Task Force History
An uncompromising voice for equality for more than three decades...
"No account of the changes in laws and public policies would be complete without attention to [the Task Force's history]. The Task Force played a critical role in the campaign to eliminate the sickness classification of homosexuality. It worked to lift the prohibition on federal civil service employment for gays and lesbians. It strove in the 1970s to make the Democratic Party responsive to the gay community. It took the lead in the 1980s in national organizing against homophobic violence. As AIDS began to devastate gay male communities, the Task Force shaped the first serious efforts in Washington to address the epidemic. It was a founding member of the Military Freedom Project, which prepared the ground for the gays-in-the-military debate of 1993. It has worked with the administrations of presidents from Carter to Clinton." — From John D'Emilio's Interpreting the NGLTF Story
December 10 – Hot on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s highly anticipated announcement that it will hear two marriage equality cases, Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey appeares on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show to talk about the history-making news.
December 7 – The U.S. Supreme Court announces it would hear a challenge to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), a 1996 law targeting same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law. Lower federal courts have previously found DOMA unconstitutional. The high court will also hear a challenge in the case of California’s Proposition 8. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has previously ruled that Prop. 8, which denies same-sex couples the freedom to marry, is unconstitutional.
December 6 – Same-sex couples in Maryland are able to apply for marriage licenses. Gov. Martin O’Malley signs the marriage referendum and official papers to open the licensing process. Maryland joins eight other states and the District of Columbia to advance marriage equality.
December 5 – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signs the state's marriage equality law as the Nov. 6 election results were certified. In November, Washington state voters approved Referendum 74, which upheld the state’s marriage equality law. The law takes effect Dec. 6, and same-sex couples can then begin obtaining marriage licenses. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force contributed staff resources and training to the marriage equality efforts in Washington.
November 7 – Voters in Washington state approve Referendum 74 allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force contributed staff resources and training to the marriage equality efforts in Washington.
“This is a tremendous victory for Washingtonians. It affirms what millions of people across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to join in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage, just as their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues already do," said Rea Carey.
November 7 – Californians vote down Prop. 34, which sought to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which has officially opposed the death penalty since 1999, contributed staff and resources to the “Yes on 34″ campaign.
November 7 – Voters in Minnesota reject a constitutional amendment that sought to ban the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a member of Minnesotans United for All Families, contributed significant staff and resources to this victory.
“This landmark victory is yet another example of the national momentum toward treating all families fairly. Congratulations to Minnesota for recognizing and affirming our common humanity by rejecting this unnecessary and unfair amendment," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
November 7 – Maryland voters pass Question 4 affirming the Maryland DREAM Act, a law passed last year that provides undocumented immigrants access to in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a longtime advocate for fair and humane comprehensive immigration reform, is proud to have worked with local groups to make the Dream ACT a reality.
Rea Carey responds: “Maryland is building brighter and more secure futures for our young people, including countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Having access to education is key to this dream. Education unlocks ideas, unleashes creativity, and grows our skills and talents. This not only benefits individual students, it makes our local communities, our states and our country stronger and more competitive."
November 7 – Maryland voters approve Question 6 granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition, worked to secure marriage equality in Maryland.
“Maryland is living up to its nickname — the Free State — by allowing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. This is a tremendous victory for Maryland, and we are thrilled for all the couples and their families who will finally be able to share in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage," said Rea Carey.
November 6 – Voters in Maine make history by being the state the first to pass a proactive ballot measure granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has a long history working in Maine, and is part of the Mainers United for Marriage coalition. The Task Force has contributed significant staff and financial resources to build for and secure the passage of Question 1.
Executive Director Rea Carey responds: “This victory is one for the history books. It marks a huge milestone not just for Maine, but for all of America."
November 6 – Task Force Director Rea Carey responds to the re-election of President Barack Obama:
“What we want is a president who recognizes our lives and families and will fight for us. President Obama has repeatedly shown he is willing to do so, and we now have another four years to keep up the momentum.
“Four years ago when Barack Obama was first elected president, we were optimistic that it marked the dawn of a new political era in the life of this country. The new administration came in promising a sea change in the national dialogue on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. In many ways, that’s exactly what’s happened. From passage of hate crime protections and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ to growing support for marriage equality and implementing new policies that treat LGBT people and our families with fairness and dignity, the last four years have been filled with monumental gains.
“We see the tremendous strides of the past four years while acknowledging much remains to be done. The president’s re-election presents us with the opportunity to keep moving forward. In the next four years, we will be vigilant in pursuing policies to ensure our community continues on the path toward equality and is not left behind. We’ll be pushing for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, ensuring that transgender people can serve openly in the military, preserving a social safety net, and continued reform of the immigration and health care systems, among other issues.
“The bottom line is that America deserves nothing less than a president who will treat all families fairly — and that’s what we have. We congratulate President Obama and his team. We look forward to working with them to build a stronger future for LGBT people and in creating opportunity for all.”
October 25 – President Obama announces his support for the marriage equality measures on the ballots in Maine, Washington and Maryland. He previously expressed his opposition to the anti-marriage constitutional amendment in Minnesota.
Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey responded: "Thank you, President Obama, for taking a stand for fairness and families. As a recent poll shows, all political candidates could greatly benefit by supporting equal rights for LGBT people. America deserves nothing less than leaders who will treat all families fairly."
October 8 – American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people, according to Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at American Indian and Alaskan Native Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. The report is released on Columbus Day as an intentional effort to highlight the specific circumstances that American Indian and Alaskan Native people experience due to a history of colonialism and genocide that continues with a federal holiday celebrating the “discovery” of America.
October 1 – The Task Force applauds California Gov. Jerry Brown for signing legislation that makes California the first state to protect LGBT minors from ‘reparative’ therapies administered by mental health professionals. The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
September 19 – The Task Force Action Fund submits testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism,” in response to ongoing hate violence, including the shooting last month at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.
In its testimony, the Task Force cites the most recent FBI statistics that revealed 6,624 hate crime incidents in 2010: 47.3 percent racially motivated, 20 percent religious, 19.3 percent sexual orientation, 12.8 percent ethnicity/national origin, and 0.6 percent disability.
September 14 – Thirty folks from across the country gather in Minneapolis for the Task Force’s first-ever “Building an Inclusive Church (BIC): Train the Trainer.” The Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources has been leading BIC trainings for years, equipping almost 1,000 folks to return to their home congregations to help lead a process which results in their congregation publicly declaring itself a truly safe and welcoming place for LGBT people.
September 7 – More than 140 House Democrats file an amicus brief against the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) to bolster litigation challenging the anti-marriage-equality law. Read more here.
The brief was filed in the case of Edith Schlain Windsor v. United States of America, which has reached the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit following a U.S. District Court ruling that a key section of DOMA is unconstitutional.
September 6 – With ballot measures on marriage in four states in November, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund team up to form United for Marriage, a national effort to recruit volunteers for the state campaigns.
August 16 – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) issues official positions supporting access to care and non-discrimination for transgender and gender variant individuals. The Task Force applauds this important statement of position, which includes a statement against discrimination in a variety of settings, including health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education and licensing.
August 15 – The Task Force signs on to a joint statement regarding the August 2012 shooting at Family Research Council (FRC) from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations.
August 13 – Following advocacy efforts by the Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Law Center and the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) releases new medical certification procedures for transgender pilots. All pilots must receive medical and psychological clearance to fly under FAA guidelines, yet transgender pilots were previously required to take an extraordinary battery of psychological tests including memory, personality, projective and intelligence tests among others. Transgender pilots were frequently grounded or lost their jobs due to the burdensome process. You can read the new requirements here.
August 6 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirms that the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex-based discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. This affirms the Task Force’s longstanding position that federal civil rights statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex include protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This means that no one can be discriminated against because of their gender identity or because of a health care provider’s stereotype about sex – what a man or a woman “ought to look like.”
August 1 – Beginning today, nearly all employer-sponsored health care plans are required to cover preventive health care services for women with no cost-sharing requirements like co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. This unprecedented shift in women’s health care is made possible by implementation of policies outlined in the Affordable Care Act.
July 23 – At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Task Force joins with UNITE HERE, NOW, the AFL-CIO, the NFL Players Association and additional progressive and LGBT organizations to speak in support of a global boycott of Hyatt hotels due to worker’s rights abuses and low wages.
Task Force Deputy Executive Director Darlene Nipper said:
"We stand here because we are workers too. And, as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – particularly those of color – we are acutely aware of what it means to be economically vulnerable. Every day, many of us fear that we may lose or be denied a job simply because of who we are or who we love, due to a lack of federal LGBT employment protections. Any abuse and discrimination of workers should never be tolerated, which is why we are here today."
July 20 – The Task Force participates in the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. From faith to advocacy to public rallies to concerts, the Task Force is there. Read more here.
July 17 – The Task Force responds to the continuing refusal by the Boy Scouts of America to change its policy of excluding gay people. A special committee of Scouts leaders made its recommendation to reaffirm this anti-gay policy and, as a consequence, the Scouts’ national executive board reportedly will not reconsider changing its membership policy to allow gay people to serve in that organization.
Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds:
“Clinging to a policy of exclusion and intolerance is hardly a good lesson for our young people. Once again, officials of the Boy Scouts of America have turned their backs on a chance to demonstrate fairness, exercise sound judgment, and serve as a role model for valuing others, free of bias and prejudice. This is deeply disappointing. Discrimination is never the right policy, period.”
July 10 – An asteroid discovered by a Canadian astronomer is named after pioneering gay rights activist Frank Kameny. He died in 2011 at the age of 86.
Kameny, a founding board member of the Task Force, was an astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service in the 1950s. He was fired from his job for being gay and contested the firing to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also led the first gay rights protests outside the White House.
July 2 – At its annual convention, the national membership of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the country’s oldest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, passes a resolution endorsing marriage equality and opposing the denial of basic civil rights or acts of discrimination toward LGBT people.
LULAC has a longstanding history of supporting LGBT rights. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and LULAC have worked together on issues related to racial and economic justice, comprehensive and humane immigration reform, LGBT rights and marriage equality, among others.
June 28 – The Task Force applauds the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Task Force advocated for the passage of the historic health care reform law.
"This ruling is a victory for millions of people – including LGBT people and our families – who don't have access to adequate, affordable health care. Health care reform is about revamping a severely broken system to help everyone get a fair shake when it comes to keeping themselves and their families healthy and out of harm's way. It is about making sure everyone has access to affordable health care when faced with injury and illness. It is based on the premise that no one get hung out to dry – to literally die in some cases – because they were denied affordable health care in one of the richest countries in the world," said Rea Carey.
June 26 – The board of directors of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, recently voted to endorse marriage equality. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and NCLR have worked together on issues related to racial and economic justice, comprehensive and humane immigration reform, LGBT rights and marriage equality, among others.
June 25 – The Task Force, a longtime advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform, responds to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down significant portions of SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. The court does, however, leave intact the racist “show me your papers” provision. The Task Force has repeatedly spoken out against the unjust law.
Executive Director Rea Carey: “This ruling spotlights the critical need for comprehensive immigration reform, and we continue to urge Congress to make it a priority. Laws that target and demonize people are not the answer; stripping people of their civil liberties and humanity is not the answer. Our political leaders must work toward reform that is fair and humane. SB 1070 was a cruel, ill-conceived idea that wasted taxpayer dollars and demeaned our country’s values of fairness and freedom.”
June 17 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force participates in End Stop & Frisk: The Silent March Against Racial Profiling. The Task Force joins the march to apply pressure on the New York Police Department and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to curtail the stop-and-frisk policy.
June 15 – The Task Force responds to the Obama administration announcement that it will stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants. The Task Force has long advocated for comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform, including the passage of the DREAM Act, which has stalled in Congress. In addition to the DREAM Act, the Task Force has been working in coalition with immigrant rights groups for immigration reform and passage of the Uniting American Families Act.
June 6 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force launches “Queer the Vote,” a campaign to educate and mobilize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights supporters in this critical and volatile election year.
May 31 - The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in a unanimous decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States that Section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This marks the first time that a circuit court has ruled the law to be unconstitutional. The court stayed the the decision pending likely appeal.
This marks another major blow against the law which the Task Force has been working to repeal through Congress by advocating for the Respect for Marriage Act.
May 19 - The board of directors of the NAACP vote to endorse marriage equality. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the NAACP have worked together on issues related to racial and economic justice, LGBT rights and marriage equality, among others. NAACP leaders Julian Bond and Ben Jealous have each also spoken at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, the largest convening of pro-LGBT rights supporters in the country.
May 17 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the Department of Justice's release of the first-ever national standards to eliminate sexual abuse in prisons, jails and other detention settings, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. And also, the White House issued a presidential memo announcing that immigration detention facilities will soon be required to issue similar regulations to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
The standards, which the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has advocated for, include specialized training for prison staff, and screenings in detention settings to help assess whether an inmate is at higher risk for being targeted for sexual abuse because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, through its New Beginning Initiative, has advocated for these humane standards. The Task Force has also been calling on federal officials to ensure that these protections apply to the hundreds of thousands of people – including many LGBT people – housed in immigration detention facilities. The presidential memorandum ensures all federal agencies with detention facilities, including the Department of Homeland Security, will issue regulations to reduce the risk of sexual violence.
May 16 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force expresses outrage at the U.S. House’s passage of an amended Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill that removes explicit protections for LGBT victims of domestic violence. It also fails to include protections found in the Senate version related to Native Americans, immigrants and college students.
The Senate approved the reauthorization of an intact and inclusive Violence Against Women Act in April with a 68 to 31 vote. The White House issued a veto threat of the House GOP version, saying it is unacceptable.
May 9 – The Task Force responds to President Obama’s history-making comments today supporting marriage for same-sex couples. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been urging the president to join the millions of Americans who already support marriage equality:
“President Obama’s ‘evolution’ is now complete. Congratulations, Mr. President, for making history today by becoming the first sitting president to explicitly support marriage for same-sex couples. Who benefits? Millions of families who now know that their country’s leader believes in fairness for all. This is a great day for America.
“We celebrate this moment and also remember that the right of loving, committed couples to get married is just one of many issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is heartening to know the president stands with our families in the pursuit of full equality, economic security and justice,” said Executive Director Rea Carey.
May 8 – North Carolina voters pass Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that limits legal unions to marriage between a man and woman and bans civil unions and domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples are already prohibited from marrying in North Carolina under state law.
“Blocking loving couples from forming legal unions like domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriage flies in the face of family values. Indeed, Amendment One defies what it means to be a family today. Many North Carolinians, including seniors, single women and children, could be placed in peril because the shrinking definition of family excludes them. Some might even be denied life-saving services like domestic violence protections. This is a brutal step backward for relationship recognition in North Carolina, " said Rea Carey.
May 6 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks on “Meet the Press” in which he said: “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”
Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey: "We welcome the clarity with which Vice President Joe Biden today stated what so many others in this country feel: marriage is marriage is marriage.
"We call upon President Obama to join Vice President Biden in clearly stating his comfort with same-sex couples getting married. Millions of people across the country and the world already support marriage equality. People from every community, faith, economic and political background know that denying marriage to loving couples and families benefits no one; it only hurts families."
April 26 – The Task Force congratulates legendary labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta on becoming a 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with labor leader Cesar Chavez in 1962. She is a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. Huerta was a keynote speaker at the Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in 2009 in Denver, Colo.
April 26 – The Task Force applauds the U.S. Senate’s passage today of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill, which for the first time includes explicit protections for LGBT survivors of domestic violence.
“To be the target of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking is terrifying and traumatic. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not immune from this violence, and their distress should not be further heightened by a lack of proper response from service providers or law enforcement. Imagine being assaulted, scared and in pain – and then being turned away from receiving basic services and care. No one should ever be subjected to such inhumane treatment," said Rea Carey.
April 24 – The Task Force applauds the opinion by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that transgender people are protected from discrimination by federal law. The EEOC found that an employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person's gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
April 23 – Genderqueer people face distinct patterns of discrimination and violence according to a new study based on the dataset gathered for Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality.
The study, A Gender Not Listed Here: Genderqueers, Gender Rebels, and OtherWise in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, examines the experiences of genderqueer individuals and others who clearly identified as neither a man nor a woman.
April 20 – President Obama announces his support for the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act, federal legislation aimed at combating anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination in our nation’s schools. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked in coalition toward passage of both these critical bills.
April 17 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund submits written testimony for a hearing on "Ending Racial Profiling in America," held by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.
The hearing examines the disturbing presence of racial profiling in law enforcement and exploring proposed solutions, including the End Racial Profiling Act and closing loopholes in the U.S. Department of Justice's racial profiling guidance.
April 2 – A coalition of national LGBT rights organizations issue an open letter that describes the killing of Trayvon Martin as a “national call to action”; urged local and federal authorities to find answers in the case that has garnered worldwide attention; and demanded justice be served.
March 28 – The Task Force mourns the loss of feminist poet Adrienne Rich, who died at the age of 82. Task Force board member Hans Johnson said of Rich "[She] was a staggering intellect, with a voice of shattering clarity. Both will echo long after her passing."
March 21 – By a 211-116 vote, the New Hampshire Republican-controlled House rejects a bill aimed at repealing the state’s existing marriage equality law.
“This is a wonderful victory for New Hampshire, which again took a stand for families. The House was right to reject efforts to turn back the clock on freedom and fairness in New Hampshire. Thank you to all the lawmakers who recognized our common humanity, and to Gov. John Lynch for his support of the freedom to marry. Congratulations to Standing Up for New Hampshire Families and to all those who worked so hard for this terrific win today,” said Rea Carey
March 13 – The city council of Ohama, Neb., passes an ordinance to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment and public accommodations with a 4-3 vote. The ordinance adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s law that already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion and marital status.
March 1 – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signs their marriage equality bill, making the state the eighth to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:
"Maryland today lived up to its state nickname, the Free State, with the signing of this historic legislation. It affirms what millions of people everywhere already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to join in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage, just as so many of their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers already do. Marriage equality is good for Maryland because it is good for Maryland’s families."
February 13 – Washington State becomes the seventh state to allow marriage for same-sex couples. Task Force board member Marsha Botzer, a Washingtonian and coordinating committee member of Washington United for Marriage, responds: “Today, I am even more proud to call Washington my home. This day comes after years of tireless work, of building capacity on the ground, of personal conversations about our lives, our families, and why marriage matters to us. The absolute, determined and unrelenting commitment to full equality and fairness by so many, including all of us at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is helping to create positive change for LGBT people within Washington state and beyond its borders.”
February 10 – The Task Force responds to the Obama administration’s announcement that it will require insurance companies, rather than employers, to provide free contraceptive services to employees at religious institutions:
“It is critical that all women have access to contraceptive services, which is vital to their overall and optimum health. Women’s health and well-being are the key concerns here. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force staunchly supports reproductive justice and freedom. The ongoing struggle for LGBT rights and reproductive freedom is a shared struggle that ultimately comes down to people’s fundamental right to control their own bodies and lives. We firmly stand with our partners in the reproductive rights community in promoting women’s health and protecting reproductive health choices,” said Rea Carey.
February 9 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces $7.5 million in grants to state and local government agencies to promote fair housing laws. As the nation’s housing agency, HUD promotes access to decent housing and a suitable living environment for all. The funds will be used to educate consumers of their rights and inform providers of their responsibilities. The Task Force applauds ongoing efforts by HUD and the Obama administration to address housing discrimination across the country, especially in light of documented cases of discrimination against LGBT people and their families.
