The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Honors Heroes In The Fight For Recognition Of GLBT Families

August 06, 2002 The Fifteenth Annual Provincetown Sunset Deck Party Weekend, August 24th And 25th, 2002

Cape Cod nonprofit serving GLBT community to receive $5,000 grant; local leaders also honored

Sunset Deck Party
Sunday, August 25th
The Pied, 193A Commercial Street

VIP Dinner
Saturday, August 24th
Front Street Restaurant, Commercial Street

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Provincetown Host Committee today announced that Larry Courtney and Sharon Smith will receive the Task Force's 2002 National Leadership Award, as part of NGLTF's fifteenth annual Provincetown weekend.

Each summer, The Task Force hosts a weekend of events, beginning with a Friday night social event, a Saturday night dinner, and culminating with a Sunday sunset deck party. The events are organized by the Provincetown Host Committee to educate the community and to raise funds to support the national work of the Task Force, which includes providing technical assistance to communities facing anti-gay ballot measures; tracking, monitoring, and providing counsel and assistance in drafting legislation which impacts gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) communities; and operating the Policy Institute, the nation's only fully staffed think tank dedicated to research, critical policy analysis, and strategy development to advance equality for GLBT people.

Larry and Sharon will be on hand to receive the award at the 15th Annual Sunset Deck Party, which will be held on Sunday, August 25th. Larry, whose partner, Eugene "Gene" Clark, died on September 11th at the World Trade Center, is struggling to gain the same benefits being offered to surviving married partners. Sharon is known for her work in California, where she has fought to be recognized as the legal survivor of her partner, Diane Whipple, who was mauled to death by a dog in her San Francisco apartment building.

In addition, each year at the Deck Party the Task Force recognizes exceptional people within the Provincetown GLBT community and honors them for their contributions with Community Service Awards. This year's honorees are:

Jon Arterton
Jon is the conductor of the Outer Cape Chorale, a founding member of the Flirtations, and a tireless fund-raiser for the UU Meeting House Restoration.

Elizabeth (Betty) Villari
Betty originally founded the Provincetown Gym. She also is a dedicated Provincetown activist and volunteer. Betty serves on the board of the local soup kitchen and participates in many other worthy charities.

In addition to presenting the National Leadership and Community Service Awards, the Task Force will award one organization a grant of $5,000 to support local or regional organizing on the Cape. The grant reflects the Task Force's commitment to strengthening local activism.

A special VIP Dinner will be held at the Front Street Restaurant on August 24th (the Saturday night preceding the Deck Party) to honor the award recipients. To purchase tickets to the VIP Dinner or the Deck Party, or for any logistical information, please contact Peter Larson, Special Events Manager, by telephone at (202) 332-6483, ext. 3311 or by e-mail at

To schedule interviews with any of the awardees, for background information on the work of the Task Force, to obtain media passes to the events, please contact Jubi Headley, Director of Communications, at (202) 332-6383, ext. 3303 or by e-mail at


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by 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.