Maine becomes the fifth state to grant the freedom to marry to same-sex couples

May 06, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, May 6 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund issued the following statement after Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation today making Maine the fifth state to grant the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

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

"We are thrilled with Gov. John Baldacci's thoughtful and well-reasoned decision to sign this critical legislation. This is a great day for Maine, and a great day for this country. With recent marriage victories in Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, this action affirms the national momentum building for marriage equality. From coast to coast, people are recognizing that the fundamental protections provided through civil marriage are a critical part of fairness and full equality. Through debate, dialogue and careful consideration, states are concluding that denying this basic right doesn't protect anyone; it simply places more families in harm's way and makes them more vulnerable to hardship.

"We thank Gov. John Baldacci and the Maine Legislature for doing the right thing by supporting this legislation, and we congratulate our state partner, EqualityMaine, for this hard-fought victory. Because of EqualityMaine's leadership, same-sex couples have won the freedom to marry in Maine. The Task Force is proud of its 5-year partnership with EqualityMaine to achieve today's victory. We will be with them every step of the way to ensure marriage equality is protected."

More about the Task Force's investment in Maine

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund have invested significantly in the work of EqualityMaine to build greater political power for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

The Task Force Foundation has:

  • Given $82,000 to launch and grow EqualityMaine's first-ever voter identification project. The grant enabled EqualityMaine to hire its first statewide organizer to recruit and train hundreds of volunteers to talk with voters face to face about marriage equality and identify voters supportive of the issue. As a result, EqualityMaine has built a list of more than 50,000 identified supporters of the freedom to marry, one of the largest such state lists in the country.
  • Organized the Maine LGBT Power Summit in late April, which brought together 140 leaders from across the country, including more than 70 Mainers, for training in campaign fundamentals. At the summit, participants walked door to door and spoke with more than 1,100 voters about marriage equality.
  • Trained more than 30 additional Maine leaders at Task Force Power Summits in 2004-2005 to support EqualityMaine's voter identification project.

The Task Force Action Fund has:

  • Sent organizers to work on the ground in Maine in February 2009 to launch EqualityMaine's marriage equality field program. Following the April Power Summit, several Task Force organizers remained in Maine to provide additional field support in the final days leading up to the Senate vote.
  • Provided $20,000 to EqualityMaine in seed money in January 2009 to hire nine field organizers.
  • Dedicated a Task Force organizer to work full time for one month in the No on 1 campaign in 2005, which successfully defeated a referendum that would have repealed its statewide nondiscrimination law.
  • Contributed $93,000 to the No on 1 campaign.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.