MassEquality PAC

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BREAKING: Massachusetts Makes History Again

Contact: Michael Givens
Communications Manager
617-878-2316 (o)
857-244-0218 (m)
Twitter: @massequalitypac

Massachusetts Makes History Again

MassEquality celebrates historic LGBTQ victories

NOVEMBER 4, 2014 — BOSTON — Nineteen of the 23 candidates endorsed by the MassEquality PAC successfully won their seats, including Maura Healey for Attorney General. The MassEquality PAC was the first organization to endorse in the Attorney General’s race. MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini issued the following statement in response:

“This election offered historic victories for LGBTQ equality. Up and down the ballot, statewide and locally, voters chose pro-LGBTQ champions. There are still so many issues to address for the LGBTQ community, from elders aging into isolation, to youth forced into homelessness, to basic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people. We are pleased that voters have chosen champions who have already proven that they will work to address these needs in our Commonwealth.

“We are thrilled with the election of Maura Healey for Attorney General, who will make history when she takes office as the country’s first openly gay state attorney general. Maura’s leadership on LGBTQ issues has improved our Commonwealth and our country, and MassEquality looks forward to continuing to work with her to continue the Commonwealth’s national leadership on LGBTQ issues. 

“Although our long-time and uniquely accomplished partner on LGBTQ issues, Martha Coakley, did not win the race for governor, the success of pro-LGBTQ champions up and down the ballot sends a clear message that Massachusetts continues its national leadership on LGBTQ issues. We congratulate Governor-Elect Charlie Baker on his victory, and we look forward to working with his administration to meet that mandate.

“We elected 19 of our endorsed pro-LGBTQ champions to Beacon Hill. In doing so, we won five open seats, and re-elected 13 champion incumbents. These champions will be essential to advancing our 2015-2017 agenda of supporting homeless LGBTQ youth, ensuring LGBTQ elders may age with dignity, and finishing the job of ensuring basic nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals by securing public accommodations protections.”

The MassEquality PAC stands with, develops, and elects candidates who outspokenly champion justice and equality for all LGBTQ people across Massachusetts. Since 2004, the PAC has consistently researched, interviewed and endorsed pro-equality candidates for both state and local offices. The six-member board works tirelessly to ensure that these candidates have the platforms to advocate for equality for all members of the LGBTQ community.

MassEquality Statement on Mitt Romney Fundraiser for Charlie Baker

Contact: Michael Givens
Communications Manager
617-878-2316 (o)
857-244-0218 (m)
Twitter: @massequalitypac

MassEquality Statement on Mitt Romney Fundraiser for Charlie Baker

BOSTON – October 16, 2014 – Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito in Boston this evening. MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini offered the following response:

“It comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito’s records that Mitt Romney, who made a national name for himself opposing LGBT equality, would visit Boston to validate and raise funds for their gubernatorial ticket. Baker’s first act as a potential Governor has been to bring Polito, one of Romney’s closest lieutenants when she was in the State House and currently a rising star in the Tea Party, onto his ticket. As a lawmaker, Polito worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Romney in his relentless crusade to strip the Commonwealth’s same-sex couples of the freedom to marry, and she voted against repealing a racist anti-miscegenation law that Romney had revived to prevent same-sex couples from other states from marrying in Massachusetts. Polito opposed funding for support services for LGBTQ youth, and both Baker and Polito oppose protecting transgender people from discrimination. And, of course, both subscribe to the tenets of the state Republican Party, which “updated” its platform to oppose marriage equality earlier this year, just weeks before Massachusetts celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the freedom to marry.

“Today is Spirit Day, a national day of reflection on the bullying epidemic and its dire, sometimes fatal, consequences for LGBTQ youth. Because of leaders like Martha Coakley, who led our state’s Anti-Bullying Commission and earlier this year saw her LGBTQ anti-bullying bill passed and signed into law, our state has some of the strongest protections for youth. These young people need to have an advocate in the Corner Office who is invested in them. They cannot afford a Romney 2.0 administration and our Commonwealth, a national leader on civil rights and equality, can do better.”

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MassEquality PAC Statement on Primary Results

BOSTON ─ September 10, 2014  ─ Seventeen of the 29 candidates endorsed by the MassEquality PAC this election season faced opponents in Tuesday’s Primary Election. Fourteen of them prevailed, including Martha Coakley for Governor and Maura Healey for Attorney General. The MassEquality PAC was the first organization to endorse Healey in the Attorney General’s race. MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini issued the following statement in response:

“Each of our endorsed candidates is a champion of LGBTQ equality and we are so proud of their hard work over these last weeks and months that led up to yesterday’s election. Martha Coakley and Maura Healey’s records of game-changing action and accomplishment across the full range of issues impacting LGBTQ people offer hope for the challenges that remain to be tackled, and their triumphs are victories for full LGBTQ equality. They stand poised to make history as the Commonwealth’s first elected female Governor and the country’s first openly gay Attorney General, and MassEquality’s tens of thousands of members will be working hard over the next eight weeks to drive Massachusetts toward these historic milestones whose time has come.”

