FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2009
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Equality California Expands Marriage Fight
Leaders hired to strengthen work in communities of color, faith and to ensure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples
SAN FRANCISCO -- Equality California is bringing two leaders on board to expand EQCA's efforts to achieve full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Marc Solomon will lead EQCA's efforts to restore and keep the right to marry and increase public support and acceptance of LGBT families as its marriage director. Solomon led the fight to protect marriage equality in Massachusetts as the executive director of MassEquality.
Andrea Shorter will serve as coalition coordinator to strengthen and expand statewide coalition building efforts and to help bring resources and support to LGBT organizations, especially those who concentrate on issues impacting communities of color and faith. Shorter is co-founder and director of And Marriage For All, a public-education campaign that engages communities of color in dialogue about the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
"We are thrilled to have such extraordinary, accomplished leaders join our team as we continue our efforts to achieve full equality for LGBT people and to keep doing the long-term work of changing hearts and minds," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.
Solomon has worked full-time on efforts to protect marriage equality since February, 2004, just after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Massachusetts Constitution guaranteed the right of same-sex couples to marry.
"Marc Solomon has been a true leader and tremendous partner in our work to protect the right of same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts," said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. "His ability to lead a grassroots campaign for social change is second to none."
Facing an unprecedented attack from Gov. Romney, Pres. Bush and the religious right, Solomon led the largest and most successful grassroots campaign in Massachusetts history to defeat efforts to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to take away the right to marry.
"I am thrilled to join Equality California and lead its efforts to ensure the freedom to marry," Solomon said. "Our work in Massachusetts centered on engaging hearts and minds around the stories of same-sex couples and their families. As Californians hear more from LGBT families in their own communities, I am sure that many more will come around to support the freedom to marry."
Shorter has a long track record of success in the fight for LGBT equality and other social justice issues. She is the co-founder and chair of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, the largest African-American LGBT political organization in the Bay Area.
"Andrea Shorter has a proven record of leadership and effectiveness," said San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty. "She will bring a needed infusion of grassroots organizing and her commitment to working in diverse communities to our cause."
"I am pleased to join forces with Equality California to direct and expand its coalition building efforts," Shorter said. "Our work through And Marriage For All to engage people of color and faith in honest, plain talk about the importance of the freedom to marry will complement EQCA's appreciation that true coalition building must extend beyond the purpose of meeting a singular goal such as marriage equality, but must work to create and support common ground, common cause across communities. I look forward to working with EQCA to grow a statewide broad-based coalition to advance long-term civil and human rights interests for all."
Shorter has served as deputy executive director of the NAMES Project Foundation/AIDS Memorial Quilt, where she worked with founder Cleve Jones to launch several key HIV/AIDS outreach and education initiatives targeting African-American and South-African communities. Additionally, she was the first African-American elected officer of the LGBT Caucus of the California State Democratic Party. Andrea serves on the Commission on the Status of Women for the City and County of San Francisco since being first appointed by former Mayor Willie Brown, Jr. in 2001. She was recently elected by her colleagues to begin an unprecedented fourth term as President of the Commission.
EQCA is also hiring regional field organizers in locations statewide including the Central Valley, Inland Empire and Orange County to support and expand its volunteer efforts on marriage, legislation and electoral work and to partner with other organizations committed to achieving equality for LGBT people. Job descriptions for open positions at EQCA can be found at www.eqca.org/jobs.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org