Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hails latest victory in Washington state

Date: 
June 07, 2006

Measure to repeal LGBT nondiscrimination law fails

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, June 7 — Opponents of a Washington state law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity failed to gather enough voter signatures to force a public vote on the law, which took effect today. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the work of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocates, particularly Washington Won't Discriminate and our statewide partner Equal Rights Washington, and other fair-minded Washingtonians for this latest strong stand against discrimination.

"This has been a wonderful 24 hours for the cause of fairness and equality — first, the measure to repeal Washington state's nondiscrimination law failed to qualify for the ballot, then nearly 6 million more Americans woke up living in a jurisdiction that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination, and finally, the United States Senate overwhelmingly rejected the Federal Marriage Amendment. These are all victories over the forces of political and religious intolerance and are cause for celebration from coast-to-coast," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"It's amazing to wake up in a state today where you can no longer be fired from your job because of your sexual orientation or gender identity," said John Vezina, campaign manager of Washington Won't Discriminate, the campaign organized to defeat the measure if it qualified for the ballot. "This shows that the people of Washington don't want to discriminate against their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends, colleagues and family members. This shows that fairness is an important value in Washington state."

Barbara Green, interim executive director of Equal Rights Washington, said, "Washington residents believe in fairness for all, and they have demonstrated that by their refusal to sign onto this mean-spirited effort."

The nondiscrimination law, which took effect today, passed earlier this year after 30 years of struggle. Washington is the 17th state to extend nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, and the 8th state to extend such protections to transgender people. In addition, the District of Columbia offers nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Task Force will continue to work with its partner, Equal Rights Washington, to build on the momentum of this victory, and strengthen the LGBT political infrastructure in the state. The Task Force has made a long-term commitment to the state of Washington, as it continues its work on behalf of all LGBT Washingtonians.

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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.