“Harriette Chandler (1st Worcester), Sonia Chang-Diaz (2nd Suffolk), Eric Lesser (1st Hampden & Hampshire) and Barbara L’Italien (2nd Essex & Middlesex) won their state senate primaries while Evandro Carvalho (5th Suffolk), Dan Cullinane (12th Suffolk), Mike Day (31st Middlesex), Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex), Michelle DuBois (10th Plymouth), Gloria Fox (10th Suffolk), Mary Keefe (15th Worcester), and Steve Ultrino (33rd Middlesex) also prevailed in their bids for house seats. We also applaud Steve Kerrigan, who, if elected in November, will make history as the country’s first openly gay lieutenant governor.

“Massachusetts has emerged from Tuesday night with a promise to continue its legacy as a history-maker, and it’s imperative that supporters of fairness, inclusion and opportunity double down in the weeks ahead to make that promise real. These candidates, and many more, face challengers in November, some of whom work against equality. With the support of our tens of thousands of members throughout the state, MassEquality will continue working hard to turn Tuesday’s momentum into victories for full equality on November 4.”

The MassEquality PAC will announce further endorsements in the coming weeks for the upcoming General Election on November 4th.

The MassEquality PAC stands with, develops, and elects candidates who outspokenly champion justice and equality for all LGBTQ people across Massachusetts. Since 2004, the PAC has consistently researched, interviewed and endorsed pro-equality candidates for both state and local offices. The six-member board works tirelessly to ensure that these candidates have the platforms to advocate for equality for all members of the LGBTQ community.

Why Reproductive Rights Matter to MassEquality

This Pride Month, we reached out to our friends at MassEquality to highlight the important work being done across the state to protect and empower LGBTQ individuals and to examine the intersection of sexual health/reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights.

MEPAC_LogoQ: MassEquality posted an LGBTQ Coalition Agenda to support progressive legislation and partner with groups that do amazing work across communities and identities. What inspired this agenda, and why is it important to the work MassEquality does?

A: MassEquality’s foundation is rooted in addressing and eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The LGBTQ Coalition Agenda addresses several social and economic justice issues that affect populations within the larger LGBTQ community: these are LGBTQ issues. While we may not be the lead advocate organization, we work in coalition with other groups because we have a shared goal and because there is power and strength in numbers. Unifying to fight for social justice issues is the best way to combat the inequalities prevalent in our society.

Q: Why do you think reproductive rights and sexual health matter to the LGBTQ community?

A: Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, we all have a fundamental right to be in control of our own health and our own bodies. Yet, there are some who believe they have the right to dictate how we use and care for our bodies. From limiting access to reproductive health services for women to imposing scientifically inaccurate health education curricula on students to denying us health insurance because of our gender identity, we often receive the message that we do not have freedom over our own bodies and health.

Reproductive rights and sexual health are important to the LGBTQ community because they are LGBTQ issues. We have less access to resources, information and care than the non-LGBTQ community.

Transgender people, for example, have much less access to the competent health care services and resources they need. According to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, more than 27 percent of transgender people have been denied health coverage simply due to their gender identity. And, according to a study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital and Fenway Health, 60 percent of young adults (ages 13-24) are not aware of their HIV/AIDS status, despite the fact that the risk of infection still exists within this age group.

MassEquality and Planned Parenthood, along with our allies, are devoted to ensuring that the LGBTQ community, suffering with a lack of culturally competent care, access and information, are given a voice and an opportunity to re-take control of their health.

Q: The Healthy Youth Bill, which PPLM has been working to get passed in Massachusetts, is also on your LGBTQ Coalition Agenda. This bill would ensure that any school that elects to teach sexuality education would use a comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate curriculum. Why is comprehensive sex education so important to MassEquality and the LGBTQ community?

A: Schools have an obligation to provide accurate and age-appropriate information about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, proper use of contraceptives, healthy relationships, intimate partner violence, sexually transmitted infections and other information that will allow these young people to make healthy and informed decisions in adulthood.

Surprisingly, teen pregnancy rates are actually higher among LGB youth than their heterosexual peers. According to the 2011 MA Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 13 percent of LGB-identified teenagers reported experiencing either getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant, compared to only 4.7 percent of their heterosexual classmates. With proper instruction and comprehensive materials and resources, teen pregnancy rates would drop, STIs would be detected and treated earlier (and possibly prevented altogether), young people would have a better understanding of gender, sex, and sexuality, and, most importantly, they could make wiser decisions around life choices and health.

Comprehensive sex education is important to the LGBTQ community because young people are not provided with the knowledge and resources they need to understand their bodies, sexuality and identities. Such an education gives young people a resource to help them understand themselves and gives all students an opportunity to understand the importance of sexual health and the different sexual and gender identities that exist in our society. This kind of comprehensive curriculum plants the seeds of understanding and compassion for diversity instead of cruelty and ignorance.  

