Press

Task Force extends thoughts and prayers to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy following diagnosis

Date: 
May 21, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT:
Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Deputy Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, May 21 — U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) left Massachusetts General Hospital this morning, a day after physicians announced that the longtime lawmaker had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Kennedy, 76, was hospitalized over the weekend after suffering a seizure at his family's compound in Hyannisport, Mass. Kennedy has served in the U.S. Senate since 1962.

Kennedy was the original sponsor of hate crimes prevention legislation in 1997. Since then he has fought tirelessly to secure repeated successful votes on the legislation, including passage this year of a version that included both sexual orientation and gender identity. Kennedy voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, led opposition to a federal marriage amendment and opposed an anti-marriage measure in Massachusetts. He has fought to end funding of abstinence-only education programs. Kennedy is the Senate lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and has been an outspoken supporter for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and increased funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

Statement by Rea Carey, Acting Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Senator Kennedy's diagnosis. The senator is a hero to people across the country and around the world. He has spent his life fighting for justice for working people, children, women, LGBT people, immigrants, the disabled, people living with HIV/AIDS and so many others who have looked to his leadership and vision for a more just society. Our thoughts, prayers and hopes are with him and his family at this difficult time. Senator Kennedy has been a courageous advocate on behalf of so many and will no doubt bring this same fighting spirit to this latest challenge.”

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.