Task Force fighting for fairness: Victory in Kalamazoo and Washington state!

Task Force fighting for fairness: Victory in Kalamazoo and Washington state!

The Task Force worked side by side with the victorious One Kalamazoo campaign in Kalamazoo, Mich., where voters passed Ordinance 1856, banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations. "The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's training, expertise, financial contributions and full-time, on-the-ground staff were a valuable part of our grassroots campaign," said One Kalamazoo campaign manager Jon Hoadley.

The Task Force also contributed to the successful Approve 71 campaign in Washington state, which extended domestic partner rights to same-sex couples.

"We would not be celebrating this victory if it were not for Washingtonians' commitment to civil rights, our amazing campaign staff, our volunteers, our community and allies, and the support of organizations like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force," said Josh Friedes, campaign manager, Washington Families Standing Together. "The Task Force spent time with us on the ground to train our campaign field team and contributed financially to help us ensure this victory."


Task Force organizers and fellows march with supporters to the Oct. 25 people of faith rally in support of Kalamazoo's LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.

Check out our full Elections 09 gallery on Flickr.

Task Force commentaries on these victories

Task Force board co-chair Marsha Botzer published the compelling “Election 2009: Proud to be a Washingtonian,” on OutSpoken, and board member Hans Johnson published the poignant “In Kalamazoo, 'You’re Welcome' Takes on New Meaning,” on Daily Kos.

Task Force statements

Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force, had this to say about these two important victories:

"This marks an important victory for Kalamazoo, where voters have affirmed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are part of the fundamental social fabric of the city, which now joins nearly 20 other cities in Michigan that have enacted nondiscrimination ordinances." Read the full statement here.


"Passage of Referendum 71 is a victory for fairness and families in Washington state. Voters stood together, listened carefully and rejected the opposition's effort to distort the facts.” Read the full statement here.

Our work in Kalamazoo

The Task Force Action Fund:

  • Contributed $10,000 to One Kalamazoo, the campaign heading up the effort to preserve the ordinance.
  • Dedicated Task Force organizers to work on the ground shoulder to shoulder with One Kalamazoo for months leading up to the election.
  • Organized the Kalamazoo LGBT Power Summit, which brought together local leaders for an intensive three-day training. The Power Summit taught core skills necessary for building any successful initiative campaign, including volunteer recruitment, direct fundraising and door-to-door voter canvassing.
  • Learn more about the Task Force's extensive work in Kalamazoo here.

Our work in Washington state

The Task Force Action Fund:

  • Contributed $10,000 to underwrite the hiring of a statewide field director
  • Provided advice and expertise to develop campaign and field plans
  • Sent a senior organizer to train the campaign’s field team

Our work in Maine

By a close margin, voters in Maine repealed the state marriage equality law. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force thanks the thousands of volunteers and campaign workers who fought their hardest for equality in Maine, to the No on 1 campaign and EqualityMaine for their enduring leadership, and to the voters who cast their ballots for fairness rather than fear-mongering.

Said Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey: "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."

The Task Force Action Fund committed staff time and financial assistance to the No on 1 campaign in Maine during the 2009 election cycle.