February 7 – The California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey responds:
“The court’s ruling affirms what millions of people all across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to share in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage. People from every background and every circumstance get this; they understand because being able to marry the one you love and care for your family are shared values that strike at the very core of who we are as a people. Denying loving couples and their families something so fundamental is to deny our common humanity. Congratulations to the plaintiffs and their families. This is a great day for them, for all Californians, and for all Americans.”
January 28 – While addressing nearly 3,000 LGBT rights advocates at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announces a new HUD policy to fight discrimination against LGBT people in federally supported housing programs.
The new rules will help LGBT people and their families across the country stay in their homes, get the loans they need to buy homes, and access life-saving federal assistance programs to help get low-income people and families back on their feet.
Donovan is the first sitting Cabinet secretary in history to speak at Creating Change. Watch the speech:
January 27 – National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey presents the annual “State of the LGBT Movement” address at the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, in Baltimore, Md., where nearly 3,000 LGBT rights advocates gather to strategize and mobilize to advance LGBT equality and social justice. Watch the full speech:
January 12 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases a summary update of actions it has taken to promote the health and well-being of LGBT people throughout HHS programs and activities. The update includes a sampling of some of the high-profile actions taken by HHS through 2011, including issuing federal regulations ensuring equal hospital visitation rights; guidance to states to ensure a same-sex partner’s assets are not taken by the state when the partner enters a long-term care facility; and development of LGBT data collection questions for the National Health Interview Survey, which will provide critical data about LGBT health needs.
December 6 – The Task Force celebrates new victories in the area of nondiscrimination protections for transgender people:
- The Howard County Council votes to make Howard County, Md., the third jurisdiction in Maryland to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. With the passage of this ordinance, one-third of Maryland’s population is now covered by gender identity and expression-inclusive legislation.
- Columbia, Mo., becomes the sixth local jurisdiction in Missouri to ban discrimination based on gender identity. The six-member City Council voted unanimously to include gender identity protections in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
- The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Ga., unanimously upholds a lower court opinion holding that the Georgia General Assembly illegally discriminated against Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman. Vandy Beth was fired from a job she held for two years after informing her supervisor that she planned to transition from male to female. The court sided with Vandy Beth, stating, “All persons, whether transgender or not, are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender stereotype.”
December 6 – The Task Force joins with its international partner, the Council for Global Equality, in applauding President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their outspoken commitment to ending abuses and discrimination against LGBT people worldwide. The White House issued a presidential memorandum directing all federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT people.
Shortly afterward, Clinton made a historic human rights speech commemorating International Human Rights Day delivered at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The secretary made it clear that the fair and equal treatment of LGBT people worldwide is a moral imperative, and a priority and legitimate concern in U.S. foreign policy. She called upon all governments to respect the human rights of their LGBT citizens.
December 5 – Latino and Latina transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Latino/a Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
This report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is a supplement to the groundbreaking national study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was published in February and revealed widespread discrimination experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people across the board.
November 28 – The Task Force responds to the announcement by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that he will not seek re-election in 2012. Frank was first elected to Massachusetts 4th Congressional District in 1980 and came out publicly as gay in 1987. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and its former chairman, making him one of the most influential gay leaders in America.
“Barney Frank is one of a kind. He has brought his own brand of brashness, boldness, unmatched wit, discipline and skill to Capitol Hill, at times ingratiating and infuriating friend and foe alike. We thank him for his years of service. As an openly gay member of Congress for nearly a quarter century, Barney Frank has made his mark on history. Yet his legacy is much more than that — for 30 years, he has dedicated himself to bettering the lives of the people he serves, and the country he serves. His voice — often loud and uncompromising — will be missed by many, including me,” said Rea Carey.
November 16 – The Task Force applauds the Massachusetts legislature's passage of a bill banning discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, insurance, mortgage loans and credit. The measure also includes protections under the state's hate crimes law, but does not contain protections related to public accommodations.
November 8 – Residents of Traverse City, Mich., vote to retain the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which includes explicit protections for LGBT people. The city voted to keep the ordinance by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. The Task Force provided staff and financial support leading to this victory.
“The people of Traverse City have sent a clear message that they value their LGBT friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members and don’t want to see them left vulnerable to discrimination. This victory creates a stronger and more welcoming city not only for LGBT people and their families, but for everyone. We were proud to have partnered with Traverse City Equality in the nation’s only LGBT-specific ballot measure campaign this election. This is a victory for Traverse City and for our common humanity,” said Rea Carey.
October 11 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the death of Frank Kameny, 86, a pioneering and legendary gay activist and founding board member of the Task Force. Kameny — known for coining the phrase "Gay is Good" received a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Task Force in 2006 for his decades of courageous activism on the front lines of the LGBT liberation movement.
October 10 – California Gov. Jerry Brown has signs two important transgender rights measures into law. The Gender Non-Discrimination Act clarifies existing California law by listing "gender identity or expression" alongside other protected characteristics throughout the various discrimination statutes.
The Vital Statistics Modernization Act streamlines the existing process for making a petition for a court order recognizing a change of gender and obtaining an updated birth certificate, bringing state vital statistics law in line with federal standards.
October 7 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the passing of Paula L. Ettelbrick, a lifelong activist for LGBT rights and former Task Force family policy director, who died of cancer. The Task Force honors and remembers Paula's significant contributions to our movement.
September 27 – The U.S. Census Bureau releases its new estimates of the number of households headed by same-sex couples in the United States, including the number of couples identifying as married. The 2010 census marked the first time the Census Bureau tracked information about same-sex spouses. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force played a key role in getting the U.S. Census Bureau to report the number of married same-sex couples in the 2010 census, and continues to work with policymakers to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are included in a broad swath of federal surveys and data collection.
September 20 – Repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell" ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members takes effect.
"While we observe this tremendous, hard-fought victory for lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, we recognize the journey is not over. Transgender service members are still being forced to serve in silence. This is unacceptable. All qualified, patriotic Americans willing to risk their lives for this country should be able to do so free from discrimination. In addition, the military still lacks explicit nondiscrimination protections, equal benefits and an inclusive equal opportunity policy for LGBT people. We will continue to work toward the day when full inclusion is a reality in the military," said Rea Carey.
September 16 – Black transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
This report by the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a supplement to the groundbreaking national study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was published in February 2011 and revealed widespread discrimination experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people across the board.
September 7 – The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) unveils new guidance to bolster enforcement of rules finalized last November that allow hospital patients to designate their own visitors and medical decision-makers, including a same-sex partner and child of a same-sex partner. Those rules, which were finalized last fall by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, apply to all hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The guidelines require hospitals to allow patients to designate visitors and medical decision-makers of their own choice, including same-sex partners, parents and children regardless of whether the relationship is formally recognized.
August 18 – The Obama administration announces that it will conduct case-by-case reviews of roughly 300,000 current deportation cases. These reviews will allow the government to expedite high priority cases involving criminals or individuals who pose a threat to national security. They may also provide relief for bi-national same-sex couples, since it will slow down or dismiss the deportation process for individuals with low priority.
August 4 – The policymaking body of the American Psychological Association (APA) unanimously passed a resolution supporting full marriage equality for same-sex couples. The vote was 157-0. The APA is the world’s largest organization of psychologists. The APA is among a large and ever-growing chorus that realizes marriage inequality is not only unfair, it literally places families in harm’s way.
August 1 – The Task Force applauds the Department of Health and Human Services’ announcement regarding the requirement for expanded coverage of women’s preventive services in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The guidelines, issued under the authority of Health Care Reform law, will require new health plans to include certain preventive services with no deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance by August 2012. Among the covered services are counseling for sexually transmitted infections, contraception, domestic violence counseling and screening, HIV counseling and screening and well-woman visits. The recommendations were developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, which relied on physicians, nurses, scientists and other experts to make these determinations based on scientific evidence.
July 26 – The U.S. Department of Labor releases results of the National Compensation Survey, which for the first time includes federal data on domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples. The information will help provide a more complete picture of how employers treat same-sex couples with respect to benefits. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force welcomes the inclusion of same-sex couples in federal data collection as a step toward better understanding the needs of LGBT people across the country.
July 24 – Same-sex couples begin marrying in New York. The Task Force extends its congratulations to all the same-sex couples who will be tying the knot in the Empire State. "Today the doors of marriage equality swing open in New York. It’s no surprise a flood of same-sex couples is expected to flow through. Some have literally waited decades for this historic moment. We are thrilled for the couples who will marry today, tomorrow, the next day, and beyond. To finally be able to share and celebrate one’s love and commitment legally and publicly is a lifelong dream for many couples and families. Until you have walked in the shoes of someone who has been denied this fundamental freedom – a rite that bonds us as a people – it is hard to comprehend just how profoundly moving this moment is. Today is a day to rejoice and celebrate," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
July 22 – The Task Force responds to the certification of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal by President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Executive Director Rea Carey: "Today marks the final critical strike against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,’ a policy whose demise can’t come fast enough. Eighteen years of witch hunts under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' have cost thousands of exemplary service members their careers, once again proving there are very personal and costly consequences of discrimination. People from every background, every faith, every community across the country know that qualified, patriotic Americans willing to risk their lives by serving in the military should be able to do so free from discrimination. They know our entire country benefits when fairness prevails, when service members no longer have to fear being targeted by their own government, when courageous men and women are able to serve openly and honestly. We again thank all those who fought for and supported an end to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' – they truly are on the right side of history."
July 19 – The Task Force applauds the White House's announcement that President Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal recognition to legally married same-sex couples. The announcement comes on the eve of the first-ever U.S. Senate hearing to repeal DOMA: "President Obama did the right thing today by announcing his support of the Respect for Marriage Act. In doing so, he joins the large and growing chorus urging for an end to DOMA, a discriminatory, unjust and far-reaching law. There is no sound defense of the indefensible DOMA, which singles out and selectively denies fundamental rights to legally married same-sex couples. We thank the president for his support on the eve of the historic congressional hearing to repeal DOMA. We thank him and the many House and Senate members who recognize that DOMA has no place on the books and support its full, swift repeal. DOMA has only served to belittle our country’s deeply held values of freedom and fairness. It has only served to hurt families, not help. This must end now," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
July 14 – California Gov. Jerry Brown signs the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act, which ensures the historical contributions of LGBT people and disabled individuals are accurately portrayed in instructional educational materials in the state.
July 6 – The Task Force responds to the ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States by a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to re-institute an injunction barring the military from enforcing the ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.
The opinion cites the Obama administration's February 2011 decision to subject classifications based on sexual orientation to "heightened scrutiny." The ruling comes on the heels of a brief filed by the Department of Justice that reinforced its position that "gay and lesbian individuals have suffered a long and significant history of purposeful discrimination," leaving the defenders of the policy unable to "satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay."
"After nearly two decades of this discriminatory policy and thousands of discharged American troops, it's time to end this unjust policy once and for all. Today's ruling is yet another strike against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Nearly 80 percent of Americans say 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should end. They know it’s wrong and nonsensical to discriminate against patriotic people willing to risk their lives by serving in the military. They know it’s unfair that qualified service members have been drummed out of the military because of bias. It is a mark of shame that this policy remains in place. Let’s do away with 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' now," said Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.
July 6 – Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy signs legislation barring discrimination based on gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and all other laws under the jurisdiction of the state's Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Connecticut becomes the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, with clear protections for transgender people in its statewide nondiscrimination laws. Task Force staff has assisted with this legislation over the past several years, including traveling to Connecticut to conduct training and assisting with legal analysis of the bill language and proposed amendments.
June 23 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announces this year's donation of $200,000 to The Miami Foundation's GLBT Community Projects Fund at a reception at Bacardi USA's national headquarters in Miami. Nearly 200 supporters, volunteers, charity representatives and VIPs attended. The donation represents two-thirds of the net proceeds from the 2011 Winter Party Festival and the 14th Annual Recognition Dinner. The remainder of the proceeds will go to the Task Force's efforts to achieve LGBT equality throughout the U.S.
June 27 – The American Medical Association (AMA) adopts a policy position declaring that excluding same-sex couples from marriage is "discriminatory" and reaffirming existing AMA policy to support relationship recognition of same-sex couples as a means of addressing health disparities faced by those couples and their families.
"Marriage inequality is not only unfair, it literally places families in harm's way. Right now, all across this country, same-sex couples and their children are needlessly being put at risk because they are denied the freedom to marry. They are vulnerable to greater health disparities because they are blocked from important protections and benefits afforded through civil marriage, including access to health insurance and federal survivor benefits. No family should have to suffer because of discrimination. We thank the AMA for recognizing and responding to this critical issue," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
June 24 – The Task Force hails the New York Senate's passage of legislation granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the Empire State. "This is a profoundly moving and historic moment for New York. To finally be able to share and celebrate one's love and commitment both publicly and legally is a lifelong dream for tens of thousands of same-sex couples and their families. This vote affirms our common humanity. It means same-sex couples will no longer have to cross state lines to marry. It means New York lives up to its reputation as a national leader. It honors New York’s unique history as being the place where the modern gay rights movement sprang to life 42 years ago this month at the Stonewall Inn in New York City — a place where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people stood up and fought back for their dignity and rightful place in society. This vote honors the spirit of all those who refused to settle for second-class status," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
June 17 – The Task Force hails the UN Human Rights Council's adoption of a groundbreaking resolution addressing acts of violence and discrimination against LGBT people. It is the first official UN resolution to focus exclusively on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. It is also the first time gender identity has been included in such a formal UN text.
June 6 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the Connecticut Senate's approval of a bill barring discrimination based on gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and all other laws under the jurisdiction of the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
June 2 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for signing three transgender nondiscrimination bills. The new laws prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or expression. Nevada becomes the 14th state with clear protections for gender identity in its statewide nondiscrimination laws. More than 130 local jurisdictions also have this coverage, meaning that now 42 percent of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction with one of these laws.
May 23 – The Nevada Assembly passes two bills prohibiting discrimination in housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or expression. The Task Force has been working with the Las Vegas-based staff of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) to pass protections for transgender Nevadans. This includes sending organizers from the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action to assist and train local activists there, as well as providing monetary support.
May 22 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force denounces the Minnesota House's passage of a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at denying marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families. The vote was 70 to 62. The Senate previously approved the measure, which now heads to a statewide ballot in 2012. According to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, the majority of Minnesotans oppose amending the state Constitution to ban marriage equality.
May 17 – The Nevada Legislature passes legislation prohibiting employment discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working with the Las Vegas-based staff of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) to pass these protections for transgender Nevadans. This includes sending organizers from the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action to assist and train local activists there, as well as providing monetary support.
May 16 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) sponsor a Capitol Hill briefing on key findings from the Task Force and NCTE's groundbreaking new report, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. The briefing was held on behalf of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
The study is the largest ever done on the prevalence of discrimination against transgender people. It reveals that transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice in many places, including in school systems that promise to shelter and educate; in harsh and exclusionary workplaces; at the grocery store, at the hotel front desk, in doctors' offices and at emergency rooms, among other settings. Transgender people of color generally experienced the highest rates of discrimination in all areas of life.
May 11 – Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signs legislation that makes Delaware the eighth state to allow civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.
Rea Carey responds: "he governor's signature on this legislation moves same-sex couples in Delaware closer to equality. It will help ensure loving, committed couples have access to important rights, protections and security currently afforded other families. Let's be clear, it is not a substitute for full legal marriage, but it provides fundamental security for same-sex couples that will allow them to take care of each other and their families. This is reason to celebrate. We congratulate Equality Delaware on this victory and the many fair-minded people who advocated and fought for this bill. We thank the governor and legislators who supported this effort. This new law will have a very meaningful impact on the lives of thousands of Delaware families."
May 10 – The Task Force and its Institute for Welcoming Resources congratulate the Presbyterian Church (USA), which crosses a historic threshold to eliminate official barriers to the ordination of LGBT people as ministers and lay leaders in the 2.4 million-member denomination. Twin Cities Presbyterians becomes the 87th Presbytery, a regional governing body for the denomination, to vote to ratify this constitutional amendment giving the denomination the majority of votes needed to approve this landmark change.
April 28 – The U.S. Department of Labor announces changes to its equal employment statement, including the addition of gender identity as a protected category. The policy, while internal to the Department of Labor, will apply to all hiring, promotion and disciplinary practices for employees of the agency. The change is made in part through the advocacy of the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of 26 organizations convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The New Beginning Initiative advocates for federal policy that is more friendly toward LGBT people and their families.
April 27 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey sends a letter to James Skinner, McDonald’s CEO, deploring the recent attack on Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman, at a McDonald's in Maryland. Carey called upon the company to take several steps to provide a safe environment to all customers, including transgender and gender non-conforming people. She urged "that McDonald’s corporate leadership become much more actively involved in efforts to ensure that such an attack never occur again at one of your stores."
April 21 – The New York Times remembers Dr. Alfred Freedman, who passed away at the age of 94. Dr. Freedman was president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1973 when the organization took the historic step declaring that homosexuality was not a mental illness. Sue Hyde, director of Creating Change, called the APA's change "the single most important event in the history of what would become the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement."
April 11 – The Task Force expresses disappointment in the Maryland Senate's failure to pass the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and credit. The Senate voted to recommit the bill to committee. The House previously passed the bill in an 86-52 vote.
April 7 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey sends a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal urging him to stop discriminatory bills from becoming law. The trio of legislative proposals would criminalize and harm residents of Georgia by infringing on civil liberties, launching racial profiling campaigns, and instigating harassment of persons who are suspected of residing in the United States without immigration documentation. These proposals would usher in an era of social exclusion and ostracism of more than 450,000 of your residents, the vast majority of whom seek to make a better life for themselves and their families.
April 1 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces a series of actions designed to improve the health and well-being of LGBT people. The changes are in response to an April 2010 request from President Obama to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for suggestions on how HHS could improve the lives of LGBT people.
The new initiatives will help address the many health disparities facing the LGBT community and explicitly extend nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity covering HHS programs. The changes will also include Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines for ways in which the states can expand benefits for LGBT families in existing programs, and an annual report from an HHS committee on LGBT health issues.
March 31 – The Task Force praises the release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. The report is a valuable voice in a growing body of research and professional opinions that the health needs of LGBT people in the United States are not being met under current programs. The IOM report serves as an important reminder of why data collection on the community and programs tailored to the specific needs of LGBT people are critical. Task Force staff submitted testimony to the IOM on Injustice at Every Turn, a groundbreaking report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality that detailed discrimination encountered by transgender people in the United States, including many barriers to better health and access to health care.
March 16 – The Task Force applauds the introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act, landmark legislation to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that targets legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them critical federal responsibilities and rights. U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and John Conyers (D-Mich.) announce the bill's reintroduction in the House. And, for the first time, the legislation has been introduced in the Senate where it is championed by lead sponsors Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
February 23 – Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs legislation granting same-sex couples in civil unions the rights and responsibilities afforded to Hawaii’s married couples under state law. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey calls it "an important victory for loving, committed couples who want nothing more than the rights and security afforded other families."
February 17 – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick issues two executive orders, numbers 526 and 527, which extend nondiscrimination protections to state employees on the basis of gender identity and expression, and apply to all state agencies and programs, as well as businesses that contract with the state. The Task Force provided technical assistance to Massachusetts Equality and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition in their effort to secure this order.
