Task Force applauds Gov. Schwarzenegger for signing into law three LGBT rights bills

October 13, 2009

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

Task Force first national organization to call for Harvey Milk Day

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing into law three lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights bills. Schwarzenegger signed a bill that marks May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, recognizing the contributions of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk. The Task Force was the first national organization to support the Milk day of recognition and recently called upon the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp in honor of the gay leader.

Schwarzenegger also signed a bill granting same-sex couples married before the passage of Proposition 8 full recognition as married spouses in California, regardless of whether they married in California or out of state. In addition, the new statute confirms that same-sex couples married outside of California after Nov. 5, 2008, must be given all of the rights, protections and responsibilities of married spouses under California law, with the sole exception of the designation of "marriage."

The governor also signed the "LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill," which will leverage funding for same-sex domestic violence services. He vetoed two bills: the "Equal ID Act," which would have allowed transgender people to obtain new birth certificates, and the "LGBT Prisoner Safety Act," which would have considered sexual orientation and gender identity to safely house prisoners.

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

"We applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger for doing the right thing by honoring a true civil rights hero. Harvey Milk gave hope to a generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. His history is our history, and a day in his honor will preserve his legacy for generations to come. It is a great tribute to mark a day in name of an openly gay leader for his outstanding contributions to California and the nation.

"We are also grateful that Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed the 'Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act,' and the 'LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill,' two measures that will provide important protections and services to the LGBT community.

"We are disappointed by the vetoes of the 'Equal ID Act' and the 'LGBT Prisoner Safety Act.' We urge the state to keep working to ensure LGBT people receive the rights and protections in these critical areas.

“We congratulate Equality California for spearheading the efforts on these critical bills.”

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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.