Press

Election 2011 includes victories for workers, voters’ rights, women’s reproductive freedom and LGBT rights

Date: 
November 09, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT:

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

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 — Supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Michigan’s Traverse City, workers’ rights in Ohio, women’s reproductive freedom in Mississippi, and voters’ rights in Maine were among those scoring big victories in the Nov. 8 election. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force assisted in many of these efforts.

Victory in only LGBT ballot measure campaign this election

Residents of Traverse City, Mich., voted to retain the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which includes explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. According to local media reports, the city voted to keep the ordinance by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force provided staff and financial support leading to this victory. A team of Task Force organizers helped get out the vote in Traverse City, the nation’s only LGBT-specific ballot campaign this Election Day. The Task Force worked with Traverse City Equality and sponsored a Michigan Power Summit with a phone-banking session specifically aimed at raising critical dollars to secure victory in Traverse City.

“The people of Traverse City have sent a clear message that they value their LGBT friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members and don’t want to see them left vulnerable to discrimination. This victory creates a stronger and more welcoming city not only for LGBT people and their families, but for everyone. We were proud to have partnered with Traverse City Equality in the nation’s only LGBT-specific ballot measure campaign this election. This is a victory for Traverse City and for our common humanity,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Mississippi “Personhood Amendment” fails

In one of the country’s most highly watched contests, voters in Mississippi have rejected Initiative 26, which sought to amend the state Constitution to establish legal “personhood” at the moment of fertilization. If it had passed, Initiative 26 would have become the nation’s most restrictive law against abortion and birth control.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force traveled to Jackson, Miss., to phone bank and stand in solidarity with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Mississippians for Healthy Families campaign.

“This is a victory for Mississippi and for all those who value women’s lives and the right of people to make very personal — even life-saving — decisions about their own bodies free of unwarranted government intrusion,” said Carey. “Initiative 26 would only have served to hurt women and their families, not help. As a staunch supporter of reproductive freedom, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stands in solidarity with the women of Mississippi and our organizational partners fighting to protect women's rights and lives."

Victory for voters’ rights in Maine and union rights in Ohio

Mainers voted to overturn a new Republican law that restricted voters’ rights by ending same-day registration in the state. For nearly four decades, eligible Mainers have been able to register and vote on Election Day, but in June the GOP-controlled state Legislature voted to overturn the law. Then, a coalition of progressive organizations, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s local partner EqualityMaine, launched a People’s Veto campaign to restore same-day voter registration, gathering the required petition signatures in a record-breaking four weeks.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been in Maine working with the Protect Maine Votes campaign and assisting in the push to get out the vote.

“We were proud to join with Mainers from all walks of life who refused to be stripped of their essential voice in government,” said Carey. “We should be making it easier, not harder, for people to participate in this most fundamental American act. Mainers sent the message, loud and clear, with their votes today."

In Ohio, meanwhile, supporters of workers’ rights scored a big victory with the repeal a Republican-backed law limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees. Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal the law. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a longtime ally of labor, applauds the outcome.

Win in Iowa

Iowa Democrat Liz Mathis won in Iowa’s 18th District state Senate race. With this win, Democrats will maintain a majority in the state Senate, where the leadership has halted the process for seeking an anti-marriage constitutional amendment in that state. Marriage equality was achieved in Iowa by a state Supreme Court decision in 2009.

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

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund builds the grassroots political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Task Force Action Fund does this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation, and works to pass pro-LGBT legislation and other progressive initiatives. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the Task Force Action Fund are not tax-deductible.