For Immediate Release
Maine Becomes the Fifth State to Grant the Freedom to Marry to Same-Sex Couples
WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund issued the
following statement after Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation
today making Maine the fifth state to grant the freedom to marry to
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
"We are thrilled with Gov. John Baldacci's thoughtful and
well-reasoned decision to sign this critical legislation. This is a
great day for Maine, and a great day for this country. With recent
marriage victories in Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, this action
affirms the national momentum building for marriage equality. From
coast to coast, people are recognizing that the fundamental protections
provided through civil marriage are a critical part of fairness and
full equality. Through debate, dialogue and careful consideration,
states are concluding that denying this basic right doesn't protect
anyone; it simply places more families in harm's way and makes them
more vulnerable to hardship.
"We thank Gov. John Baldacci and the Maine Legislature for doing the
right thing by supporting this legislation, and we congratulate our
state partner, EqualityMaine, for this hard-fought victory. Because of
EqualityMaine's leadership, same-sex couples have won the freedom to
marry in Maine. The Task Force is proud of its 5-year partnership with
EqualityMaine to achieve today's victory. We will be with them every
step of the way to ensure marriage equality is protected."
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.
- 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 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.