February 4 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) release a comprehensive new report, "Injustice at Every Turn," revealing the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in a wide range of areas, including education, health care, employment, and housing. The study, based on the results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), is based on responses from over 6,450 participants. The NTDS is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date.
February 4 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey presents the annual State of the Movement address today at the 23rd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, in Minneapolis, Minn., where more than 2,000 LGBT rights advocates have gathered to strategize on how to advance LGBT equality.
January 20 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces proposed housing-related regulatory changes explicitly protecting LGBT people. Data from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality's survey on transgender discrimination in the United States was cited as evidence demonstrating the dire need for housing protections for the transgender community.
The new rules would provide definitions for sexual orientation and gender identity for HUD programs and services; prohibit the owners or landlords of housing that is either HUD-assisted or HUD-insured from asking an applicant about sexual orientation or gender identity; prevent lenders of a mortgage insured by HUD from discriminating based on the real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of applicants; and make clear that participation in HUD-supported housing programs like the Section 8 voucher program is available to LGBT families who meet other qualification requirements.
January 18 – Federal regulations on hospital visitation that protect same-sex couples in hospital settings across the country take effect. The new regulations apply to all hospitals receiving funds from the federal government under the Medicaid and Medicare programs for the needy and elderly. Under the regulations, hospitals may not place any restrictions on visitation based on sexual orientation. In addition, the hospitals must inform each patient of his or her right to receive visitors designated by the patient, "including, but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member or a friend." Any hospital found to violate the new rules risks losing a major source of revenue.
January 8 – The Task Force's Rea Carey responds to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and several others at an event in Arizona: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and all the victims of today’s horrific attack. We offer our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones in this devastating shooting, and hope for full recoveries for those injured. This is a tragic day for our country."
June 22 – The Task Force calls the extension of Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to same-sex parents "fair and humane." These parents, who previously had to fight legal battles to have the right to care for their sick or newborn children, can now focus on their families without fear of losing their jobs. Under the FMLA, parents are able to take leave for up to 12 weeks to care for a sick or newborn child. The new interpretation expands those terms to include parents who are not legally or biologically related to the child. This change will help parents across the country in states like Arizona, Texas and Virginia that do not allow second-parent adoption and limit same-sex couples' ability to care for their families.
June 11 – The Task Force expresses anger and deep disappointment in the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability’s vote against recommending the Food and Drug Administration lift its lifetime ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man since 1977. It is estimated that 219,000 more pints of blood could be available annually if the blanket ban was lifted. "This decision is outrageous, irresponsible and archaic. We expect more out of this advisory committee and this administration than to uphold an unnecessarily discriminatory policy from another era," said Rea Carey.
June 10 – The Task Force commends the State Department for a new policy change that allows transgender people to adjust their passports to reflect their new gender upon certification from their medical doctor that they have received appropriate clinical treatment. The new standard recognizes that treatment related to gender identity should be based on what an individual needs. This update also brings passport policies up to par with many other transgender-friendly state policies that apply to driver's licenses and other forms of identification.
June 7 – The Task Force and more than 20 LGBT equality groups and allies issue a joint statement against Arizona's discriminatory immigration law S.B. 1070: "S.B. 1070 takes the state down a path that will lead to racial profiling, discrimination and anti-immigrant extremism. We stand in solidarity with other individuals, organizations and local governments in rejecting the misrepresentation of immigrants put forth in this unjust and ill-conceived measure."
May 27 – The Task Force responds to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee’s and U.S. House’s vote to include repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military ban as part of the Department of Defense authorization bill: "Today's vote marks a critical step toward closing a shameful chapter in our nation's history, and toward creating a path that could end in men and women being able to serve openly, honestly, and to great benefit of our country … While this is an important step toward ending an unjust law, we continue to call for clear assurances of protection, a specific timeline for repeal implementation, and an immediate halt to the discharges. The lives and livelihoods of dedicated service members hang in the balance," said Rea Carey.
May 18 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey participates at a press conference where LGBT rights advocates demanded immediate action in both the House and Senate on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a federal bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
May 12 – The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the Task Force, holds its semi-annual meeting in Puerto Rico to support the local struggle for LGBT equality.
April 26 – The Task Force, a longtime advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform, calls Arizona’s new immigration law "draconian and inhumane." Under the measure, signed into law, police officers can question people about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" they may be in the country undocumented.
April 27 – The Bishops and Elders Council of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force holds a noontime vigil to support Ugandan LGBT people. Uganda is considering the proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Bill," which would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death. Leaders from across the world have expressed outrage at this measure.
April 22 – The Task Force and Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) convene a National LGBT Aging Roundtable in Washington, D.C. In addition, the Task Force has organizes a congressional briefing on issues facing LGBT people as they age.
April 15 –President Obama issues a memorandum that instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prohibit hospitals from denying visitation rights to same-sex partners, and allow same-sex couples to share medical power of attorney. The new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding. Rea Carey responds: "With this action, the government is taking a significant step toward recognizing our underlying humanity. Most people in this country already agree that no one should be left alone to die or be denied the right to see their loved ones in the hospital due to cruel and discriminatory bias … We are pleased the administration has taken this step."
April 14 – The Task Force's Policy Institute releases a paper, How Big is the LGBT Community? Why Can’t I Find This Number?, exploring the question of the estimated size of the LGBT community, placing it at 5-10% of the general population.
April 12 – The Force affirms the American Psychiatric Association's refutation of "gender identity disorder" in favor of "gender incongruence," but calls for the removal of "transvestic disorder" and expresses concerns about other proposed revisions to the upcoming 5th edition of the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
April 11 – The Task Force and an energized crowd of hundreds rally at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and march more than a mile to the Social Security Administration office in Hollywood to demand an end to the unconscionable discrimination that deprives same-sex couple taxpayers of more than $120 million in Social Security benefits every year. Same-sex couples pay into the Social Security system, but are denied benefits when a partner dies, including retirement benefits, survivor benefits and disability insurance. Since 2000, these benefits have totaled more than $2 billion.
March 25 – Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces changes aimed at easing enforcement of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, which bans openly lesbian, gay and bisexual people from serving openly in the military. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey responds: "While this announcement today by Secretary Gates is welcomed, it still falls painfully short of the real, substantive action that is needed to put an end to the immoral and unnecessary 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy once and for all."
March 23 – The Task Force calls the March 23 signing of federal health care reform legislation a historic step forward. The law includes language to prohibit discrimination in some funding for federal public health programs; allocates $8.5 billion in funds for community health centers; prohibits exclusion on the basis of pre-existing conditions; and improves data collection on health disparities. These will mark significant changes for all Americans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
March 21 – The Task Force, a longtime advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform, joins thousands of people from across the country for the March 21 rally on the nation's capital to demand Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. The Task Force was an official endorser of the March for America and marched behind its banner at the event.
March 11 – Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey calls on federal lawmakers to amend the Fair Housing Act to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Carey makes the remarks in her testimony at the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing, "Protecting the American Dream: A Look at the Fair Housing Act." The Task Force was the only LGBT rights group presenting oral testimony at the historic hearing.
March 9 – Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey is among the progressive leaders speaking at a large protest outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C., where America's Health Insurance Plans — the health insurance lobbying group — is holding its annual policy conference. The Task Force Action Fund is the only LGBT rights organization officially participating in the protest organized by Health Care for America Now, the nation's largest health care campaign designed to stress the urgent need for health insurance reform. More than 50 major labor, organizational, and religious leaders teamed up with survivors of health insurance industry abuse leading the crowd in protest.
Watch this short clip of Rea Carey at the March 9 rally:
March 3 – Legislation to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members is introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), along with 11 other co-sponsors.
March 3 –Same-sex couples begin applying for marriage licenses in the District of Columbia. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act was passed in the fall of 2009 by an overwhelming majority of the D.C. Council before Mayor Adrian Fenty signs the measure into law in mid-December. D.C. joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa and New Hampshire in extending full marriage equality to same-sex couples.
February 24 – Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler issues a legal opinion that states that marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into in other jurisdictions may be honored and recognized by state agencies.
February 5 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey presents the annual State of the Movement address at the 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, in Dallas, Texas, where more than 2,000 LGBT rights advocates gather to strategize on how to advance LGBT equality. Watch the full speech below or read the complete transcript here.
February 4 – Faith leaders from around the country lead an American Prayer Hour event at the 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, where they prayed together for peace and served as witness to the inhumanity of Uganda's proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Bill." The gathering was one of several similar events nationwide where faith leaders highlighted the connection between this morning's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and the Uganda bill that seeks to make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death.
January 27 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey responds to President Obama's State of the Union speech: "President Obama tonight vowed this year to work with Congress and the military to finally repeal the reprehensible ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. While we know the State of the Union speech aims to present broad visions, the next time President Obama speaks to or about our community, he must provide a concrete blueprint for his leadership and action moving forward — this includes his willingness to stop the discharges happening on his watch until Congress can fulfill its responsibility to overturn the law. The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight."
January 14 – The Task Force calls on the Obama administration and Congress to press for the full withdrawal of Uganda's proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Bill," which would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death.
January 7 – The Task Force responds to the New Jersey Senate's failure today to pass a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry. "The New Jersey Legislature has let down the state and the nation by failing to uphold the promise of equality and the state Constitution's demand that same-sex couples be treated equally. Denying this fundamental freedom to the people of New Jersey — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families — doesn't protect anyone," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
January 6 – The Task Force welcomes the Obama administration's inclusion of language on the federal jobs Web site that explicitly bans employment discrimination based on gender identity. While calling the action a step in the right direction, the Task Force urges Congress to pass the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
December 16 – New York Gov. David Paterson signs an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression for state employees. "New York and the rest of the country benefit when good, competent workers are allowed to do their jobs free from discrimination. The governor's action today will help ensure this happens. People should be judged on their performance, not their gender identity or expression, period. We thank Governor Paterson for this important advance," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
December 15 – The D.C. Council overwhelmingly approves legislation extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. This outcome follows a similarly decisive council vote earlier in December. Earlier in 2009, the Task Force supported the effort by bringing a team of local leaders to the Task Force’s Maine LGBT Power Summit. The D.C. leaders received intensive training in the core skills critical for building robust grassroots lobbying campaigns.
November 23 – The Task Force and SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) jointly release Outing Age 2010: Public Policy Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Elders, an update to the groundbreaking Outing Age report issued in 2000. Like its predecessor, Outing Age 2010 presents an in-depth look at public policy issues and challenges facing millions of aging LGBT people in the United States.
November 18 – The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passes the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009. The Task Force Action Fund submitted testimony supporting this bill earlier this year. The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act would provide domestic partner benefits for federal employees and their same-sex partners. These benefits include federal health insurance; retirement and disability benefits; family, medical and emergency leave; and compensation for work injuries. The bill would also ensure that employees' same-sex domestic partners are subject to the same ethics regulations that currently govern federal employees' opposite-sex spouses.
November 17 – The Task Force condemns the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López, a 19-year-old gay man in Puerto Rico, in a possible hate crime. A suspect has reportedly been arrested. "This horrendous killing of a young gay man shows no compassion or respect for the dignity of a human life. As someone who grew up in Puerto Rico and has been very active in its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, this is a heart-wrenching moment. Our hearts and sympathies go out to all of Jorge Steven López's loved ones at this difficult time. Justice must prevail," said Task Force Communications Manager Pedro Julio Serrano.
November 10 – The American Medical Association (AMA) votes to join efforts to end the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy and officially recognized that bans on civil marriage may lead to health care disparities for same-sex couples and their families.
November 5 – Voters in Washington state approve Referendum 71, which preserves expanded domestic partner protections for same-sex couples and unmarried senior couples. The Force Action Fund committed financial and staff resources contributing to this victory. It supported Washington Families Standing Together with a $10,000 contribution to underwrite the hiring of a statewide field director, provided advice and expertise to develop campaign and field plans, and sent a senior organizer to train the campaign field team.
November 4 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force expresses deep disappointment in the passage of Question 1, which repeals a law granting same-sex couples the right to marry in Maine. "This heartbreaking defeat in Maine unfortunately shows that lies and fear can still win at the ballot box. Yet despite this setback, the tide clearly is turning nationwide in favor of marriage equality. We are confident that Maine will again join the growing number of states that extend the essential security and legal protections of marriage to all loving, committed couples," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
November 3 – Voters in Kalamazoo, Mich., pass Ordinance 1856, which bans discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations. The Task Force contributed to the victory through staff and financial support provided to One Kalamazoo, the locally-driven, grassroots campaign that defended the nondiscrimination protections. The Task Force Action Fund supported One Kalamazoo with a $10,000 contribution and dispatched Task Force organizers to work on the field operations, including an organizer who served as the field director. The Task Force organized the Kalamazoo Power Summit that trained local leaders in grassroots organizing, and provided ongoing advice and consultation to the One Kalamazoo campaign.
October 28 – President Obama signs federal hate crimes legislation into law. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act helps protect people against violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, gender, national origin, and disability by extending the federal hate crimes statute. It will provide critical federal resources to state and local agencies to equip local officers with the tools they need to prosecute hate crimes. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey attends the commemorative event at the White House.
October 21 – The Task Force applauds the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that it will explicitly include LGBT people in regulatory and policy changes pertaining to housing and homeownership. HUD's mission is to increase home ownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.
October 11 – Task Force staff, members and supporters participate at the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., with speeches at the official rally by current board members and a past executive director, as well as a training on grassroots organizing to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The March also serves as the kickoff for the Task Force's Queer the Census public education campaign, which spotlights the importance of LGBT people filling out the 2010 census, and advocates for the inclusion of LGBT lives in other federal surveys as well.
September 15 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds introduction of the "Respect for Marriage Act," which would repeal the "Defense of Marriage Act," a 1996 law requiring the federal government to single out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying those couples more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities that otherwise apply to married couples. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey speaks at the press conference announcing the introduction of the "Respect for Marriage Act."
August 26 – The 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.
August 22 – The Task Force, in collaboration with One Kalamazoo, hold the Kalamazoo LGBT Power Summit, a three-day intensive campaign training for LGBT rights activists. With just 10 weeks remaining before Election Day, the Power Summit grew the ability of One Kalamazoo's field operation to build the larger volunteer team necessary for talking with voters face to face at the scale needed to win in November.
August 14 – The Task Force responds to news reports stating that Focus on the Family will be closing down its controversial “Love Won Out” program because of budget troubles. The "Love Won Out" program claimed to “change” the sexual orientation of gay people.
"The decision by Focus on the Family to drop this pointless and offensive program exposes a failed anti-LGBT agenda that has harmed countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, often driving a wedge between faith traditions and living honestly and openly. The Task Force is gratified that the perniciousness of 'Love Won Out' programs has finally been revealed and that the truth of the central importance of self-determination and family acceptance has prevailed," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
August 6 – The Task Force applauds the American Psychological Association's (APA) resolution, adopted at the organization's annual convention, which states that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
August 6 – The Task Force is encouraged by the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States. During the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sotomayor said she would consider, with a "completely open mind," the issue of marriage equality within the context of the case that might come before her.
August 5 – The Task Force stands with its international and national partners in condemning the deadly August 1 shooting in Tel Aviv at an LGBT gathering space that claimed the lives of two people and wounded many others. The Task Force is a member of the Council for Global Equality — a coalition of 14 leading advocacy organizations working together to promote human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and abroad — which sent a letter expressing condolences to and solidarity with the LGBT community in Israel. The Task Force co-sponsors a vigil in New York City that evening.
July 31 – The Task Force was on hand for the official announcement by the U.S. Commerce Department that the U.S. Census Bureau would report married same-sex couples in the 2010 census. The Task Force played a key role in getting the U.S. Census Bureau to report the number of married same-sex couples, which has never been done before and reverses an earlier decision made under the Bush administration. While the policy reversal decision was made public June 20, July 31 marks the official announcement of that change. Click here to read about the work that won this victory.
July 30 – The Task Force applauds the inclusion of two extraordinary gay and lesbian leaders — the late Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King — in the White House's list of recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award, the nation's highest civilian honor, is bestowed upon individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
July 20 – The Task Force Action Fund urges for removal of a death penalty amendment from the Department of Defense authorization bill. The U.S. Senate's approval of the amendment would expand the federal death penalty as part of the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill. The Senate approved inclusive hate crimes provisions as part of the DOD bill on July 16.
July 17 – The Task Force responds to the verdict against Dwight DeLee, who was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime, for the fatal shooting of Lateisha Green, a 22-year-old African-American transgender woman. On Nov. 14, 2008, Green was shot and killed outside a house party in Syracuse, N.Y.
"This verdict sends a strong message that hate violence will not be condoned. How many more like Lateisha Green must spill blood before our society says no to harassment, no to discrimination and no to violence against transgender people? … While no verdict will bring Lateisha Green back, justice was served today," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
July 16 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds the U.S. Senate’s approval of an inclusive hate crimes amendment, as part of the Department of Defense authorization bill. Hate crimes legislation cleared the House in April 2009 with a vote of 249 to 175. The Task Force has been a leader in the effort to secure an effective and full government response to hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, beginning with the launch of its groundbreaking anti-violence project in 1982. Get more details here.
July 14 – The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the Task Force, applauds the Episcopal Church House of Bishops decision to open "any ordained ministry" to gay and lesbian clergy. The resolution was passed by the House of Bishops on July 13, while a similar measure was passed on July 12 by the House of Deputies, the other Episcopal legislative body.
July 7 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds implementation of a landmark District of Columbia (D.C.) law that gives legal recognition to marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions. The law, the Jury and Marriage Act of 2009, passed on a 12-1 vote in the District City Council on May 5. It immediately provides to married same-sex couples residing in D.C. over 200 obligations, benefits and rights under local law.
June 30 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey hand-delivers a binder containing messages from nearly 700 supporters of LGBT rights to President Obama at the White House's Pride Month reception on June 29. The Task Force solicited the feedback from community members the previous week, asking: "What would you say to the president if you had the opportunity?" Many of the responses presented by Carey to the president spotlighted people's stories of discrimination and hopes for equality.
Read Rea Carey's introductory letter to President Obama that appeared in the binder.
June 25 – The Task Force and a collaboration of expert organizations announce the New Beginning Initiative, designed to push for concrete federal administration policy and regulatory changes directly benefiting the lives of LGBT people and eliminating discrimination from federal policies.
June 24 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds introduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The measure was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Learn more about the Task Force's long history working on this issue.
June 20 – The Task Force applauds reports that the U.S. Census Bureau will count married same-sex couples in the 2010 census, reversing an earlier decision made under the Bush administration. Previously, same-sex couples only had the option of checking off "unmarried partner," which will remain an option. The Task Force has played a leading role in getting the Census Bureau to change course. Click here to read about the work that won this victory.
June 17 – Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey responds to President Obama's memorandum extending some protections to the same-sex partners and families of federal employees: "This presidential memorandum today will extend some selected protections to the same-sex partners and families of federal employees. The federal government is the largest employer in the country and this represents a positive result for thousands of employees and their families; it also inches our federal government closer to nondiscrimination both in word and in policy, which is a good thing.”
June 12 – The Task Force Action Fund again calls for immediate repeal of the federal "Defense of Marriage Act." The Task Force Action Fund also denounces the egregious language used by the Department of Justice in its June 12 brief seeking to dismiss a challenge to DOMA.
June 11 – The Task Force applauds the City of Miami Commission's passage of a domestic partnership ordinance. Commissioners voted 5-0 to allow domestic partners the same health care and insurance benefits as married couples. Similar votes also passed in Miami Beach and North Miami.
