City of Los Angeles Boosts Equality for Lesbian & Gay Couples

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Lambda cheers city resolution on eve of National Freedom to Marry Day on Feb. 12
February 11, 1999

LOS ANGELES (Thursday, February 11, 1999) -- On the eve of the second annual National Freedom to Marry Day, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, applauded the City of Los Angeles for condemning a California anti-gay, anti-marriage ballot initiative.

The Los Angeles City Council late Wednesday approved, 9-2, a resolution opposing the so-called Definition of Marriage Initiative.

The initiative has qualified for the state's March 2000 ballot. It would forbid California from recognizing civil marriages of same-sex couples, even when such marriages become legally possible somewhere in the country.

"Los Angeles now has joined state and national political leaders and numerous California clergy and community leaders in speaking out against the meanspirited, anti-marriage measure sponsored by state Senator Peter Knight," said Myron Dean Quon, staff attorney for Lambda's Western Regional Office, who testified before the City Council in support of the resolution.

"It's especially exciting that California's largest city has made this strong statement in time for Friday's National Freedom to Marry Day, when more than 70 communities up and down the state and throughout the country will show support for lesbian and gay families," Quon noted.

The resolution said in part, "...the City of Los Angeles opposes the Definition of Marriage Initiative and its attempt to render any group of citizens less equal than others. Be it further resolved that the City of Los Angeles opposes state interference with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage."

Earlier this week, California Senate President John Burton, Assembly Speaker Sheila Kuehl, and other state officials spoke out against the anti-marriage initiative, as has San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

In New York, Lambda Marriage Project Director Evan Wolfson said, "With this year's second National Freedom to Marry Day, civil rights supporters from Butte, Montana to Boston will demonstrate support for equality in civil marriage laws. Non-gay and gay Americans all have a stake in the equal civil rights of gay families."

Currently, civil marriage cases are pending in the highest courts of Hawaii and Vermont that could result in breakthroughs for same-sex couples.

Begun in 1998 to build non-gay support for those cases, and to counter backlash around the country, National Freedom to Marry Day combines the themes of love and equality, falling just before Valentine's Day on Lincoln's Birthday, February 12.

For information about National Freedom to Marry Day events, contact: Lambda at 212-809-8585 or the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center at 323-860-7352.

To interview clergy, lesbian and gay couples, and other supporters, contact: the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation at (212) 807-1700.


Contact: Myron Dean Quon 213-937-2728 Peg Byron 212-809-8585, 888-987-1984 (pager)


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