For Immediate Release
Task Force: Sen. Edward Kennedy 'Spent Life Fighting for Justice'
WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the loss of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died after battling a brain tumor. Kennedy was a champion of many progressive causes. He was a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He played a central role in enactment of legislation outlawing discrimination in housing, prohibiting gender discrimination, the Age Discrimination Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also authored amendments strengthening enforcement of key provisions of the Civil Rights Act.
Kennedy was the original sponsor of hate crimes legislation in 1997. Since then, he fought tirelessly to secure repeated successful votes on the legislation, ultimately wholeheartedly supporting and securing several successful Senate votes for the version of the legislation that included both sexual orientation and gender identity. In 1994, Kennedy was the original Senate lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and, in his later years, championed the expanded version that would protect all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
In 1996, Kennedy voted against the "Defense of Marriage Act," led opposition to a federal marriage amendment and opposed an anti-marriage measure in Massachusetts. He fought to end funding of abstinence-only education programs. Kennedy was an outspoken supporter for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and increased funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Statement by Rea Carey
Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the loss of Senator Edward Kennedy, a true champion of the people and a dear friend to our community. The senator was a hero to many across the country and around the world. He spent his life fighting for justice for working people, people of color, children, women, LGBT people, immigrants, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS and so many others who looked to his leadership for a more just society. Senator Kennedy was unmatched in his compassion and in his willingness to stand with those who often lacked a champion. Even after his death, his vision will inspire generations to work for the health, welfare and equality for all he so doggedly pursued. We offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this difficult time."
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.