June 11 – The Task Force responds to the June 10 shooting at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in which security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns was shot and killed by a gunman authorities identified as an 88-year-old white supremacist named James von Brunn.
“We denounce this act of domestic terrorism and stand in strong solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters and organizations who have worked in this country and around the world to secure freedoms and justice for all people," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
June 4 – The Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable releases the groundbreaking report A Time to Build Up: Analysis of the No on Proposition 8 Campaign and Its Implications for Future Pro-LGBTQQIA Religious Organizing. The report examines the November 2008 Proposition 8 battle in California, highlighting religious-secular partnerships relevant to marriage equality.
June 3 – New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signs legislation granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey: "Clearly this is a momentous day for New Hampshire — a state that holds individual liberty and fairness as core values — as well as the entire country. Once again, after careful consideration, another state has concluded that denying the fundamental freedom to marry does not protect anyone; it simply places more families in harm's way and makes them more vulnerable to hardship.”
June 1 – The Task Force responds to the killing of Dr. George Tiller, a physician who was gunned down in a Wichita, Kan., church May 31. Tiller was one of the only doctors to perform late-term abortions in the United States.
"The cold and calculated killing of Dr. George Tiller, apparently because he was a provider of abortion services to women utilizing their protected rights to end pregnancies, accomplishes nothing except the harvesting of a bitter crop of fear and intimidation among our American people, and especially reproductive service providers and the women who need them. But we cannot and must not yield to fear and intimidation; instead, we must continue to stand strong with reproductive health service providers," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
May 26 – The Task Force is profoundly disappointed in the California Supreme Court ruling upholding Proposition 8, a ballot measure approved by a slim majority in November 2008 that amends the California Constitution to eliminate the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The court does allow the 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples that occurred prior to the enactment of Proposition 8 to remain intact.
May 22 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds the introduction of the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act. The bill, which would end the tax inequities regarding employer-provided health insurance for domestic partners, was introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
May 21 – The Task Force Action Fund hails the introduction of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act in the U.S. Congress. This legislation would provide domestic partner benefits for federal employees and their partners. The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
May 14 – The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, a project of the Task Force, issues an Article of Faith to address the need for Catholics to follow their own values of love and justice when dealing with issues of marriage equality in response to recent Catholic bishops and Vatican officials' anti-LGBT public campaign.
May 11 – The Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources, COLAGE and Family Equality Council launched a curriculum designed to help faith communities support and embrace LGBT people and their families, All in God’s Family: Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families
May 6 – Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation making Maine the fifth state to grant the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The Task Force invested significantly in the work of statewide organization EqualityMaine to build greater political power for the LGBT community leading up to this victory. The Task Force provided funding to the organization, organized Power Summits to train local LGBT leaders and sent organizers to provide field support.
April 30 – The Institute for Welcoming Resources, a program of the Task Force, releases "To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations." The national survey and report found that congregations that have undertaken formalized efforts to welcome LGBT members are more active in social justice, more comfortable addressing sexuality issues and less concerned that LGBT advocacy will reduce membership. To download To Do Justice, click here.
April 22 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire for signing legislation that amends the state's hate crimes law to include transgender people. "Transgender people continue to face abhorrent levels of hate crime violence," explained Executive Director Rea Carey. "Updating Washington state's law in this manner is a greatly welcomed development, especially as Congress is about to consider federal hate crimes legislation that includes both gender identity and sexual orientation."
April 7 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hails the Vermont Legislature’s override today of Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The Senate passed the measure by 23 to 5 and the House by 100 to 49. Vermont is the first state in the nation to extend the freedom to marry through the legislative process
April 3 – The Task Force hails the Iowa Supreme Court unanimous ruling in Varnum v. Brien saying that same-sex couples are legally entitled to marry. The Task Force was a signatory to a larger amicus brief supporting the marriage equality position. Additionally, Task Force organizers were sent to Iowa where they worked with One Iowa’s field staff to grow the group's volunteer base that was active with One Iowa's legislative advocacy in support of the freedom to marry.
April 2 – The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes legislation was introduced last night by Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund applauds the introduction of inclusive federal hate crimes legislation.
April 1 – The National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responded to the announcement by the church council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) directing the churchwide assembly in August to approve the "Social Statement on Human Sexuality," implement it, and direct the removal of the policy that prohibited service in ministry by those in committed, same-gender relationships. From the NRLR statement: "The Social Statement on Human Sexuality acknowledges what we have known for the last 30 years, that we Lutherans are not of one mind on issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion. Still, this document recognizes that LGBT people are, and always have been, part of the great diversity of God's creation — finally."
March 24 – The Task Force Action Fund hails the defeat of Charter Amendment 1 in Gainesville, Fla. The referendum would have effectively eliminated the nondiscrimination protections that Gainesville extends lesbian, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by requiring the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to conform to the state's nondiscrimination laws, which do not cover sexual orientation or gender identity. The Task Force Action Fund provided significant support to Equality is Gainesville's Business, including donating $7,500 of direct seed money to launch the campaign; paying for a contract field organizer to work on the ground in Gainesville during the campaign’s final six-week period; sending two Task Force organizers to Gainesville for three-and-a-half weeks to provide training and technical assistance to EQGB’s field team; and assisting with message development for EQGB’s paid media campaign. Click here to read more about Task Force's work in Gainesville.
March 18 – The Task Force applauds the Obama administration for signing the U.N. declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality and condemning human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Advocates have tried for years to get the U.S. to endorse it, but the Bush administration had refused to do so.
March 17 – After Pope Benedict XVI announces that greater condom use will lead to a worsening of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the Task Force denounces his statement as dangerous and scientifically unsound. "The Task Force denounces the irresponsible remarks by Pope Benedict XVI this week that the use of condoms will lead to a worsening of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It is an outrage that the pope would go against scientific evidence that shows that condoms are highly effective in the prevention of HIV transmission. It is immoral that, in the name of church doctrine, people are put at risk by the pope’s reckless and false statements," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
March 11 – Task Force Deputy Executive Director Darlene Nipper attends the signing of the executive order that creates the White House Council on Women and Girls. The council is designed to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronting women and girls, and to ensure that all cabinet and cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families.
March 6 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey participates in the White House health-care reform summit convened by President Barack Obama. “In the coming months, the macro themes and issues raised at the summit will work their way through to concrete policy and funding decisions that will affect the day-to-day lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Executive Director Rea Carey. Read the full statement.
February 13 – The Institute for Welcoming Resources, a program of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, today announced the release of transACTION, a new curriculum designed for churches and religious institutions to help congregants and members understand and welcome transgender persons into their congregations and faith settings.transACTION is designed to help churches and institutions address this issue of understanding and welcome by providing step-by-step training about the needs, apprehensions and fears of transgender people — as well as the wealth of gifts and graces they bring — while responding to the concerns of the church or religious institution. Click here to download transACTION.
February 12 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds the reintroduction of the Uniting American Families Act, which would grant binational same-sex couples equal treatment under immigration laws by allowing them to sponsor their partner for immigration purposes.
February 5 – The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, a leading group of pro-LGBT faith leaders, celebrates its 10th anniversary at the 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, by issuing a statement reaffirming its commitment to work toward full equality for LGBT people.
January 30 – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey presents the annual State of the Movement address at 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, where 2,000 activists have gathered to strategize on how to advance LGBT equality in this new political climate. Watch the speech and read the full text.
January 29 – The Task Force Action Fund hails President Barack Obama's signing into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which will make it easier for workers to sue for decades-old discrimination. The law effectively remedies a Supreme Court decision that stipulated that workers only had 180 days to file a pay-discrimination lawsuit. Task Force staff attended today’s bill-signing ceremony.
January 28 – The Task Force convenes the 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, Jan. 28 – Feb. 1 in Denver, Colo. Conference highlights include a powerful opening plenary by legendary labor leader Dolores Huerta, a panel titled HIV/AIDS Crisis: This Is What We’re Doing About It that features leading advocates in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and much more. Click here to get the full recap of the 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.
January 20 – The Task Force responds to President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. “America made history today with the swearing-in of Barack Obama as its 44th president. It is our hope this truly marks the dawn of a new political era of engagement in the life of this country. … As President Obama assumes the role of America’s foremost leader, we call upon him to fulfill the promise of a nation where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are recognized and valued as part of this country's strength, spirit and solution," said Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.
January 19 – The Task Force celebrates the federal holiday honoring the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the following day’s historic inauguration of the United States’ first black president. Read the full statement.
January 19 – The Task Force responds to the exclusion of Bishop Gene Robinson from HBO's televised coverage of Jan. 18’s "We Are One" inaugural event.
“Bishop Gene Robinson is an inspiration to millions worldwide because he lives out the ideals of courage, humility and truth-speaking. It is profoundly disappointing and disturbing that HBO viewers did not have the opportunity to watch Robinson, a genuine hero to so many in our community and others around the globe, give his powerful prayer at Sunday’s ‘We Are One’ inaugural event. Our nation becomes better and stronger when given the chance to hear from the diversity of its people. This did not happen with Bishop Robinson, and absolutely should have," said Executive Director Rea Carey.
January 8 –Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey attends President-elect Barack Obama’s highly anticipated, invitation-only speech in which he called for urgent action to reverse a collapsing economy.
January 6 – The Task Force Policy Institute releases an in-depth analysis of the Proposition 8 vote that shows that party affiliation, political ideology, frequency of attending worship services and age were the driving forces behind the measure’s passage on Nov. 4. The study finds that after taking into account the effect of religious service attendance, support for Proposition 8 among African Americans and Latinos was not significantly different than other groups. Click here to read the study.
December 22 – The Task Force Action Fund today denounced regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would allow employees of health care entities receiving federal funds to refuse to assist or participate in providing “any lawful health service or research activity” on moral or religious grounds. This would allow those who work in hospitals or other health care facilities, including medial technicians and pharmacists, to deny their services to LGBT people if doing so would offend their personal beliefs.
December 22 – The National Religious Leadership Roundtable condemns remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that denounced gender theory, saying it could lead to humanity’s “self-destruction.” Gender theory explores sexual orientation, the roles assigned by society to individuals according to their gender and how people perceive their identity. The Catholic Church has repeatedly attacked gender theory. “If tropical forests deserve our protection, humankind ... deserves it no less,” said the pope.
December 17 – The Task Force denounces the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, is an outspoken opponent of marriage equality, reproductive choice and stem-cell research. Warren has gone so far as to equate marriage between same-sex couples with incest and pedophilia.
December 1 –The Task Force calls for greater federal response to combat HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day. As part of the National AIDS Strategy: A Call to Action campaign, the Task Force urges for a national strategy on HIV/AIDS that drives a more coordinated, accountable and effective response to the epidemic.
November 20 – The Task Force commemorates the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a time when the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community remembers people lost to anti-transgender violence over the past year. The Task Force honors the memory of the 30 transgender people killed internationally in 2008, up from 11 in 2007.
November 6 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund is deeply saddened and disappointed by the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which will amend the state Constitution to eliminate the right to marry for same-sex couples. “This close vote is heartbreaking. Opponents of Prop. 8 — the Equality for All coalition — built an impressive and unprecedented campaign to defeat the measure. In the end, the scare tactics and lies of the other side won out this time. Because of this unjust and disappointing outcome, tens of thousands of loving, committed couples and their families will now have to wait longer to be treated fairly under the law. Eliminating fundamental rights is profoundly wrong, plain and simple,” said Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey.
November 4 – The 2008 Election brings tremendous hope for the LGBT community with the election of Barack Obama, as well as disappointing setbacks. Go here for a detailed analysis of our gains and losses in Election 2008.
November 4 – The Task Force Action Fund responds to the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. "This is the dawn of a new political era of hope and engagement in the life of this country. A new administration brings a promise for a sea change in the tenor of the national dialogue on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues,” Said Executive Director Rea Carey. Read the full press release.
October 20 – Multi-faith leaders of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), convened by the Task Force, gather on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, where they send a strong and unified call of support for the freedom to marry. They are joined by local faith leaders to amplify the message of treating all California citizens equally under the law. Go here for a full recap of the gathering.
October 20 – The Task Force hails the historic decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Connecticut joins Massachusetts and California as the third state to allow same-sex couples to be treated equally under the state’s marriage law.
September 18 – The Task Force launches a survey on discrimination against gender non-conforming people. In the wake of one of the most violent years on record of assaults on transgender people, and at a time when we are building support for a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the Task Force launch the first time ever comprehensive national survey to collect data on discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in housing, employment, public accommodations, healthcare, education, family life and criminal justice. Take the survey.
September 9 – The Task Force Action Fund is thrilled by the win before the highest court in Maryland, which decides that an anti-transgender measure must be removed from the ballot in Montgomery County, Md. The court agrees with plaintiffs that the opposition effort did not collect enough valid signatures, reversing a lower court decision. The measure will not move forward as a result of this decision. The Montgomery County Council in Maryland unanimously passed that law last fall, but opponents quickly launched a signature-gathering effort to place a repeal measure on the ballot.
September 8 – Darlene Nipper, a seasoned leader with nearly two decades experience in nonprofit management and program development, public policy advocacy and outreach, budget management and coalition building, is named deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Task Force Movement Building Director Russell Roybal is promoted to the position of deputy executive director of external relations, and Brian Johnson, formerly the deputy executive director for finance and administration, receives the new title of chief financial officer.
August 25 –The Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR) and five partner organizations are awarded a total of $1.2 million from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to work jointly to expand the number of churches that are welcoming and affirming of LGBT people and to strengthen their internal capacities. The funding is significant not only because of its dollar amount, but also because it marks a breakthrough in secular foundation support for LGBT faith organizing efforts.
August 11 –Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey speaks at an audio press conference about the Democratic National Platform hosted by the National Stonewall Democrats and featuring U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), a member of the Platform Committee. Carey talks about the historic significance of the proposed Democratic National Platform as it relates to issues impacting the LGBT community.
July 29 – The Task Force lauds the Massachusetts House's 119-to-36 vote to repeal a 1913 law that prevents Massachusetts from marrying out-of-state couples if their marriages would not be legal in their home states. On July 15, the state Senate voted to repeal the measure and Gov. Deval Patrick has said he will sign the repeal.
July 25 – The Task Force Action Fund praises the U.S. House’s vote to repeal the HIV travel ban. The Senate voted July 16 to repeal the prohibition, which was codified by Congress in 1993. While immigration law currently excludes foreigners with any “communicable disease of public health significance” from entering the country, only HIV is explicitly named in the statute.
July 23 – The Task Force Action Fund commends the U.S. House of Representatives for holding the first hearing since 1993 on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits lesbian, gay and bisexual people from serving openly in the military. The Task Force Action Fund submits written testimony and works closely with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network along with other colleague organizations to prepare witnesses and members of the committee for the hearing.
June 26 – The House of Representatives holds its first-ever hearing on transgender discrimination in the workplace. The Task Force Action Fund, in addition to submitting written testimony documenting the urgent need for inclusion of gender identity in federal employment protection, works closely with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) to prepare for the hearing.
June 24, 2008 – Rea Carey, longtime leader and activist in the LGBT movement, is appointed executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The appointment is announced by the Task Force board following a four-month national search to replace Matt Foreman, who left the organization in April for a senior position at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.
June 18, 2008 – The Task Force announces that $200,000 from the 11th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner and the 2008 Winter Party Festival will benefit the local Miami LGBT community. Of that amount, $180,000 will be granted to Dade Community Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects Fund to be disbursed to local organizations providing critical services to LGBT people. The remaining $20,000 will be used to conduct a long-term strategic planning process for the future of the Winter Party Festival.
June 11, 2008 – Task Force Action Fund Public Policy & Government Affairs Director Dave Noble is named director of the LGBT Vote at the Obama for America campaign. In his new position, Noble will be charged with heading up voter registration, education and mobilization efforts within the LGBT community on behalf of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for president. Noble joined the Task Force as political director for the newly created Public Policy & Government Affairs department in early 2005, and was appointed department director in December 2006.
June 10, 2008 – Four LGBT legal organizations and five other leading national LGBT groups, including the Task Force, issue a statement titled Make Change, Not Lawsuits. The statement explains that while couples who go to California to marry should ask friends, neighbors and institutions to honor their marriages, they generally shouldn’t sue. The statement says that ill-timed lawsuits are likely to set the fight for marriage back, and that there are other ways to fight which are more likely to win.
May 29, 2008 – The Task Force applauds the New York Assembly’s passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The bill, which passed by a 102-33 vote, now moves to the state Senate. The measure seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations and would add gender identity or expression to the state’s hate crimes law.
May 20, 2008 – The Miami-Dade County Commission passes the Domestic Partners and Family Health Coverage Ordinance. Miami-Dade County joins nearly two dozen other local jurisdictions in Florida that offer domestic partner benefits. “Congratulations to the people of Miami-Dade County, our local partner SAVE and the supportive commissioners who made this tremendous victory possible,” said Task Force Acting Executive Director Rea Carey.
May 15, 2008 – The Task Force hails a historic decision by the California Supreme Court that the California Constitution requires ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. The Task Force filed an amicus brief with the high court supporting full marriage rights for same-sex couples. "This is an extraordinary victory for Californians and all Americans who hold fairness and opportunity as fundamental American values,” said Task Force Acting Executive Director Rea Carey. “Thank you California for standing up for safety, respect and dignity for our families.”.
May 15, 2008 – The Task Force proudly announces that Movement Building Director Russell D. Roybal has been chosen by the Rockwood Leadership Program as one of its fellows in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and advocacy. The Rockwood Fellowship is a multi-year program in which a select group of leaders receive support and training to lead more efficiently, as well as an opportunity to continue building alliances to strengthen the voice and power of LGBTQ communities.
May 7, 2008 – The Task Force denounces the Michigan Supreme Court ruling mandating that local governments and state universities can't offer health insurance to the same-sex partners of their employees. The court ruled 5–2 that Michigan's 2004 ban against same-sex marriage also blocks domestic partner policies affecting employees with same-sex partners at universities and other public-sector employers.
May 7, 2008 – The Task Force mourns the death of Mildred Loving, whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide. Loving died May 2 at the age of 68.
May 3, 2008 – Nearly 300 people turn out for the 2008 D.C. Leadership Awards honoring AARP and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion, recognized for their work to help ensure our community’s seniors are part of the organization’s mission and program; Us Helping Us, a local AIDS service organization focusing on the African-American community; U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), who supported transgender-inclusive ENDA; and Daniela Sea, who portrays Max, a transgender character on Showtime’s The L Word.
A highlight of the wonderful evening is Acting Executive Director Rea Carey’s speech and the resulting standing ovation.
May 7, 2008 – The Task Force denounces the Michigan Supreme Court ruling mandating that local governments and state universities can't offer health insurance to the same-sex partners of their employees. The court ruled 5–2 that Michigan's 2004 ban against same-sex marriage also blocks domestic partner policies affecting employees with same-sex partners at universities and other public-sector employers.
April 29, 2008 – The Task Force issues a $20,000 challenge grant bolstering Basic Rights Montgomery, a campaign formed by Montgomery County, Md., residents and the advocacy organization Equality Maryland, to preserve a gender identity nondiscrimination law that was unanimously passed last November by the County Council.
April 28, 2008 – The National Center for Transgender Equality and the Task Force release a joint publication titled Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender People: The Nine Keys to Making Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations Fully Transgender-Inclusive, geared toward LGBT organizations.
