The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463 (Cell) 202.641.5592

Maine Becomes the Fifth State to Grant the Freedom to Marry to Same-Sex Couples


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
same-sex couples.

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
    Senate vote.
  • 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 LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we've made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That's why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you. Join us!