGBT groups and progressive allies and educate them about the importance of the freedom to marry.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.



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