April 16, 2008 – Rea Carey, who has served as the Task Force’s deputy executive director since 2004, is named acting executive director. Carey assumes the role while the search for a new executive director is under way.
April 15, 2008 – Task Force department directors hold national audio press conference addressing “Where we are going from here” as part of the passing of the torch from outgoing Executive Director Matt Foreman to incoming Acting Executive Director Rea Carey. Directors talk about programmatic priorities and address questions like “What are the critical issues facing the LGBT community?” “Where are we going as a community with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)?” “What is the Task Force doing in California and elsewhere?” And, “as we work to achieve full equality, what is the mandate and responsibility of the LGBT community at the intersections of race, orientation, gender identity, economic justice and cultural diversity?”
April 9, 2008 – The Task Force applauds the Detroit City Council’s passage of an ordinance banning discrimination against transgender people by an 8-1 vote. The measure’s passage comes on the heels of a recent victory in Kansas City, Mo., where the City Council unanimously passed an identical ban. The Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project played an instrumental role in these victories by providing legislative drafting assistance on both measures.
April 8, 2008 – New York Gov. David Paterson addresses a standing-room-only audience at the Task Force’s New York Leadership Awards, in which he was honored for his longstanding work on behalf of LGBT rights. “Held hostage” to the Albany budget process, Paterson sent an extraordinary message via video to the assembled crowd.
April 3, 2008 – The Task Force Action Fund donates $70,000 to support Equality for All, which has launched a statewide campaign to stop the “Limits on Marriage” initiative from qualifying for the November 2008 ballot. The Task Force has sent three additional field organizers from the East Coast to join our five California-based field organizers to help coordinate work in targeted regions throughout California.
March 19, 2008 – The 2008 Winter Party Festival is an extraordinary success with record attendance at its signature event, the 15th Annual Beach Party. This year’s festival draws more than 10,000 total attendees across more than two dozen events.
February 8, 2008 – Former Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman delivers his State of the Movement speech at the 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.
The week-long event played host to other notable speakers like NAACP Chair Julian Bond, Rev. V. Gene Robinson, and many more. Click here to watch videos from the conference.
February 7, 2008 – The Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action debuts at the 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. These high-level, professionalized trainings are offered for all skill levels, and include topics like strengthening organizational capacity, donor building and executive director skills.
February 4, 2008 – Oregon’s domestic partnership law takes effect, following a federal court ruling on Feb. 1 upholding a decision by state election officials that opponents of the law failed to gather the necessary signatures to place the law on the ballot for referendum. The Task Force has been a longtime partner of Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide LGBT rights group. For more than a decade, the Task Force has provided trainings, technical assistance, and staff to assist on campaigns and direct grants to support the programs of Basic Rights Oregon.
January 23, 2008 – Matt Foreman, executive director of the Task Force and a national leader in the struggle for equal rights and social justice, announces he will step down in April to lead the Gay & Lesbian Program at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Foreman has led the Task Force for five years and helped propel the organization to national prominence as an outspoken and unwavering advocate of LGBT rights. Foreman called working for the Task Force “the greatest honor of my life.”
January 7, 2008 – By a 65-10 vote, the New Jersey Assembly today approves legislation making the state’s anti-bullying and hate crimes laws two of the strongest in the country by making transgender-inclusion unequivocal and significantly bolstering the two laws’ enforcement mechanisms. The Task Force Action Fund partnered with Garden State Equality and the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey to provide drafting and strategy support for the measure.
December 19, 2007 – A new study commissioned by the New York City Council finds that almost one-third of New York’s homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, confirming the findings of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s groundbreaking national study, LGBT Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness, released last December.
December 17, 2007 – NGLTF, Inc., the politically oriented and lobbying sister organization of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation, has a new name: the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund. NGLTF, Inc., was incorporated in 1974 as a political and lobbying organization and, accordingly, contributions to it were not tax deductible. A second educational, advocacy and nonpolitical organization was subsequently founded, now the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation.
December 6, 2007 – The Task Force condemns congressional leadership’s decision to remove a gay and transgender-inclusive federal hate crimes measure from the Department of Defense authorization bill. The provisions were added to the Defense funding authorization bill in the hopes that it would survive a promised presidential veto. In the House, however, that attach-strategy engendered opposition from conservative members opposed to the hate crimes provisions and from other members opposed to the war in Iraq. The Task Force mobilizes its members through action alerts, lobbied congressional offices and organized other national partners to pressure Congress not to give in — again — to right-wing opposition to LGBT legislation.
December 6, 2007 – The Task Force mourns the loss of longtime activist Bob Kohler, who died of cancer at the age of 81. “Our New York community — indeed our national movement — lost another unsung hero with the death of Bob Kohler,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman. “We all owe Bob our gratitude for a life devoted to our liberation and an obligation to keep his memory alive.”
December 1, 2007 – The Task Force commemorates World AIDS Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS epidemic and remembering those lost to the disease.
November 29, 2007 – The Task Force and the Empire State Pride Agenda hold the New York Power Summit, a four-day gathering of more than 150 rights leaders and advocates designed to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community. It is intended to train advocates and directly educate New Yorkers around the issues of marriage equality, workplace protections for transgender people and preventing harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools.
November 20, 2007 – The Task Force commemorates the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day when the LGBT community remembers people lost to anti-transgender violence over the past year. The Task Force Web site banner is black and features the phrase “We Remember,” in memory of the 11 known deaths of transgender people in 2007. This year marks the ninth year that the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been commemorated.
November 14, 2007 – The Task Force appoints Jaime Grant, Ph.D., as director of the Task Force Policy Institute, a leading LGBT think tank. Dr. Grant succeeds Sean Cahill, Ph.D., who served as Policy Institute director for six years before moving to Gay Mens Health Crisis to serve as its managing director for public policy, research and community health.
November 13, 2007 – Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the Task Force announces they have received a $500,000 grant from the Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund to support a joint national advocacy and policy effort around LGBT aging. For this new project, SAGE and the Task Force will collaborate on a series of ventures that push public policies that address LGBT aging concerns and enhance support, protections and quality of life for LGBT seniors. The grant will fund two new staff positions — one at each organization — and related program expenses.
November 13, 2007 – The Task Force calls upon the Senate Ethics Committee for fair treatment in the sex-related controversies involving Sens. Larry Craig and David Vitter. The committee launched an investigation into Craig’s conduct, arising from his pleading guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges after his June arrest by an undercover police officer in a men’s restroom. The committee refused to open a similar investigation into whether Vitter violated the Senate Rules of Conduct by soliciting for prostitution. “There is no explanation for the diametrically opposed responses to these two situations, other than hypocrisy tinged by homophobia,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman.”There are only two ways to resolve this: drop the investigation into Sen. Craig or investigate the allegations surrounding Sen. Vitter.”
November 7, 2007 – Following six weeks of rancorous debate, the House of Representatives votes on a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that does not include protections on the basis of gender identity. It passed by a vote of 235 to 184. “When confronted with the possibility of Congress moving forward with a bill that stripped out protections for transgender people, the activist and grassroots backbone of our movement responded almost instantaneously in unprecedented numbers with conviction, passion and political savvy. We are frustrated with this course of action, but it will not stop us from pressing forward toward our ultimate goal: nondiscrimination protections for everyone in our community,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman.
November 3, 2007 – More than 675 people attend the 11th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner, the most successful Recognition Dinner in the history of the event. The awards ceremony includes the presentation of the first Eddy McIntrye Community Service Award, named for the late Miami-Dade activist who founded the Recognition Dinner, to attorney and local hero Jerry Chasen. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts, whose columns have long delivered the message of acceptance and equality, receives a standing ovation for his inspiring speech as he accepted the 2007 Humanitarian Award.
September 30, 2007 – More than 300 people turn out for the Los Angeles Leadership Awards honoring LGBT rights advocates Christine Chávez and Judy Chu. Taking place as the fate of a transgender-inclusive ENDA was being shaped in Washington, D.C., this year’s event had particular meaning. The speech of each honoree reminded the audience of just how much work remains to be done to achieve full equality for all of our community.
October 3, 2007 – The Task Force Action Fund and more than 150 groups announce the launch of a united lobbying and advocacy campaign to win passage of a fully inclusive ENDA. Called United ENDA, the campaign builds off the past week’s unprecedented and full-throated determination to maintain protections on the basis of gender identity in ENDA as it was originally introduced.
September 27, 2007 – The Task Force hails the landmark passage of a gay and transgender-inclusive federal hate crimes measure, included as an amendment to the Department of Defense reauthorization bill. The amendment, introduced by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), passed by a 60–39 cloture vote, which ended debate and sent the bill to the floor where it was approved by a voice vote.
September 5, 2007 – The Task Force mourns the loss of D.C. activist Cheryl Ann Spector, 49, who died of leukemia. “Cheryl made Washington, D.C., a more dynamic, richer city,” said Deputy Executive Director Rea Carey. “We will not only miss Cheryl and the record of events she held, but also her role in the political change she surely would have helped to fulfill. Thank you, Cheryl, for living the life you did.”
August 30, 2007 – The Task Force Action Fund applauds the decision by an Iowa trial court that the state’s constitution requires extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The case was filed in December 2005 by Lambda Legal on behalf of six same-sex couples and their families who had sought, and were denied, marriage licenses in Iowa. The case will ultimately be decided by the Iowa Supreme Court. If that court upholds the decision, Iowa will join Massachusetts in extending full marriage equality to same-sex couples.
August 2, 2007 – The Task Force organizes a coalition of 16 national LGBT rights organizations to urge the City Commission of Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County Commission to pass resolutions condemning Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle’s recent anti-gay comments and reaffirming the area’s well-known welcome and support of LGBT people.
July 24, 2007 – Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman speaks at a rally in Ft. Lauderdale’s city hall decrying Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle’s continued bigoted comments. Naugle has been criticized for stating that the city's proposal to buy a $250,000 self-cleaning toilet for the beach would reduce “homosexual activity” in public restrooms, among other homophobic rhetoric.
July 24, 2007 – The Task Force expresses its condolences at the passing of Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner, ex-wife of disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker. Messner died after a long battle with cancer. “Tammy Faye became an icon for our community. In spite of — and perhaps because of the hardships she faced — she embraced us, she refused to judge and repudiated those who did,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman. “She will be long-remembered and deeply missed. Our condolences go to her family and her wide circle of loving friends.”
June 27, 2007 – The Task Force Action Fund releases The 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, the first comprehensive analysis of the top 19 candidates for the 2008 presidency on LGBT issues. The report and its accompanying chart are based on an analysis of the voting records and public statements of the candidates in eight key LGBT issue areas, including sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws; HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; lifting the military's ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members; and partnership recognition for same-sex couples.
June 20, 2007 – By a vote of 85 to 61, the New York State Assembly passes a bill sponsored by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to extend to same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Only two other legislative chambers — both houses of the California Legislature — have passed similar legislation in the past. The bill now moves to the state Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority. The leader of the Senate, Joseph Bruno (R/C-Rensselaer-Saratoga), has said he personally would not support the bill, and said it was “not a priority in the Senate.”
June 14, 2007 – By a 151-45 vote, the Massachusetts Legislature defeats a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Task Force Action Fund invested significant staff and other resources to protect marriage equality in Massachusetts. Moreover, the Task Force played an essential role in the victory: Task Force organizers led the effort that convinced two conservative legislators — Sen. Gale Candaras and Rep. Angelo Puppolo — to listen to their constituents and switch their votes to support equality. Candaras has repeatedly voted against marriage equality, while legislative newcomer Puppolo initially ran a pro-amendment campaign. These switches provided two of the eight votes needed to win the margin of victory.
May 31, 2007 – New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signs into law a bill granting same-sex couples in civil unions all of the rights afforded to New Hampshire’s married couples under state law. With this new law, New Hampshire joins California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont in offering broad protections under state law to same-sex couples. The Task Force Action Fund applauds the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, the governor and supportive legislators on this victory.
May 25, 2007 – Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signs a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, education and credit practices. The Task Force is proud to have partnered with Equality Iowa, the statewide LGBT rights group, to pass this measure. The Task Force assisted in crafting the bill’s language and provided strategy throughout the legislative process.
May 15, 2007 – The Task Force mourns the passing of Yolanda King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. “Like her father, Yolanda King fought for racial and economic justice and challenged America to face up to these scourges. Like her mother, she was an unwavering voice for equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman. “We will always celebrate her life and cherish her memory.”
May 10, 2007 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute releases a historic study, Living in the Margins: A National Survey of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, based on data from the largest-ever national survey of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) LGBT Americans.
May 5, 2007 – The Task Force holds the 2007 DC Leadership Awards, honoring Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for advocating for the rights of LGBT workers, Patrik-Ian Polk and Noah’s Arc (the hit series on Logo) were honored for advancing a positive and inclusive portrayal of African American gay men in the LGBT community.
May 3, 2007 – The Task Force applauds the passage of a transgender-inclusive federal hate crimes measure. The bill passed by a vote of 237 to 180. “With today’s historic vote and debate, the U.S. House of Representatives said clearly and unequivocally that the people of this country reject and condemn all forms of hate violence, including crimes motivated by hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, women and people with disabilities,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman. “The importance of this cannot be overstated, particularly in light of the venomous defamation campaign that has been waged against the bill by right-wing forces. At long last, justice for our people is within reach.”
May 2, 2007 – In a 21–9 vote, the Oregon Senate passes the Oregon Family Fairness Act, which would establish domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and provide them with the state rights, benefits and responsibilities granted to married couples. The Task Force has been a longtime partner of Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide LGBT rights group. For more than a decade, the Task Force has provided trainings, technical assistance, staff to assist on campaigns and direct grants to support the programs of Basic Rights Oregon.
April 25, 2007 – By a 59–37 vote, the Iowa House of Representatives approves a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, education and credit practices. The Task Force is proud to have partnered with Equality Iowa, the statewide LGBT rights group, to pass this measure. The Task Force assisted in crafting the bill’s language, sent out action alerts and provided strategy throughout the legislative process.
April 24, 2007 – The Task Force applauds the introduction of ENDA, which would protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA would provide legal recourse to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the 33 states that don’t currently have employment nondiscrimination laws that cover sexual orientation and to transgender people in the 42 states that do not provide protection on the basis of gender identity or expression. The Task Force was the first national organization to advocate for federal nondiscrimination protections when it worked with then-U.S. Reps. Bella Abzug and Ed Koch, both New York Democrats, to introduce a sweeping bill in 1974. The Task Force has also played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is explicitly inclusive of transgender people.
April 21, 2007 – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signs into law a domestic partnership bill that provides same-sex couples in Washington state access to critical protections and responsibilities. Over the past two years, the Task Force has provided technical assistance, training and funding in an effort to assist Equal Rights Washington in strengthening its capacity and impact throughout Washington state.
April 19, 2007 – The Oregon Senate today passed the Oregon Equality Act by a 19–7 vote. The measure bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodations. For more than a decade, the Task Force has provided ongoing strategic advice and training to Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide LGBT rights group, and more than 100 leaders from across the state. In addition, the Task Force has provided technical assistance, staff to assist on campaigns and direct grants to support the programs of Basic Rights Oregon.
April 17, 2007 – With bipartisan support, the Oregon House of Representatives approves a bill that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and a bill that would establish domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. The measure bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. The Oregon Family Fairness Act, which passed the House by a 34–26 vote, would establish domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and provide the state rights, benefits and responsibilities that are granted to heterosexual married couples. The Task Force Action Fund has been a longtime partner of Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide LGBT rights group.
April 12, 2007 – The Task Force applauds the 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. “Congress is finally poised to more seriously address hate-motivated violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman. “We urge swift passage of this much-needed and long-overdue legislation that states clearly and unequivocally that Americans reject all forms of hate violence.”
April 10, 2007 – By a 63–35 vote, the Washington House passes a domestic partnership bill that provides same-sex couples in Washington state access to critical protections and responsibilities. The Task Force applauds the tireless work of its capacity building partner, Equal Rights Washington, Washington’s gay state lawmakers — Sen. Ed Murray and Reps. Joseph McDermott, David Upthegrove, James Moeller and Jamie Pedersen — as well as the many straight legislative allies in securing this victory.
March 29, 2007 – The Task Force posts $25,000 reward for information into the Feb. 23 death of Andrew Anthos, 72, after the Wayne County medical examiner’s office ruled Anthos fell because he had an arthritic neck, not because he was struck during a hate-motivated attack. The medical examiner’s report failed to explain a 2-inch bruise on the back of Anthos’ head. “We’ve seen the same kinds of things happen time and again in the way in which police respond to hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We are proud to work with the Triangle Foundation and to post a $10,000 reward to encourage people to come forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman.
March 26, 2007 – The Task Force commemorates the 30th anniversary of the first-ever meeting between the White House and gay and lesbian leaders with an audio press conference. Those who attended that historic gathering talked about that milestone and the progress since made — or lack thereof. The audio press conference is available for download here.
March 23, 2007 – A coalition of national LGBT send a letter to Mayor Rosemary Aultman of Clinton, Miss., in response to recent police harassment of Soulforce Equality Riders. The coalition included the Task Force, Lambda Legal, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Log Cabin Republicans and the Human Rights Campaign. Leaders also placed calls to Mayor Aultman’s office.
March 20, 2007 – The Task Force applauds the reintroduction of a transgender-inclusive federal hate crimes measure in the House by U.S. Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
March 15, 2007 – Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, leader of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, are arrested outside the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square in protest of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and Gen. Peter Pace’s recent comments that homosexuality is “immoral.” The arrests are part of a noontime demonstration in which protestors demanded that Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, be fired.
March 13, 2007 – The Task Force Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health in Boston, Mass., and BiNet USA, release a groundbreaking report titled Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/STI Prevention Programming.
March 8, 2007 – Marking Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the Task Force releases a fact sheet with a focus on LBT female elders.
March 6, 2007 – The Task Force mourns the death of Bob Hattoy, an outspoken and courageous activist and leader on behalf of HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues. He died March 3 in Sacramento, Calif. Hattoy, a former Clinton staffer, began his political career in the late 1970s and spent the last three decades pushing for social change. His most notable work included lobbying for environmental issues in conjunction with the Sierra Club and advocating for HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues during and after his tenure as a White House staff member in the Clinton administration.
March 1, 2007 – The Task Force condemns the Feb. 27 arrest and detention of Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. Smith was arrested during a heated hearing before the Largo City Commission in Florida, during which the commission voted 5–2 to begin the process of firing its 14-year city manager, Steve Stanton, because he announced his plans to transition from male to female.
February 28, 2007 – The 14th Annual Winter Party Festival — one of the world’s most renowned annual celebrations for the LGBT community — kicks off in Miami with new programming for young people, people of faith and transgender people added to its already vibrant mix of events. The festival’s theme was “Beyond Borders.”
January 30, 2007 – According to a new report, Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness, released nationally by the Task Force in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless, between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. Through a comprehensive analysis of the available research and professional literature, the report responds to basic questions, including why so many LGBT youth are becoming and remaining homeless. It addresses the harassment and violence that many of these youth experience in existing public shelter system, and summarizes research on critical problems affecting these youth, including mental health issues, substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. The report also analyzes government responses to youth homelessness and the specific impact on LGBT homeless youth of federal funding for faith-based service providers.
