For Immediate Release
Task Force Action Fund Applauds Maine Senate's Passage of Marriage Equality Bill
WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund applauds the
Maine Senate's passage today of legislation that would extend the
freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The measure advances to the House.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
"Today's victory in Maine will resonate throughout the country as
other states continue to consider extending the freedom to marry.
Following recent marriage victories in Iowa and Vermont, today's vote
affirms the national momentum building for marriage equality. As
legislators and the public continue to debate the issue, people are
increasingly recognizing that only marriage provides same-sex couples
with the dignity, respect and protections that are bestowed by the
institution. We urge the House to now pass this critically important
"We congratulate our state partner, EqualityMaine, for its great
work to achieve this hard-fought victory. Because of EqualityMaine's
leadership, same-sex couples in Maine are one step closer to winning
the freedom to marry. The Task Force is proud of its 5-year partnership
with EqualityMaine to achieve today's victory."
Statement by Betsy Smith
Executive Director, EqualityMaine
"The Maine State Senate today took a clear stand for fairness and
equality for all Maine families. This was a difficult issue for many
legislators, but in the end it was about upholding the constitutional
value to treat everyone equally under the law. We are so proud of the
Senate for not abdicating its responsibility by carefully studying the
issue and not simply leaving it to voters to decide. Our long-term
partnership with the Task Force has directly led to our ability to
build and run a grassroots program rooted in identifying, recruiting
and training volunteers to have face-to-face conversations with their
legislators and voters. This partnership has made all the difference.
It wasn't long ago when LGBT families would not have come forward to
tell the stories of their lives to their neighbors and legislators.
This effort has made all the difference in all of our lives."
More about the Task Force's investment in Maine
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation and the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund have invested significantly in
the work of EqualityMaine to build greater political power for the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:
The Task Force Foundation has:
- Given $82,000 to launch and grow EqualityMaine's first-ever
voter identification project. The grant enabled EqualityMaine to hire
its first statewide organizer to recruit and train hundreds of
volunteers to talk with voters face to face about marriage equality and
identify voters supportive of the issue. As a result, EqualityMaine has
built a list of more than 50,000 identified supporters of the freedom
to marry, one of the largest such state lists in the country.
- Organized the Maine LGBT Power Summit in late April, which brought
together 140 leaders from across the country, including more than 70
Mainers, for training in campaign fundamentals. At the summit,
participants walked door to door and spoke with more than 1,100 voters
about marriage equality and raised more than $52,000 for their
respective state or local organizations.
- Trained more than 30 additional Maine leaders at Task Force Power
Summits in 2004-2005 to support EqualityMaine's voter identification
The Task Force Action Fund has:
- Sent organizers to work on the ground in Maine in February 2009
to launch EqualityMaine's marriage equality field program. Following
the April Power Summit, several Task Force organizers remained in Maine
to provide additional field support in the final days leading up to the
- Provided $20,000 to EqualityMaine in seed money in January 2009 to EqualityMaine to hire nine field organizers.
- Dedicated a Task Force organizer to work full time for one month in
the No on 1 campaign in 2005, which successfully defeated a referendum
that would have repealed its statewide nondiscrimination law.
- Contributed $93,000 to the No on 1 campaign.
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.