Press

Task Force signs onto ‘Prepare to Prevail’ statement in California

Date: 
July 16, 2009

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

WASHINGTON, July 16 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has signed onto the "Prepare to Prevail" statement in California, which was recently drafted and released by three California organizations: API Equality-LA, HONOR PAC and the Jordan Rustin Coalition. It is urging supporters of marriage equality to forego a rush to the 2010 ballot box to repeal Proposition 8; instead, it calls upon the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to start now in building the campaign infrastructure and robust public education efforts needed to win back marriage equality. Get more details about the "Prepare to Prevail" statement here.

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

"As a state that has often served as a political and cultural trendsetter for the rest of the country, what happens in California has national significance for the LGBT movement. That's why for well over five years the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has devoted significant human and financial resources to winning the freedom to marry in California. This commitment remains steadfast as we continue to work on the ground in California with the Vote for Equality Project of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and Equality California to build effective models of person-to-person voter persuasion about marriage equality.

"We support the soonest possible return to the ballot box to repeal Prop. 8 that gives the LGBT community a fighting chance to win. The priorities expressed in 'Prepare to Prevail' are about the hard work it will take at the grassroots to move towards a solid victory, and we look forward to continued work with our partners in California to build a strong, diverse and successful campaign for marriage equality."

Before returning to the ballot, the Task Force believes it’s important to:

• Build solid majority support for the freedom to marry before returning to the ballot.  Multiple polls have shown that support for marriage equality has remained flat since November 2008. The LGBT community will be in a stronger position to win if we’re defending, and not attempting to create in the midst of a campaign, majority support at the ballot box for the freedom to marry.

• Demonstrate a proven ability to move former Yes on 8 voters to support marriage equality. Both polling and real-world testing door-to-door have shown that following the public debate over Prop 8, many voters’ positions have hardened; consequently, few voters remain undecided about whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. 
 
• Develop persuasive messaging capable of moving former Yes voters that can also withstand vigorous campaigning from the opposition.

• Build a campaign infrastructure that’s able to raise the significant amount of money and recruit the army of volunteers needed to prevail. The LGBT community could measure its readiness to return to the ballot by establishing a set of benchmarks to be met, over time starting from now, for fundraising, volunteer recruitment and other campaign infrastructure goals. 

More about the Task Force’s commitment to California


For more than five years, the Task Force Foundation and its sister organization, the Task Force Action Fund, have invested heavily toward winning the freedom to marry in California.

Throughout this period, the Task Force Foundation:

• Contributed combined grants of more than $130,000 to state and local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organizations, including Equality California and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, to launch statewide public education efforts in support of the freedom to marry.

• Held two Power Summits in California, one in 2005 and one in 2007, which trained more than 170 leaders and volunteers in fundraising, volunteer recruitment and speaking persuasively to promote the freedom to marry in California.

• Worked closely with Equality California to assist in assembling a coalition of more than 45 national, statewide and local organizations to support a statewide public education campaign promoting the freedom to marry known as Let California Ring.

• Continued our five-year partnership with the Vote for Equality Project of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center in early 2009 to provide ongoing support and technical assistance for its door-to-door canvass program promoting the freedom to marry. Task Force staffers are continuing to work with the project to organize a robust door-to-door canvassing program focused on persuading former Yes on 8 voters to support the freedom to marry. Additional staff are working with Equality California’s field director to recruit, hire and train several organizers to launch similar persuasion canvasses statewide.

Throughout this period, the Task Force Action Fund:

• Dedicated all Task Force Organizing & Training staff to work on the ground in California within the No on 8 campaign's field operation last year. The Task Force team assumed vital leadership roles by directing statewide, regional or local field offices.

• Organized the "Equality Calls" project in 2006, which recruited hundreds of volunteers across the state to call thousands of members of LGBT groups and progressive allies and educate them about the importance of the freedom to marry.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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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.