January 27, 2007 – More than 200 people packed the Task Force’s sold-out inaugural Seattle Leadership Awards to honor renowned activist and Task Force board member Marsha Botzer. Botzer has been a longtime catalyst for LGBT rights, helping to found Equal Rights Washington, spearheading the movement to update Seattle’s Municipal Code to include gender identity as a protected category, and assisting the Pride Foundation’s shareholder activism project, which resulted in banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at major corporations such as General Electric, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart.
January 15, 2007 – The Task Force honors the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. “Today we honor and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Coretta Scott King, who died last January. In their lives, Dr. King and Mrs. King bent the arc of history toward racial and economic justice. In the years following her husband’s murder, Mrs. King became an unwavering supporter for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and she was a keynote speaker at our own Creating Change Conference in 2000,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman.
January 2, 2007 – Massachusetts legislators approve a citizen-initiated proposed constitutional amendment to end marriage equality for same-sex couples as a first step toward putting the measure on the 2008 ballot.
December 26, 2006 – The Task Force mourns the death of former President Gerald R. Ford, who died at the age of 93. “Because he espoused true conservative values, he consistently advocated for the rights of individuals and condemned those who sought to impose conformity of thought and behavior,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman. “These beliefs led him to support women’s rights and to publicly support federal legislation to prohibit anti-gay discrimination in employment. When, in 2001, he said, ‘I think they [same-sex couples] should be treated equally. Period,’ he became the highest-ranking Republican ever to publicly support equal treatment for our families.”
December 14, 2006 – At New York City Hall, the Policy Institute releases the report Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless. The study revealed an epidemic of homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. According to statistics cited by the federally funded National Runaway Switchboard, up to 42 percent of homeless youth identify as gay or lesbian, which is grossly disproportionate given that approximately 3 to 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as gay or lesbian.
December 14, 2006 – The Task Force hails passage of New Jersey bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression. With governor's signature, New Jersey became the 9th state with clear and strong transgender protections. With New Jersey’s new law, 34 percent of the nation's population will live in a jurisdiction with a clearly transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law, up from just 6 percent only five years ago. Babs Casbar, political director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey (GRAANJ) said, “The Task Force and the legislative lawyer in its Transgender Civil Rights Project, Lisa Mottet, have been instrumental partners in the success of the transgender nondiscrimination legislation from its genesis in 2004. They worked with our allies and prime sponsor to craft a strong bill; provided educational tools to promote the legislation; advised us on several eleventh-hour amendments; and gave us financial support at a crucial moment.”
December 5, 2006 – The Policy Institute releases a study that reveals that bans on same-sex marriage performed more poorly in the November 2006 elections than in the past, in part due to their declining appeal in states with smaller “born-again” Christian populations. The study, Same-sex marriage initiatives and lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in the 2006 election, finds that if current trends hold, such bans would fail at the ballot box in many of the states that have not yet considered same-sex marriage initiatives.
December 1, 2006 – On this World AIDS Day, the Task Force calls for greater federal response to HIV/AIDS epidemic and urges an aggressive response by the federal government to fight the disease, saying “anything less is not only unacceptable, it is immoral.”
November 20, 2006 – The Task Force commemorates the International Transgender Day of Remembrance by reflecting on the loss of members of the transgender community due to hate or prejudice. “We pledge to our transgender brothers and sisters that we will not allow a federal nondiscrimination or hate crimes bill to move forward that does not include you. You are us and we will not walk down the path to equality without you at our side,” said Executive Director Matt Foreman.
November 10, 2006 – The Task Force, in partnership with Ipas and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, releases an updated Mapping Our Rights: Navigating Discrimination against Women, Men and Families, an easy-to-use innovative interactive map — with state-by-state rankings — including information on the 32 new bills restricting sexual and reproductive rights passed in state houses around the country in the last six months.
November 8, 2006 – With an increased focus on racial and economic justice issues, the 19th Annual Creating Change Conference opens in Kansas City, Mo., where more than 2,000 LGBT leaders and activists set the agenda for upcoming battles. Matt Foreman delivered his State of the Movement address to a packed room.
November 7, 2006 – The Task Force releases a complete analysis of election results the same night of the midterm election. For the first time, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples was defeated, and 37 percent of voters opposed the various bans, a significant increase over the 31 percent who opposed similar ballot measures prior to 2004. As important, election results in House, Senate and gubernatorial races coast to coast show that supporting fairness for LGBT families is not a liability, while aligning with the extreme Christian right is. Also, as a resource for reporters, researchers and activists, the Policy Institute provided a detailed table of information for every anti-same-sex marriage ballot measure from 1998 through the 2006 midterm election.
November 6, 2006 – Former President Bill Clinton makes a surprise appearance at Saturday’s 10th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner, a benefit for the Task Force, where he wowed the 650-plus-crowd. Clinton, who was in South Florida to campaign for Democratic candidates, arrived at the event around 8 p.m., where he greets NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, one of the evening’s honorees, and then shakes hands with numerous attendees.
October 27, 2006 – The Policy Institute releases the report titled Homophobia at ‘Hell House’: Literally Demonizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, which estimates that this Halloween season, 1.6 million people, many of them children as young as 10 years old, will go to “Hell Houses,” religious alternatives to traditional haunted houses that are designed to scare youth into a “sin-free life.”
October 24, 2006 – The Final Report of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), released by the Administration on Aging, marks a milestone in the fight for the rights of LGBT elders. Months of intensive organizing, including nationwide town hall meetings and the Task Force-convened “Make Room for All” diversity summit in December 2005 — a counterpoint to the WHCoA — have paid off in the explicit inclusion of LGBT elders in the report.
October 18, 2006 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., and 17 LGBT coalition partners launch Phone Home 2006, a unique campaign to reach voters in states facing anti-gay ballot initiatives this November. The Phone Home 2006 campaign asked people to contact the folks back home to ask them to vote against discrimination. The campaign was targeted at voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, states facing discriminatory ballot initiatives.
October 8, 2006 – The Task Force honored leaders and allies who have given significant support to the fight for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at the Annual Los Angeles Leadership Awards. Acknowledging the critical role that California continues to play on the road toward achieving full equality for LGBT people, the Task Force honors Alice Huffman is recognized for her role in garnering support from the California State Conference of the NAACP and its allies in pursuit of marriage equality; Sen. Barbara Boxer for her support for LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes legislation and opposition to same-sex marriage prohibitions at the federal level; and Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, co-directors of Quinceañera, for their important contributions on the cultural front.
September 28, 2006 – At a Commonwealth Club panel titled Values — yes, but whose values?, Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman and Bishop Yvette Flunder discussed the reclaiming of the moral values discourse. Foreman and Flunder expanded the conversation about values and made the case for how and why it is important to take back the values debate.
August 30, 2006 – The Task Force releases the results of its survey of the policy concerns of 1,440 attendees of LGBT pride celebrations. The survey, conducted in six cities during pride season 2006, listed 10 policy priorities for the LGBT community and provided a space to write in more, asking participants to circle three. The 10 priorities were immigration, anti-LGBT discrimination, hate violence/harassment, marriage equality/partner recognition, media representations, HIV/AIDS, same-sex domestic violence, health issues, elder issues and youth and education issues.
August 20, 2006 – More than 1,800 people attend Ascension, the first daytime dance party on the Fire Island Pines beach in nearly a decade. Ascension was organized by Eric von Kuersteiner, a community leader in the Pines, and half of the proceeds benefited the Task Force. The premiere event’s success ensures it will become a long-running tradition.
August 16, 2006 – A conservative political group asks the Cincinnati Board of Elections to remove its anti-LGBT referendum from the November ballot, an acknowledgment of fraud in its signature gathering and the likelihood of defeat at the polls. As a result, LGBT people will be protected from discrimination for the first time since 1992.The Task Force invested heavily in the Citizens to Restore Fairness campaign that was geared up to defeat the initiative, including early financial support and the deployment of three full-time staff, three summer organizing fellows and a campaign consultant.
July 25, 2006 – The Task Force leads a coalition of more than 60 civic, religious, labor and civil rights leaders and organizations declaring their commitment to working toward equality for gay and lesbian families in full-page newspaper advertisements appearing coast to coast. The ads, titled "Marriage Matters," appeared in 50 publications, including the New York Times, the Fresno Bee (Calif.), the Cedar Rapids Gazette (Iowa), the Raleigh News & Observer (N.C.), the Capital Gazette (Md.), the Cook County Daily Herald (Ill.) and La Opinion (Calif.). The ads feature photographs of five same-sex couples who have been together from five to 53 years and read, on behalf of the diverse signatories, "They're committed. So are we."
June 26, 2006 – The Task Force mourns the death of Eric Rofes, a leader, activist, visionary, former board member and dear friend to the Task Force. “Eric Rofes was one of the most extraordinary voices in our community. He spoke — and suffused others — with the joy of being who we are. His leadership in the communities where he lived, and in the national community, contributed enormously to our understanding of the need for honest discussions about the LGBT community and its issues. Eric’s death is a loss to all of us, of a rare voice of truth,” said Task Force board member Loren Ostrow, co-chair of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In his memory, the Eric Rofes Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in honor of one our movement’s most visionary leaders. The fund will provide scholarships to young activists who wish to attend Creating Change, the nation’s premier LGBT organizing conference.
June 16, 2006 – The Task Force launches the largest-ever study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans. The study, will be conducted by the Task Force Policy Institute in collaboration with API organizations in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., and will seek at least 500 participants to complete an online survey. The study will be released in spring 2007.
May 31, 2006 – The Task Force, in collaboration with Ipas, an international reproductive health organization based in Chapel Hill, N.C; and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, launches Mapping Our Rights: Navigating Discrimination Against Women, Men and Families, a new interactive Web site that scores the states and Washington, D.C., on their legislation regarding sexual and reproductive rights.
May 22, 2006 – In a commentary titled Si Se Puede!, Executive Director Matt Foreman says that immigration is and needs to be a gay issue. “There are many aspects of immigration that are undeniably “gay,” such as the reality that at least 500,000 of the estimated 12 million undocumented persons now in this country are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. But we support humane immigration reform regardless of our issues. We must build alliances and relationships of trust with other communities and causes. Building these kinds of alliances requires more than words, it requires reciprocal work. Can we take a stand? Si se puede!”
May 6, 2006 – The Task Force’s D.C. Leadership Awards, honoring U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Pulitzer Prize winner and Brokeback Mountain author Annie Proulx, and Food & Friends, an organization that provides critical support to people facing life-challenging illnesses, drew a 450-plus crowd. The event — the first full-fledged dinner the Task Force has done in D.C. in 13 years — raised nearly $200,000.
April 20, 2006 – More than 320 turn out for the New York Leadership Awards honoring New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the most powerful openly lesbian or gay elected officials in the nation, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham. The event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, was the Task Force’s first full fund-raising dinner in New York in 16 years and raised over $200,000.
April 4, 2006 – The Policy Institute releases a report that exposes the dishonesty of attempts by leaders of the Republican Party to lure black voters based on 'moral values' and spotlights the false promises inherent in Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's call for African-Americans to come "back home" to the GOP. The report, False Promises: How the Right Deploys Homophobia to Win Support from African-Americans, compares the voting records of key Republican policymakers in Congress to polling of African-Americans' top voting priorities and finds that Republican lawmakers have abysmal voting records on these issues. The report shows that legislators with low ratings on LGBT equality also receive low ratings from organizations that promote the rights of people of color, including the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
March 13, 2006 – The Task Force announces that the Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR), an umbrella organization for leading Protestant LGBT welcoming church programs, is merging with and becoming a program of the Task Force. The move, an unprecedented joining of LGBT secular and faith-based organizing, provides new resources, training and strategies that will increase the number of people of faith supporting equality for LGBT people.
March 5, 2006 – A record-breaking crowd of 5,400 danced to the music of Phil B. and enjoyed live performances by Kim English and Jason Walker at the Winter Party Festival, the annual Beach party on the sands of South Beach. The Task Force continued to make strides in its plans to evolve Winter Party into a festival offering events that appeal to all segments of our community. Two-thirds of the festival proceeds were donated by the Task Force for distribution lo local organizations serving the LGBT community through the Dade community foundation.
March 2, 2006 – The Policy Institute releases a report that reveals the ex-gay movement's new tactic of targeting lesbian, gay and bisexual youth for "conversion-therapy" and "preventive" measures. The report, Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism, reveals how groups such as Exodus International and Focus on the Family promote widely discredited theories on the root of homosexuality and now recommend "prevention" and conversion therapy treatments despite the growing body of research that shows these treatments to be ineffective and even harmful for many participants.
January 31, 2006 – The Task Force mourns the death of Coretta Scott King, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who died at the age of 78. Mrs. King worked tirelessly after her husband’s death in 1968 to carry on his legacy of social justice activism. She was a steadfast ally in the struggle for LGBT rights, and was honored by the Task Force in 1997 for her support of the cause. Matt Foreman was one of five LGBT community representatives at Mrs. King’s funeral near Atlanta.
January 31, 2006 – The Task Force National Religious Leadership Roundtable releases a groundbreaking study on the resources, challenges and opposition to LGBT-affirming religious organizations. The study, David v. Goliath: A Report on Faith Groups Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality (and What They're Up Against), includes large denominations and independent congregations.
January 10, 2006 – The Task Force Foundation announces that it has been awarded a combined gift of $3 million over three years from the Arcus Foundation and its founder and president, Jon Stryker, to support its nationwide campaign of organizing, capacity building, advocacy and public education to advance equal rights and respect for LGBT people.
March 17, 2005 – Following the murder of Washington, D.C., LGBT leader Wanda Alston, the Task Force contributes $10,000 to the reward offered for information leading to the identity of her slayer.
March 16, 2005 – The Policy Institute commemorates Women's History Month with a report on same-sex households headed by LBT women of color. This demographic is likely to raise foster or adopted children, but earn considerably less when compared to married, opposite-sex black and Hispanic/Latino households. Data are taken from three reports published by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute during the last year: Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census, Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Households in Florida: A Report from the 2000 Census and Asian Pacific American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: A Community Portrait.
March 2, 2005 – The Task Force congratulates the LGBT community and allies of Topeka, Kan., for narrowly defeating an ordinance that would have limited laws protecting LGBT Kansans from discrimination for the next 10 years. It would have also repealed existing city ordinances banning LGBT discrimination. The Task Force was a driving force behind the "Vote NO on March 1st" campaign; it recruited and paid for campaign staff, provided technical assistance, contributed approximately $20,000 in cash, and organized volunteer phone banks in New York; Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; and Tacoma, Wash., to call undecided voters. The vote against the ordinance was 52 percent to 48 percent (with 95 percent of the precincts reporting).
(L-R) Kansas ACLU cooperating attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, Sarah Swartz and Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman celebrating the March 1, 2005, defeat by Topeka voters of a Fred Phelps anti-LGBT ballot initiative.
March 1, 2005 – The Policy Institute releases its first-ever study of Hispanic and Latino same-sex households. An analysis of the results of the 2000 Florida census, the report confirmed that Hispanic same-sex households bear resemblances to heterosexual households in parenting, military participation and disadvantages in income and home ownership. Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples have more to gain from the legal protections of marriage, and more to lose if the state passes the proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage and other forms of partner recognition.
February 25, 2005 – The Task Force creates a new department of Public Policy & Government Affairs and hires three noted leaders and advocates — including former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Eleanor D. (Eldie) Acheson — to staff the department. Created to strengthen the Task Force's voice in federal matters, the new department focuses on LGBT community health and human service needs and legislation to address inequities in all phases of everyday life. Joining Acheson are Dave Noble, former executive director of National Stonewall Democrats and Amber Hollibaugh, a leading expert on LGBT senior issues and HIV in women, most recently from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Seniors).
February 15, 2005 – The Policy Institute releases a landmark study on black same-sex households in major American cities, confirming that such same-sex households are almost as likely as black married opposite-sex couple households to include children and more likely to report serving in the military; that Black same-sex couples are more likely to work in the public sector, and that they earn less than married black couples. Same-sex couples surveyed reside in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia. The five-city analysis is a supplement to the groundbreaking study, Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: a Report from the 2000 Census, released in October by the Task Force Policy Institute and the National Black Coalition.
February 8, 2005 – The Policy Institute issues a groundbreaking report titled Asian Pacific American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People: a Community Portrait. The analysis confirms that 82 percent of Asian Pacific American LGBT people surveyed had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation, and the same percentage had experienced discrimination based on their race or ethnicity. Future studies will study APA LGBT people in U.S. cities with large APA populations, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
February 4, 2005 – Matt Foreman hails a court opinion by New York City Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, determining that LGBT people should have equal access to marriage.
January 25, 2005 – The Policy Institute issues a report titled Glass Half Full, which chronicles the advance of U.S. laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Currently, 47 percent of all Americans — 138 million people — now live in a jurisdiction that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Ten years ago, the figure was 34 percent.
January 12, 2005 – The Policy Institute releases a report on anti-gay marriage measures in the 2004 elections. Titled Impact of Voting against Anti-gay Marriage Amendments on 2004 Re-election Campaigns in Five Midwestern States, it determines that incumbents were not harmed when they voted against anti-gay proposals to amend state constitutions. Among the findings: In Iowa, all 7 legislators who voted against the anti-gay amendment were re-elected, compared to 71 percent (10 of 14) of those who voted for it. In Minnesota, 98 percent (40 of 41) of House members who voted against the anti-gay amendment were re-elected, compared to 86 percent of those who voted for it. There were no Republican legislators in five states surveyed who benefited electorally from supporting anti-gay amendments.
January 20, 2005 – Matt Foreman denounces President Bush's second inaugural speech, suggesting that Bush's rhetoric about equal rights and dignity for all runs counter to his ongoing attacks on the rights of LGBT people. "President Bush focused much of his second inaugural address on spreading 'the force of human freedom' across the world. Here at home, over the past four years this administration and its allies have attacked the rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. In his second term, we challenge the president to be true to his words and begin proclaiming — instead of attacking — the rights, dignity, and matchless value of gay Americans."
December 20, 2004 – The Task Force salutes the fifth anniversary of same-sex civil unions in Vermont. Matt Foreman points out that more than 60 percent of Americans support civil unions or civil marriage for same-sex couples.
December 10, 2004 – The Task Force joins leading LGBT organizations in sending a letter to all members of Congress, denying that community groups will pull back from same-sex marriage or work with the Bush administration to privatize Social Security in exchange for support, as erroneously reported in a Dec. 9 New York Times article. "Where We Stand: A Letter to all Members of Congress" sets off a series of articles in major U.S. media, including the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe.
A feature story on "Gaymerica," the Task Force's online voter education campaign satirizing the way in which the right seeks to exploit irrational fears about gay people to divide the nation.
December 9, 2004 – In an interview with the New York Times, Matt Foreman explains the reason for the passage of 11 state amendments banning same-sex marriage. Foreman states: "Putting a fundamental right up for a popular vote is always extremely difficult to win, no matter what the cause. And when you are talking about something as recent as marriage equality, the bar gets raised even higher." Foreman adds that anti-LGBT backlashes have occurred in the past, following progress in the movement. But he pledged that the Task Force would remain on the offensive. "A lot of gay people understand the concept of bullies," Foreman said. "The worst thing you can do with a bully is not fight back because you'll only get hit harder the next day."
December 3, 2004 – The Task Force Religious Leadership Roundtable condemns CBS and NBC for refusing to run a television ad by the United Church of Christ, which promotes their policy of inclusiveness to all, and includes same-sex couples.
