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MassEquality Endorses Martha Coakley for Governor

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Attorney General Martha Coakley, candidate for governor, today received the endorsement of MassEquality based on her proven and forward-looking leadership on building an inclusive Commonwealth. MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to end discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

"Martha Coakley has been a vocal, game-changing leader on every issue the LGBTQ community has faced over the course of her career - the freedom to marry, transgender equality, hate crimes, school safety and more," said Kara Coredini, executive director of MassEquality. "We are encouraged by democratic and independent gubernatorial fields so rich with strong LGBTQ allies, as it's a hallmark of how far we have come in Massachusetts. But Martha Coakley is the only candidate that has the combination of forward-looking, innovative and proven leadership that we need in our next Governor in order to ensure that our Commonwealth continues to be a national leader on LGBTQ rights."

"MassEquality has been a strong partner in positioning Massachusetts at the forefront of promoting equality and opportunity for all members of society, and I am grateful to receive their endorsement," said Attorney General Coakley. "But our work is far from done. I look forward to working with MassEquality as we move forward in tackling the challenges that the LGBTQ community still faces, and move closer to creating a Massachusetts that is free from discrimination and harassment."

Martha 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.

    Still, 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.

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