National Gay and Lesbian Task Force UPDATE
April 17, 2007

In the News:

Making headlines and history in Puerto Rico
Task Force: Give serial offender Don Imus the pink slip
Federal study confirms abstinence-only programs don’t work
Hate crimes bill introduced in U.S. Senate
In the states: Washington
Nearly 6,000 people respond to Task Force survey
New York Leadership Awards a huge success


   

Making headlines and history in Puerto Rico

Task Force Communications Coordinator Pedro Julio Serrano made headlines following his testimony before a commission overseeing the revision of the civil code in Puerto Rico. In a moving speech, Serrano implored the commission to support the right of same-sex couples to legally marry, and he called for transgender rights. At the April 11 hearing, Serrano (pictured, right) kissed his partner, Steven Toledo, prompting gasps by some and extensive media attention in Puerto Rico and beyond.

[ Read media coverage in Spanish and English ]
[ Read the Spanish and English versions of Serrano’s testimony ]


 

Task Force: Give serial offender Don Imus the pink slip

The Task Force last week called for the termination of radio host Don Imus from his job for his repeated on-air racist and sexist remarks. The Task Force was the only national LGBT rights organization to take this stance. He was subsequently booted from his nationally syndicated program, Imus in the Morning.

[ Read our statement ]


 

Federal study confirms abstinence-only programs don’t work

A report released April 13 and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirms that federally funded “abstinence-only” sex education programs simply do not work.

“Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been utterly wasted on ‘abstinence-only until marriage’ programs. Why? To appease a rabidly vocal minority that cares more about getting our government to promote their religious ideology than they do about the health of young people.”
— Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman

[ Read our full statement ]


 

Hate crimes bill introduced in U.S. Senate

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., applauds the April 12 introduction by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) of a transgender-inclusive federal hate crimes measure in the U.S. Senate. This year, for the first time, the Senate measure mirrors the transgender-inclusive legislation introduced in the House.

[ Read our full statement ]
[ Visit our Hate Crimes Protections Action Center ]
[ Learn more about our groundbreaking work on this issue ]


 

In the states: Washington

The Washington House passed a domestic partnership bill on April 10 that provides same-sex couples in Washington state access to critical protections. The bill, passed by the state Senate on March 1, is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The Task Force commends the tireless work of its capacity building partner, Equal Rights Washington (ERW), and supportive allies in securing this victory. Over the past two years, the Task Force has provided technical assistance, training and funding in an effort to assist ERW in strengthening its capacity and impact throughout Washington state, and we look forward to supporting ERW as it pushes on for full marriage equality.

[ Read our statement ]
[ Read ERW’s statement ]


 

Nearly 6,000 people respond to Task Force survey

The Task Force thanks all those who participated in our recent survey about our educational and training programs. We received more than 5,600 complete responses to the survey and the results are being tabulated and analyzed by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Your opinions are extremely important in helping the Task Force develop and update its educational and training programs for the 2008 Creating Change Conference and beyond.


 

New York Leadership Awards a huge success

More than 300 people turned out April 16 for the 2007 New York Leadership Awards honoring Garden State Equality Chair and CEO Steven Goldstein (pictured) and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) Goldstein was honored for his longtime leadership on LGBT issues in neighboring New Jersey, the most recent victories being the enactment of a statewide civil union law and a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law.

A running joke among New Yorkers is that the funky scents that occasionally envelop the city must have wafted over the Hudson from New Jersey. “That smell is the whiff of victory,” Goldstein half-joked. A little later, on a more serious note, he spoke passionately about his commitment to securing full-fledged marriage equality — and not settling for anything less: “When it comes to equality, good things don’t come to people who wait; good things come to those who demand equality today.”

The Rev. James A. Forbes, soon to be retired senior minister of the renowned Riverside Church in New York, accepted the Leadership Award on behalf of Rangel, who had to remain in Washington, D.C. Forbes spoke of the need for people to come together to help heal the country. “People who have experienced ostracism and demonization, if they live through it, are some of the best champions of others who have been treated this way,” he said. The event was emceed by the irrepressible Kate Clinton and featured music by David Raleigh. Please visit www.theTaskForce.org/nyla later this week for a full recap and to view our photo gallery. (Credit: Rudy K Photography)

Please be sure to join us on May 5 for our DC Leadership Awards, honoring Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Noah's Arc, the LOGO show profiling the lives of black gay men. Get tickets and information on sponsorships.




 

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