November 11, 2004 – The first post-election LGBT conference, the 17th Annual Creating Change Conference, opens in St. Louis and draws 2,500 people. Community's leaders regroup to assess the reasons for an overwhelming passage of anti-gay legislation in 11 states one week earlier.
November 4, 2004 – Matt Foreman calls a press conference to dispute a growing post-election myth that same-sex marriage was the reason for George Bush's re-election. Foreman states: "Frankly, the right did a better job in turning out their vote in key places. They've been building their machine — illegally, unethically, or both — through churches for 30 years. They have seized and occupied "moral values" for years. Our side is not going to make up these deficiencies in one cycle. But to pin all of this on "the gays" is wrong. Don't buy it."
November 3, 2004 – In national elections, anti-gay marriage amendments pass in 11 states, with budgets by pro-discrimination groups dwarfing the spending of local pro-equality activists.
November 1, 2004 – The Policy Institute issues a report titled Couples Affected By 2004 Anti-Gay Ballot Initiatives. The analysis concludes that upcoming discriminatory marriage amendments would affect more than 500,000 same- and opposite-sex couples in Kentucky, Ohio and Georgia alone.
October 19, 2004 – New York City goes to court to fight implementation of the Equal Benefits Law, which would prevent business with vendors who practice anti-gay discrimination. Condemning the mayor's action, Matt Foreman resigns his position on New York City's Human Rights Commission.
October 15, 2004 – Matt Foreman dismisses the notion that John Kerry unfairly referred to Mary Cheney's lesbianism during the presidential debates. He urges media to focus on critical issues, stating, "Can we talk about something real, not the patently bogus hurt and anger of Dick and Lynne Cheney?"
October 8, 2004 – Matt Foreman issues a rallying cry to all LGBT people to defeat the state-by-state constitutional amendments in the coming election through increased community organizing and voter registration. Foreman declares, "We need to face the obvious: we are huge underdogs in every one of these battles. Not because marriage equality is simply a losing issue. It is not. Not because we don't have talented and courageous leaders and organizations on our side throughout this country. We do. Instead, it's because — with only a handful of exceptions — our side simply does not have the time, the resources, or the infrastructure to beat back the forces being unleashed against us in this election year."
October 6, 2004 – The Policy Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition release a joint report titled Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census. The analysis confirms disproportional economic and social burdens faced by black same-sex households. These burdens include lack of access to state/federal aid programs designed only to aid married families. Black same-sex couples comprise 14 percent of all U.S. same-sex couples.
September 24, 2004 – The Task Force unveils its satirical "United States of Gaymerica" online campaign designed to ridicule the hate rhetoric of anti-LGBT groups. Three short films reaffirm the ridiculousness of right-wing claims against same-sex marriage, including one which calls for the farcical "Bovine Love Amendment."
August 8, 2004 – The Task Force assumes responsibility for organizing the famed Winter Party and Recognition Dinner, both significant fundraisers for Miami-Dade's LGBT community.
August 3, 2004 – Matt Foreman issues a statement demanding inclusion of transgender rights in the wording of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
July 7, 2004 – The Task Force, working with SAVE Dade, help pass legislation in Miami Beach City to include non-gender-specific language in its anti-discrimination policies. This provides protection for transgender people who are legally overlooked because they do not fit traditional gender stereotypes.
New York City Councilmember Margarita Lopez celebrating the defeat of anti-sodomy laws by the U.S. Supreme Court at a Task Force-sponsored rally at Stonewall Place in Manhattan on June 26, 2004.
June 17, 2004 – The Policy Institute releases a study titled Caregiving Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers. It confirms that LGBT New Yorkers are often required to become caretakers of aging family members, thus debunking the right-wing's "anti-family" message concerning lesbian and gay people.
June 6, 2004 – In response to national mourning over the death of former President Ronald Reagan, Matt Foreman releases an open letter, addressed to a close friend and colleague who died of AIDS. Foreman cites Reagan's inaction during the early days of the epidemic, which led to tens of thousands of deaths. The letter receives much attention in the press.
May 28, 2004 – The Policy Institute and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation launch a study of sex laws still on the books across the United States to help focus grassroots actions to change these laws, many drafted specifically against the LGBT community.
May 17, 2004 – Matt Foreman highlights the hypocrisy of President Bush in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision while simultaneously calling for renewed support for the discriminatory, anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment.
May 17, 2004 – As Massachusetts begins its first day of legally marrying same-sex couples, The Task Force issues a congratulatory statement. "This wonderful day would never have happened but for the more than four decades of struggle for equal rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people all across our nation. Day after day, year after year, we have opened hearts and changed minds." Sue Hyde, director of the Creating Change Conference, is among the first to wed.
May 14, 2004 – In a meeting between leading Senate Democrats and leaders of the LGBT community, including the Task Force's Matt Foreman, senators reaffirm the party's commitment to defeating any amendment to the constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage.
May 4, 2004 – Matt Foreman releases a statement chastising Democratic politicians for their modest mobilization against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Foreman states: "The religious right knows how to play adult politics: they insist on getting something in exchange for their support. It's time we did the same. Our community is owed a renewed pledge [from Democrats] — now — that any anti-marriage amendment is dead on arrival in the Senate."
Task Force Deputy Executive Director Rea Carey speaking via video at the March for Women's Lives, the largest-ever protest march in the nation's capital, on April 25, 2004.
(L-R) Sarah Reece, Development Database Administrator Henry Woodside, Executive Director Matt Foreman and Candy Cox carrying the Task Force banner at the March for Women's Lives in Washington on April 25, 2004.
April 26, 2004 – The Task Force brings LGBT activists to the D.C.-based March for Women's Lives, emphasizing the strong tie between reproductive rights and equal rights. From the pre-march rally speakers stage, Task Force Deputy Executive Director Rea Carey declares a common agenda: "Our legal legacies depend on each other. We will march today because the enemies of reproductive freedom are the same enemies of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
April 23, 2004 – The Task Force will join the upcoming March for Women's Lives in support of reproductive health and reproductive freedom. Matt Foreman urges LGBT community presence.
April 5-13, 2004 – The Policy Institute issues two reports analyzing the disproportionate financial burden on same-sex couples in both Massachusetts and Oregon. The reports are titled Economic Benefits of Marriage Under Federal and Massachusetts/Oregon Law. These studies confirm the lack of legal support for same-sex couples, as they are exempt from numerous federal and state tax advantages enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
April 1, 2004 – The Task Force announces that it will receive 10 percent of sales of the reissued book, Sisters, a lesbian-themed western written by Vice President Dick Cheney's wife Lynn in 1981. The donations will be made by Left Bank Books of St. Louis, Mo. (The Cheneys' daughter Mary is an out lesbian with a partner, while her father supports an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution.) Shortly after this fundraising offer is announced, Penguin Books chooses not to re-issue the book.
March 26, 2004 – The Task Force opens its Power Summit in Boston to prepare local activists for the upcoming Massachusetts constitutional battle over same-sexmarriage. Over four days of workshops, attendees learn grassroots campaigning, legislative action and door-to-door canvassing techniques. Guest speakers include Matt Foreman, Rea Carey and openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass).
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank speaking with Sarah Hamlen and Linda Blair, participants in the Task Force's March 2004 Power Summit.
Playwright Tony Kushner presenting the Leadership Award to Gene Robinson on March 15, 2004.
March 15, 2004 – V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the Anglican Communion, is honored by the Task Force at its 15th Annual New York City Leadership Awards.
March 11, 2004 – The Policy Institute issues a report about the self-titled "pro-family" groups fighting against same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Titled Anti-Gay Groups Active in Massachusetts: A Closer Look, it identifies their true homophobic agenda. Local media outlets are urged to investigate these groups' true motives and sources of income.
Executive Director Matt Foreman at the New York rally protesting President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on Feb. 24, 2004.
March 5, 2004 – The Task Force commends the efforts of local activists in Maine, Indiana and Wyoming in preventing the local passage of legislation outlawing same-sex marriage.
February 24, 2004 – President Bush calls for Congress to pass an anti-marriage amendment directed specifically at same-sex couples. Matt Foreman calls the action "a despicable new low." He adds, "The president's exhortation that this debate be conducted 'without bitterness or anger' is an insult to our families, our dignity and to our contributions as citizens to the life of this nation. We consider today's announcement a declaration of war on gay America."
February 24, 2004 – The Task Force organizes protest rallies in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in immediate response to President Bush's election-year call for Congress to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment.
January 14, 2004 – Responding to President Bush's plans for a $1.5 billion proposal to 'sustain marriage,' Matt Foreman warns that Bush's emphasis on same-sex marriage will really serve as a dividing wedge in the upcoming election year between two heavily Democratic bases, African-Americans and lesbian and gay people. Foreman states, "Struggling [African-American] families do not need $1.5 billion worth of marriage counseling. More importantly, they need jobs, health coverage, and decent schools for their children."
February 1, 2004 – The Task Force co-sponsors the first LGBT Asian Pacific Americans Conference, to be held in New York City in March. Its objective is raising the consciousness of one of the fastest growing minorities in the U.S. The conference will address invisibility, isolation and stereotyping, and the need to incorporate LGBT identity with sexual, racial/ethnic, language, gender, immigrant, and economic diversity within their own community.
December 18, 2003 – The Task Force renews its "Bring it home for the Holidays" campaign for Christmas, urging LGBT people and their allies to solicit support from family and friends against President Bush's anti-gay agenda.
December 16, 2003 – President Bush confirms on national television he will actively campaign to write anti-gay discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. The Task Force calls on all members to telephone the White House in protest. Matt Foreman responds: "We consider this a declaration of war on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender America. The president is clearly using our lives and families to pander to the political and religious extremists that comprise his base. We did not ask for this fight, but if the president wants one, he will have one."
November 24, 2003 – The Task Force issues a holiday appeal called "Talk Turkey: Bring it Home for the Holidays," asking LGBT people and their allies to explain to family members during Thanksgiving the damage to their lives caused by the president's anti-gay amendment campaign.
November 18, 2003 – In a historic decision, the Massachusetts High Court affirms that denying same-sex couples the right to marriage is an affront to their civil liberties and therefore specifically outlawed in the state constitution. The court demands a 180-day grace period before the decision takes effect, allowing the state Legislature to enact "appropriate action." Matt Foreman hails the decision as "an exhilarating victory, an important battle won in the struggle for equal rights."
November 17, 2003 – The Policy Institute releases a study on LGBT students and the children of LGBT parents titled Education Policy: Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. While violence and harassment against this group is widespread, more states are taking steps to make schools safer for them by banning student discrimination based on gender identity. The report makes a series of recommendations involving sex education and after-school programs to give LGBT youth a greater degree of acceptance.
November 7-16, 2003 – The 16th annual Creating Change Conference, sponsored by the Task Force, takes place in Miami and attracts 2,000 attendees from across the country. The themse is "Building an Anti-Racist Movement for Social and Economic Justice."
Celebrating the passage of domestic partnership registries on Nov. 4, 2003, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (L-R): Heights Families for Equality leader David Caldwell, Task Force Organizing & Training Director Dave Fleischer and Field Organizer Jason Cooper.
November 4, 2003 – In Cleveland Heights, Ohio, voters pass domestic partnership registries (both same-sex and opposite-sex) by a margin of 55 percent. The success comes after the Task Force's local grassroots efforts on the measure.
October 27, 2003 – The Task Force awards 10 Community Impact Fund grants totaling $500,000 to local grassroots organizations across the country. The grants will be used to significantly expand each organization's volunteer base and to use those volunteers to identify at least 15,000 pro-gay voters over a two-year period. This is the largest amount ever distributed by a national LGBT organization to state and local organizations.
October 17, 2003 – The Policy Institute releases a study titled Marriage Protection Week' Sponsors: Are They Really Interested in 'Building Strong and Healthy Marriages?' Analysis proves that President Bush's Marriage Protection Week efforts disproportionately focus on anti-gay (rather than pro-family) policies. Despite accusations of wealthy LGBT lobbying efforts, it is proven that anti-gay organizations dwarf even the largest pro-LGBT groups combined by more than 400 percent.
October 8, 2003 – California's racist Proposition 54 is defeated, thanks in part to the Task Force's get-out-the-vote effort, in which it identified anti-54 voters and later brought them to the polls through phone banking and neighborhood canvassing.
The Task Force organized over 1,500 volunteers for the August 2003 Civil Rights March on Washington under the banner "We Will March With You."
August 23, 2003 – The Task Force organizes more than 1,500 volunteers for the March on Washington under the banner, "We Will March With You." Matt Foreman addresses the marchers about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of universal equality, declaring, "I was honored to walk with my African American brothers and sisters in this inclusive 40th anniversary of our nation's historic civil rights March on Washington and I am proud of the LGBT community who came together from across the country to support it."
August 14, 2003 – Matt Foreman is invited to speak at the 40th Anniversary March on Washington. The Task Force plans several events during the weekend, each showcasing the prejudice faced by both African-American and LGBT communities.
August 1, 2003 – The Task Force completes the New Mexico Power Summit, a grassroots campaign across the state to unite community activists, recognize political allies and raise funds for future battles. The summit was launched to challenge recent efforts to overturn newly established hate crimes and nondiscrimination legislation in the state.
July 30, 2003 – Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman issues a strong statement called "Promise and Peril," warning LGBT people and their friends to prepare for a backlash against recent legal victories, including the repeal of sodomy laws and the passage of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
July 15, 2003 – The Task Force declares its support for DontAmend.com, a Web site and grassroots movement dedicated to fighting President Bush's campaign to amend the United States Constitution to prevent same-sex marriage.
June 26, 2003 – The Task Force celebrates the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down sodomy laws across the country, which had classified LGBT people as criminals for several generations. In 1986, The Task Force had launched the Privacy Project, the first national education and advocacy campaign to repeal consensual sodomy laws, following the Supreme Court's infamous 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick decision.
May 28, 2003 – The Policy Institute releases the first comprehensive report to disclose the positions of the Democratic presidential candidates on LGBT issues. The study also charts LGBT voting patterns across America, identifying these voters as comprising nearly 5 percent of the vote in congressional and presidential elections.
April 30, 2003 – The Task Force shares in the credit for the revision of anti-discrimination laws in Covington, Ky., which now includes sexual orientation as a protected category. The victory comes days after the Task Force joined with local and regional activists for the Ohio Valley Power Summit, a weekend dedicated to grassroots campaigning which draws 120 LGBT community leaders and allies.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, surrounded by New Mexico LGBT activists, signing nondiscrimination and hate crimes bills into law on April 10, 2003.
April 4, 2003 – New York City-based veteran LGBT activist Matt Foreman is named successor to Lorri L. Jean as executive director of the Task Force. Matt Foreman has worked for LGBT rights for 25 years, most recently as executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, the nation's largest statewide lesbian and gay political advocacy and civil rights organization. Previously, he helmed the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and Heritage of Pride, organizers of NYC's pride event. Foreman will take office in May.
February 20, 2003 – The Task Force celebrates 30 years of grassroots activism. During the past three decades, the Task Force has defeated anti-LGBT ballot measures across the nation, trained thousands of local activists and has been instrumental in both drafting and passing nondiscrimination laws on state and local levels.
2003 – Timed to coincide with the beginning of new legislative sessions, the Policy Institute presents a series of regional trainings to LGBT and straight activists based on information in the Family Policy Manual.
2003 – The Task Force announces a new feature of the Creating Change conference set to debut in Miami in November 2003: the Creating Change Skills Academy for Leadership and Action.
2003 – The Task Force embarks on a "Legislative Equality" tour, with Transgender Civil Rights Legislative Lawyer Lisa Mottet meeting with 150 activists from seven states across the country during the month of March. Two victories the Task Force assisted local leaders with were in Hawaii where the term "gender identity or expression" was added to the existing hate crimes law, and New Mexico, where both a hate crimes bill and an anti-discrimination bill have been signed into law by Gov. Richardson.
2002 – The Policy Institute issues three reports: Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud: Black Pride Survey 2000, written by five African-American researchers and co-published with nine black pride organizations, is the largest-ever survey of black LGBT people and reveals fascinating data on the demographics, policy priorities and experiences of discrimination, racism and homophobia; 2000 Census and Same-Sex Households: A User's Guide which is aimed at empowering activists and policymakers to access Census data on the 600,000 same-sex couples who self-identified on the 2000 Census; and the Family Policy Manual, which examines issues affecting LGBT families, partner recognition, parenting, youth and elder issues, health care and end-of-life issues, and the impact of welfare reform, faith-based initiatives and discrimination on LGBT families.
2002 – The Legislative Law Project and the Transgender Civil Rights Project assisted activists in introducing or passing pro-LGBT legislation in more than 20 jurisdictions.
2002 – The Policy Institute convenes a meeting of 30 researchers and advocates at the University of Minnesota to review existing research, identify policy innovations which impact safe schools initiatives and develop an agenda for future research, policy analysis and strategy development.
2002 – The Organizing & Training department scores multiple victories in defeating anti-gay ballot initiatives in Florida, Washington, Maine and Michigan. The Task Force provided monetary assistance and sent field organizers to help local activists organize effective campaigns. In Miami, the Task Force recruited nearly one hundred volunteers from across the country and sent the entire staff to assist in get out the vote efforts during the final weeks of the campaign. "We would not have won in Tacoma if the Task Force had not made the commitment they made to help us win. The Task Force is able to bring the skills out, teach them to local folks and, when they leave, the community is so much stronger than it ever was before. The Task Force is all about the movement and, in my opinion, there's nothing that advances the movement more than creating local avenues for change." - Tacoma, Wash., ampaign manager Laurie Jinkins.
2002 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Portland, Ore., and for the first time features a theme, "Building an Anti-Racist Movement: Working for Social and Economic Justice."
2002 – The Task Force secures its first million dollar grant. The Arcus Foundation Grant will dramatically expand the Organizing & Training department over the next three years.
2001 – Lorri L. Jean, executive director: "There has never been an example in the history of any oppressed group to get anything more than what they ask for. The Task Force will be out there on the cutting edge saying we want it all. I think when you look at [the Task Force's] history, it is extremely inspiring and it shows what a relatively small group of warriors can accomplish when they put their minds to it. Imagine what we could do if more people would get involved."
2001 – The Task Force opens first office on the West Coast, in Los Angeles, Calif.
2001 – Leaving Our Children Behind: Welfare Reform and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community is published by the Policy Institute and is the first comprehensive report of its kind to critically analyze welfare's particular impact on poor LGBT people and the LGBT community in general. The Policy Institute also issues Redistricting and the LGBT Community Strategy Memo.
2001 – The groundbreaking study Social Discrimination and Health: The Case of Latino Gay Men and HIV Risk is issued in both English and Spanish by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Racial and Economic Justice Initiative and documents the correlation between three forms of social oppression — homophobia, racism and poverty — and the risk-taking behavior associated with HIV transmission.
2001 – The Task Force founds the Legislative Law and Transgender Civil Rights Project to provide legislative and strategy assistance to activists and organizations working to pass LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances or to add coverage for transgender people to existing laws.
2001 – The Task Force llaunches the Power Summit program, which provides skills-building training to local activists to help strengthen the LGBT grassroots movement.
2001 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Milwaukee, Wis.
