FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2009
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Legislative Committee Passes Equality California-Sponsored Measure Challenging Prop. 8
Diverse group of more than 700 supporters descend on Sacramento for EQCA Lobby Day
SAN FRANCISCO – The Assembly Judiciary Committee passed a resolution yesterday in a 7 to 3 vote opposing Prop. 8 as an illegal revision to the California Constitution. The hearing took place during Equality California’s Lobby Day at the state capitol where more than 700 volunteers from across the state met with legislators and staff urging them to support companion resolutions, SR 7 (Leno) and HR 5 (Ammiano). The resolutions are sponsored by Equality California and would put the legislature on record as opposing Prop. 8 as an invalid revision to the California Constitution.
The hearing included powerful testimony from resolution proponents, Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center on Lesbian Rights and Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California. Lobby Day participants also shared their personal stories in testimony before the legislature, putting the real harm caused by discrimination into the legislative record.
“This was one of the most impactful lobby days of its kind I have seen in Sacramento,” said Senator Mark Leno, Chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus. “The determination that Lobby Day participants from all over the state showed toward fighting Proposition 8 was moving and powerful. In ever greater numbers, we continue to demonstrate the importance of ensuring that the laws of our state treat all Californians equally.”
“We sponsored Lobby Day to help connect grassroots activists with elected officials so that volunteers could engage with our legislators and help them understand why supporting the invalidation of Prop. 8 is absolutely crucial to preserve the equal protections guaranteed to all Californians by the Constitution,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. “We are honored that so many allies and supporters of equality came together with a single purpose – to overturn Prop 8.”
Lobby day brought together a diverse group of civil rights and faith leaders, community members and allies from across the state.
“As an African-American man of faith, I believe it’s my duty to speak out against the injustices of Prop. 8, which threatens the fundamental purpose of our constitution – providing equal protection for all people,” said Lobby Day participant Rev. Art Cribbs, pastor of San Marino Congregational United Church of Christ. “For the Constitution to have any meaning, core principles such as equal protection simply can’t be up for grabs in every election.” Rev. Cribbs also testified before legislators during the public comment portion of the hearing on HR 5.
Lobby Day followed a series of coordinated actions over President’s Day weekend focused on the effort to invalidate Prop. 8. EQCA also co-sponsored a rally with Equality Action NOW, Marriage Equality USA, and California Outreach at the Capitol.
“With the resolutions opposing Prop. 8 moving forward this spring, we need to make sure the necessary votes are secured to pass them in both houses," said EQCA Director of Government Affairs Alice Kessler. "And we are absolutely thrilled with the tremendous outpouring of interest from allies who took the time to talk to their elected officials about why this issue is important not only to them but for all Californians.”
EQCA works to achieve equality and secure legal protections for LGBT people. To improve the lives of LGBT Californians, EQCA sponsors legislation and coordinates efforts to ensure its passage, lobbies legislators and other policy makers, builds coalitions, develops community strength and empowers individuals and other organizations to engage in the political process. www.eqca.org
Watch Video of Assembly Judiciary Committee passing HR 5 >>