Task Force responds to New Jersey marriage equality vote

January 07, 2010

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

Vows to keep fighting until fundamental freedom is attained

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to the New Jersey Senate's failure today to pass a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry.

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

"The New Jersey Legislature has let down the state and the nation by failing to uphold the promise of equality and the state Constitution's demand that same-sex couples be treated equally. Denying this fundamental freedom to the people of New Jersey — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families — doesn't protect anyone. This action by the Legislature simply places more families in harm's way and makes them more vulnerable to discrimination and hardship.

"There is ample proof that New Jersey's civil unions law fails to provide equal protection. We will never settle for second-class status for our community. We will continue fighting until full equality is attained, and this includes marriage.

"The tide is turning nationwide in favor of marriage equality, and we are confident that New Jersey will join the growing number of states that already extend marriage equality to same-sex couples. In New Jersey, and all across the nation, same-sex couples and their families are sharing their stories and their lives with others in a conversation that is transforming our country. That doesn't end today. If anything, it inspires and compels us to press forward.

"We thank the senators who voted for equality today. We stand with Garden State Equality and thank it for its tremendous leadership and dogged organizing for equality in New Jersey. And we stand with Lambda Legal as it goes back to court to win this fundamental freedom."

The Task Force's work in New Jersey

The Task Force Action Fund has been working to secure marriage equality in New Jersey. This includes:

  • Committing three organizers to work full-time on the ground with Garden State Equality for the final two months of its advocacy campaign.
  • Giving $10,000 to Garden State Equality to hire additional field staff; dedicating organizers to work on the ground in New Jersey in November and December; and providing ongoing technical assistance to Garden State Equality's field team to help implement its field plan.
  • Developing and co-leading a training with Garden State Equality staff to equip New Jersey volunteers with the skills to recruit volunteers and raise money to support the fight for marriage equality.
  • Bringing a team of New Jersey field leaders to the Task Force's Maine LGBT Power Summit in April 2009.
  • Dedicating organizing fellows to work on the ground in New Jersey, and committing communications staff to spearhead earned media efforts in mid-December.

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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.