2000 – From Interpreting the NGLTF Story: "The Task Force has a culture that drives it. NGLTF exists to fill a void. Its purpose from its inception has been to do what needs to be done, but what no one else is doing. This sense of purpose propels it forward, creating a sense of daring, innovation, and living on the edge. It also generates an atmosphere of missionary zeal and sacrifice: the organization is there to serve selflessly the community's needs. Its periods of greatest achievements have come during those times when the void it chose to fill coincided with work that most needed doing and when the organization has been able to achieve consensus internally about what to do. It can lead to crisis and disarray as an organization tries to reinvent itself for the changing times. It prevents an organization from developing expertise and longevity in an area, as the work of one era comes to feel old and stale while the new always beckons alluringly. And it keeps the identity of the Task Force elusive precisely because its work keeps on shifting. No organization had national work in its mission when NGTF was founded in 1973. Starting with pioneering policy change in the 1970's to AIDS policy activity in the 80's, and grassroots activism in the 90's (through Creating Change, issue-oriented organizing projects, Policy Institute reports, and on-the-road training). NGLTF's strength is its ability to reconcile and synthesize approaches that often seem incompatible. NGLTF became a voice for inclusion, arguing that agendas must be developed that embrace the perspectives of the bisexual and transgender community."
2000 – Elizabeth Toledo, executive director: "George W. Bush is heading to Washington, and now is the time for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists — arm in arm with all social justice activists — to be visible and vocal. I believe the movement must again reaffirm the power of local organizing, which historically has been ingrained in the mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force."
2000 – The Task Force founds the Racial and Economic Justice Program.
2000 – The Task Force and the White House coordinate a "Federal Partnerships Day" to discuss opportunities for federal funding of LGBT community centers.
2000 – The Policy Institute issues Outing Age: Public Policy Issues Affecting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders report and Legislating Equality: A Review of Laws Affecting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People in the United States, a comprehensive report that provides the most extensive description to date of local, county and state laws addressing LGBT equality. This report is an invaluable tool for activists, journalists and policymakers who require reliable facts on laws affecting LGBT people but lack the time, resources or desire to conduct primary research. The Task Force co-publishes Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policy Makers.
2000 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Atlanta, Ga.
2000 – The Task Force organizes a vigil in Roanoke, Va., in memory of Danny Lee Overstreet and the six people wounded when a man opened fire in a local gay bar.
1990s – From Interpreting the NGLTF Story: "In the early 90's NGLTF headed in the direction of grassroots organizing rather than federal lobbying. By the late '90s, it reconstituted itself as an organization committed to progressive coalition building, even as most of its work focused on issues of concern to the LGBT community."
1990s – The Creating Change Conference throughout the decade spurred the formation of many organizations, including Southerners On New Ground (SONG); National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Centers; and the National Consortium of Directors of Campus LGBT Resource Centers.
1999 – The Task Force leads the planning for Equality Begins at Home, the first-ever coordinated set of lobbying events, public rallies and conferences resulting in 350 political actions in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
1999 – The Policy Institute issues Courting the Vote: 2000 Presidential Candidates Positions on LGBT Issues.
1999 – The Task Force founds the Legislative Lawyer Project to work on progressive LGBT legislation at the state and federal levels.
1999 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Oakland, Calif. The conference was inspiration for a 1,500-person march on the Oakland police department for a transgender person who had been the victim of a bias crime and then harassed by the police officer.
1998 – The Task Force holds "Celebrate Our Families" town hall meetings in more than a dozen cities around the country to educate people around LGBT family issues.
Then-Task Force Executive Director Kerry Lobel announcing "Equality Begins at Home" at the 1998 Creating Change Conference in Pittsburgh.
1998 – The Policy Institute issues From Wrong to Rights: Public Opinion on Gay and Lesbian Americans Moves Toward Equality and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Civil Rights Laws In the U.S., and co-publishes Challenging the Ex-Gay Movement Information Packet, Calculated Compassion: How the Ex-Gay Movement Serves the Right's Attack on Democracy and Income Inflation: The Myth of Affluence Among Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Americans.
1998 – The Task Force deploys field organizers to Wyoming to assist in the ensuing demonstrations surrounding the Matthew Shepard murder case.
1998 – The Task Force launches a "hate crimes tour," which travels to more than a dozen cities to discuss hate violence against LGBT people.
1998 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Pittsburgh, Penn.
1997 – The Task Force launches the Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Statewide Organizations.
1997 – The Policy Institute issues Blueprint for the Second Clinton Administration Regarding LGBT Issues and All Politics Are Local: Analyzing Local Gay Rights Legislation.
1997 – The Creating Change Conference is held in San Diego, Calif.
1996 – Kerry Lobel, executive director: "The Task Force strongly supports civil rights protections and affordable health care for transgender [people]. We loathe discrimination and violence perpetrated against transgenders and stand in solidarity with transgender people in their struggle for visibility, inclusion, equality and justice."
1996 – The Task Force coordinates simultaneous grassroots demonstrations and press actions in 36 communities across the country to raise media visibility and awareness about the Supreme Court ruling on opposition to Colorado's Amendment 2. The campaign is dubbed UNDO 2.
1996 – The Task Force sponsors production of the video, All God's Children, which counters Gay Rights/Special Rights, an anti-gay video focusing on the African-American community.
1996 – The Policy Institute presents "Strategizing Change: A Roundtable on Law and Social Science," at Georgetown University Law Center.
1996 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Alexandria, Va.
1995 – Melinda Paras, executive director: "The Task Force believes it is time to recognize young organizers and activists as leaders in their own right and to offer young people the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to create change. The Youth Leadership Training Institute will offer those tools to these outstanding activists."
1995 – The Task Force activates the Policy Institute, headed by Dr. John D'Emilio, a nationally known scholar in the field of gay and lesbian history, gender and women's studies.
1995 – The Policy Institute holds the first weeklong youth leadership training.
1995 – The Policy Institute produces a Campus Organizing Manual and a Marriage Organizing Kit. It also releases the first annual survey of state legislation: Capital Gains and Losses: A State-by-State Review of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV/AIDS-Related Legislation.
1995 – The Task Force convenes the first Progressive People of Color Grassroots Organizers Summit.
1995 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Detroit, Mich.
1994 – Peri Jude Radecic, executive director: "We know that the Right Wing will use any research results against gay and lesbian civil rights, because theirs is a movement based not on seeking the truth but on perpetuating bigotry," Radecic said in response to an NIH study on sexual orientation. "Our movement, on the other hand, wants to end discrimination against [LGBT] people, regardless of how or why sexual orientations vary."
1994 – At the Task Force's request, Attorney General Janet Reno issues a historic, first-time order to the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service to mediate anti-gay conflict in Ovett, Miss. From the Sister Spirit Defense Committee: "The Hensons produce the Gulf Coast Women's Music Festival, run a food bank and a literacy program, and are currently building 'Camp Sister Spirit,' a feminist educational and cultural center. In the last several months, these lesbians have been under attack by the local residents of Ovett, Mississippi , where the camp is located. Several violent and threatening incidents have been reported by the Hensons including discovering a dead female dog shot in the stomach hanging on their mailbox, and death threats and bomb threats received through the mail, called into local radio stations, and by telephone. Nightly gun shots across their land and anti-lesbian notes left at their mailbox have also been reported." The Task Force took a major role in exposing this harassment and mobilized local, state and federal intervention. Task Force staff were on the ground in Ovett, with staffer Robin Kane working as media director. "I believe the Task Force literally saved our lives here at Camp Sister Spirit in Ovett, Mississippi. We are forever grateful for all that was done on our behalf! May you be there another 30 years and more!!" - Brenda Henson, M.Ed., founder of Sister Spirit Incorporated, upon receiving a Task Force 30-year anniversary celebration announcement in 2003.
1994 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Dallas, Texas. The Rev. Mel White, who left the Falwell industry in 1993 after coming out, addresses the conference and apologizes for his work with anti-gay leaders and organizations. White came out in 1993 after serving as a ghost writer for members of the religious right including: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham and Jim Bakker.
1993 – Torie Osborn, executive director: "We must recognize that the president sparked a very important debate that helped move the country out of the monumental state of denial that surrounded gays and lesbians in the military," Osborn said. "But it says something about his character that he sparked the debate and then ran."
1993 – The Task Force's Urvashi Vaid is a featured speaker at the March on Washington (MOW): "We've got to march from Washington into action at home. I challenge every one of you, straight or gay, who can hear my voice, to join the national gay and lesbian movement. I challenge you to join NGLTF to fight the Right. We have got to match the power of the Christian supremacists, member for member, vote for vote, dollar for dollar."
1993 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Durham, N.C.
1992 – The Task Force develops the Fight the Right Project, and produces the Fight the Right Action Kit which has been used by thousands of activists and organizers to help combat anti-gay ballot initiatives proliferating throughout the country.
1992 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Los Angeles, Calif. The Boycott Colorado project — in response to the passage of Amendment 2 — is launched at this conference. (Colorado voters passed Amendment 2, though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1996.) The Task Force assists local activists in the defeat of anti-gay referendum Ballot Measure 9 in Oregon.
1992 – The Task Force leads demonstrations at the Republican National Convention in Houston, Texas, where Pat Buchanan has declared a culture war on gay and lesbian people.
1991 – The Task Force launches a national campaign against the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain for their homophobic policy stating that their "obviously" gay employees were "failing to comply with normal heterosexual values" and fired them. More than a decade after Cracker Barrel attempted to purge its system of gay employees by ordering unit managers to fire non-heterosexual workers — a decision it rescinded verbally at that time following negative media exposure but which it had never repudiated in writing, a majority resolution from shareholders requested a change, and at its winter 2002 shareholders meeting Cracker Barrel agreed to amend the equal-opportunity policy of its 466-unit Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain to say it would not discriminate based on sexual orientation. Former NGLTF board member Lynn Cothren was leader of the fair employment campaign which was conducted primarily in the South.
1991 – The Task Force holds its first L.A. fundraising dinner, which was covered in the Los Angeles Times, the Advocatef and the Hollywood Reporter. This dinner is believed to be the first major LGBT event where Hollywood celebrities lend their name and presence to a non-AIDS specific LGBT fundr-aising event.
1991 – The Task Force delivers the first briefing on people of color and AIDS to the Congressional Black Caucus.
1991 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Arlington, Va.
1990 – The Task Force leads the national hate crimes coalition from the early 1980s through the signing of the federal Hate Crimes Statistic Act.
Then-Task Force Executive Director Urvashi Vaid interrupting President H.W. Bush's first and only AIDs policy speech at the National Community AIDS Partnership meeting on March 29, 1990.
1990 – The Americans with Disabilities Act is signed into law, with the Task Force lobbying heavily for persons with HIV/AIDS to be included.
1990 – The Task Force's Urvashi Vaid interrupts President Bush's first and only AIDS policy speech at the National Community AIDS Partnership meeting, holding a sign reading "Remember Gay People With AIDS."
1990 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Minneapolis, Minn. This is the first Creating Change to be held outside D.C. area, and the first to utilize a local host committee.
1980 – The Task Force founds the Fund for Human Dignity, a non-profit educational arm of the organization and hires a lobbyist, establishing a Task Force presence in Washington D.C. for the first time.
1982 – Virginia Apuzzo, executive director: "As our movement grows larger, the traditional pursuit of access and visibility are no longer enough. We need to move from access to responsiveness and from visibility to full participation. We must not just think, but do."
1982 – Jeff Levi is hired as the Task Force's first lobbyist, and the first anywhere to specifically focus on AIDS issues. (In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control reports in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on June 5 about five men with rare form of pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii. On July 3, CDC issues a second advisory on Kaposi's sarcoma, 20 cases in New York, six in California.) GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) which implies it is restricted to gay men, is changed to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) at the adamant urging of Bruce Voeller in a meeting with CDC officials and as dramatized in the movie And the Band Played On. Death toll is at more than 200. Response to AIDS still slow from mainstream media, even by end of year with more than 300 dead and 800 infected. AIDS makes the front page for the first time in a Los Angeles Times story May 31, "Mysterious Fever Now an Epidemic." First network mention is on NBC in June, Tom Brokaw: "CDC study shows that the lifestyle of some male homosexuals has triggered an epidemic of a rare form of cancer."
1982 – The Task Force launches the first national project to combat anti-gay violence and establishes the first national crisis hotline. The Anti-Violence Project provided technical assistance to local groups, coordinated the first national surveys of hate-based homophobic violence and worked to bring that violence to the attention of the Justice Department.
1983 – Researchers discover the virus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV) that causes AIDS. The Task Force , in coalition with other gay organizations, raises money and helps launch AIDS Action and the NORA (National Organizations Responding to AIDS) coalition.
1984 – The Task Force issues the first comprehensive report of anti-gay violence and victimization. The Task Force Anti-Violence Project, headed by Kevin Berrill, is one of the most significant projects in the history of the LGBT movement.
1984 – The Task Force obtains the first funding by the federal government for community-based AIDS service organizations.
1985 – To make clear the commitment to gender parity and lesbian issues, the Task Force changes its name to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Mid-1980s – From Interpreting the NGLTF Story: " By the mid-'80s, NGLTF made a conscious effort to keep both insider and outsider approaches to change in balance, so that both were in the Task Force tool kit of advocacy methods. Thus, NGLTF was willing to negotiate with the FDA over its approach to testing and approving AIDS drugs at the same time it was actively supporting militant ACT UP demonstrations against the FDA."
1985 – Jeff Levi, executive director: "For several years we have pressed the federal government to respond to the violence [against LGBT people] yet the actual response has been denial and neglect."
1985 – The Task Force's main offices move to D.C. in response to the increasing emphasis of work at the federal level.
1985 – The Task Force , in NGLTF v. Oklahoma, wins the overturn of a law that prohibited gay teachers from discussing gay rights.
1986 – LGBT History: In Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution allows states to pass and enforce sodomy laws targeting homosexuals. This resulted in the first LGBT Washington D.C. demonstration (in October 1987) and the largest demonstration (estimated at 5,000 people with an estimated 700 arrested) against the U.S. Supreme Court.
1986 – The Task Force convenes groups working on sodomy repeal at the annual Southeastern Gay and Lesbian Conference in Atlanta, marking the beginnings of the Task Force's Privacy Project.
1987 – The Task Force sodomy/pride tour of southern states visits 10 cities during pride season to promote work on sodomy laws.
1987 – The Task Force was part of the March on Washington steering committee, and was represented by various staff members from the very beginning through the event itself. Urvashi Vaid served as the media coordinator for the march, and organized the first in a series of town hall meetings organized under the Task Force's Privacy Project, bringing an estimated 500 attendees. The Task Force produced a resource guide of action packets for activists to take home and gave away hundreds of signs regarding state sodomy laws for the march, with the tagline "never another jailed for love."
Then-Task Force Media Director Urvashi Vaid and then Privacy Project Director Sue Hyde at the 1987 National March on Washington for lesbian and gay rights.
1988 – LGBT History: October, ACT UP stages a wild civil disobedience action "die-in" in the street in front of FDA headquarters in Rockville, Md. More than 1,000 people participate in the nine-hour protest; 176 are arrested. The Task Force's Sue Hyde is chair of the action committee.
1988 – The Task Force convenes Military Freedom Project, to overturn the ban on military service for gays and lesbians and to campaign for military freedom for women's rights. The Task Force exposed instances of women being called "dykes" and "lesbos" for refusing to have sex with men.
1988 – The Task Force, in coalition with HRCF, ACT UP and others, brings AIDS issues to both major conventions in Atlanta (DNC) and New Orleans (RNC).
1988 – First of the annual the Creating Change conferences is born. Held in Washington, D.C., the conference will grow to an average of 2,000 activist participants from all over the country each year.
1989 – The Task Force launches the Families Project in conjunction with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
1989 – Urvashi Vaid, executive director; Vaid's involvement with the Task Force began as a board member in 1985.
1989 – A National Day of Mourning is organized by the Task Force's Privacy Project to protest Bowers v. Hardwick on the occasion of the third anniversary of the decision.
1989 – The Creating Change Conference is held in Bethesda, Md.
(L-R) Task Force co-founders Bruce Voeller, Frank Kameny and Howard Brown at a press conference announcing the founding of the Task Force in November 1973.
1973 – National Gay Task Force Foundation founded in New York.
1973 – The Task Force works to change the American Psychiatric Association's classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and worked with psychiatrist allies to defeat a proposed association-wide referendum to stop the declassification.
1973 – The Task Force lobbies the American Bar Association to be on the record in favor of sodomy law repeal.
1974 –The National Gay Task Force, Inc., is founded and incorporated in New York as a separate 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization. NGTF, Inc., is a "social welfare" organization legally authorized to engage in significant grassroots and direct lobbying to either help defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and other measures or help push pro-LGBT legislation and other measures.
1975 – The Task Force lobbies for the successful ruling by the U.S. Civil Service Commission allowing gay people to serve in government employment.
1975 – The Task Force works on the introduction of the first gay rights bill in the U.S. Congress (HR5452), sponsored by Rep. Bella Abzug.
1975 – The Task Force secures a resolution from the National Council of Churches condemning anti-gay discrimination.
1975 – The Task Force coordinates one of the first national protests against the media in response to a homophobic episode of the television show Marcus Welby, M.D.
1975 – The Task Force wins a reversal of an IRS policy that denied tax exempt status to organizations that argued that homosexuality was acceptable.
1975 – The Task Force conducts the first national survey of major corporations to determine their hiring practices, then begins to advocate for nondiscrimination policies.
1976 – Bruce Voeller and Jean O'Leary, co-executive directors. "[The Task Force's purpose is] to re-educate society, including its homosexual members, to esteem gay men and women at their full human worth and to accord them places in society which will allow them to attain and contribute according to their full human and social potential." - Bruce Voeller, in the firstTask Force newsletter.
The Task Force staff and board in 1976.
1976 – The Task Force initiates Democratic National Convention project, surveying presidential candidates and organizing constituent meetings. NGTF gathered signatures from 600 delegates in support of gay rights and sodomy law repeal.
1977 – The Task Force launches national educational campaign in response to Anita Bryant's anti-gay campaign to repeal gay rights ordinances across the country.
1977 – Task Force Executive Director Jean O' Leary is appointed to President Carter's International Women's Year Commission and coordinated the passage of sexual preference resolutions at 30 state conferences and the national conference in Houston — a milestone in making equality for lesbians a key feature of mainstream feminist advocacy.
March 26, 1977 — The Task Force arranges with President Jimmy Carter’s assistant Midge Costanza for a historic first White House meeting with representatives of several gay and lesbian organizations. This is the first time in our nation’s history openly gay and lesbian are welcomed at the White House and the first official discussion of gay and lesbian rights in the White House. In addition to Task Force Co-Executive Directors Bruce Voeller and Jean O’Leary, leaders at the meeting include Pokey Anderson, Charles Brydon, Charlotte Bunch, Frank Kameny, Cookie Lutkefedder, Mary Mendola, Elaine Noble, Rev. Troy Perry, Betty Powell, George Raya, Myra Riddell and Charlotte Spitzer.
1978 – The Task Force releases the first-ever study of private sector workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
1978 – The Task Force successfully lobbied the U.S. Public Health Service to stop certifying gay immigrants as "psychopathic personalities."
1979 – Charles Brydon and Lucia Valeska, Task Force co- executive directors.
1979 – The Task Force co-sponsors the first national conference of third-world gays and lesbians, which spurred autonomous organizing in the 1980s within people of color communities.
NOTE: This list is not all-inclusive of every project the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked on over the last three decades. It is meant to be a way to flesh out major accomplishments throughout the years. If you feel a major milestone has been inadvertently omitted, please e-mail dates and relevant information to media@theTaskForce.org
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