Q: Recently, both PPLM and MassEquality, endorsed Martha Coakley for Governor. What about ME_PPAF_BlogCoakley makes her an LGBTQ rights champion?

A: Martha Coakley has been a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ community during her tenure as Attorney General. She has fought alongside the LGBTQ community on equal rights for transgender people, championed legislation to combat the bullying epidemic in the Commonwealths’ schools, and was the only Attorney General in the country to successfully challenge the Defense of Marriage Act. She is a proven leader with an impressive record of taking on the issues that others shy away from. She takes action to make an impact and instill a sense of justice. She’s the only gubernatorial candidate who has a consistent record on a range of social justice issues that have helped improve the quality of life for many people in Massachusetts and nationwide.

She has a concrete plan to help the LGBTQ community when she’s elected. Martha plans to provide women more access to affordable reproductive healthcare services. Also, she has committed to developing better strategies to address intimate partner violence, which disproportionately affects women and members of the LGBTQ communities and provide more resources for survivors of intimate partner violence.

Q: As well as our mutual endorsement of Coakley, PPLM and Mass Equality have endorsed Maura Healey for Attorney General. Can you tell us why Healey is the right candidate to protect and defend LGBTQ rights?

MauraHealey_PrideParadeA: As head of the Civil Rights Bureau in the Attorney General’s Office, Maura Healey played a leading role in addressing hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and religion. She supported Attorney General Martha Coakley in challenging DOMA and has been an enthusiastic advocate for LGBTQ rights and non-discrimination.

As the first openly gay attorney general, Maura will be in a unique position to not only implement progressive policies, but she will also be an invaluable role model to members of the LGBTQ community.

Like Martha, she has a comprehensive plan to protect reproductive rights and support women’s health care through enforcing the buffer zone legislation and ensuring that reproductive healthcare centers have perimeters that provide safety for women seeking services, regulating the practices of crisis pregnancy centers and ensuring that the information they provide is medically accurate, and working to ensure universal access to contraception.

Q: Why is this upcoming election such an important one in regards to women’s health and LGBTQ rights?

A: There’s a lot at stake in this election. Both Martha Coakley and Maura Healey are strong candidates for their respective offices and have proven records of supporting both women’s health and the LGBTQ community.
In the larger national context, LGBTQ and women’s rights are under attack. With Martha Coakley and Maura Healey occupying two of the most influential offices in the state, they have a prime opportunity to continue the Commonwealth’s tradition of being a role model on progressive issues. Their work on DOMA set the stage for legally married same-sex couples across the nation to access more than 1,000 federal benefits previously denied to them! Their efforts to support the buffer zone law and ensure rape and incest survivors have emergency contraception indicates their commitment to stemming the tide of this attack.

Both of these candidates have the compassion, knowledge, skills, and experience to take the Commonwealth in a bold new direction and we’re proud to support them!

Martha Coakley, Candidate for Governor

Martha CoakleyMartha Coakley is a proven leader in standing up for LGBTQ rights:

  • In 2009, as Attorney General, Coakley challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), because the law was unfairly preventing more than 16,000 same-sex families in Massachusetts from receiving benefits that were rightfully theirs, securing the first federal court decision to strike the law down. When the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s office filed an amicus brief, which stated “our firm conviction that in order to truly achieve marriage equality all couples must enjoy the same rights and protections under both state and federal law.” Coakley’s leadership in Massachusetts inspired the Department of Justice not to defend DOMA, and when the high court struck down DOMA’s ban on federal marriage recognition last year, it echoed many of Coakley’s original arguments.
  • Coakley has fought to expand protections for transgender individuals in Massachusetts. In 2011, she was the only gubernatorial candidate to testify in person in support of proposed legislation that would expand legal protections and ensure equal access, and told the Joint Judiciary Committee that “our Commonwealth is stronger when every person can live and work free of harassment and threats.” Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in November 2011.
  • Coakley chaired the Massachusetts’ Commission on Bullying Prevention and, in partnership with MassEquality and the Anti-Defamation League, sponsored legislation that requires schools to update anti-bullying plans to include protections for especially vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ youth. The law allows the Commonwealth to better measure the effectiveness of our anti-bullying programs and create a safer environment for every student. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in April 2014.

However, Martha Coakley recognizes that the work is not done and that too many members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and lack access to critical services like safe housing and health care. To tackle these challenges, she has proposed a comprehensive plan that will improve conditions for LGBTQ people in Massachusetts. Visit Martha’s website to see her comprehensive plan.

Click here to explore Martha Coakley’s campaign webpage.

Are you interested in volunteering Martha or donating to her campaign? Click on the links below to visit Martha’s website and get plugged in (you will be leaving the MassEquality PAC website)!