In response to requests to support marriage equality efforts currently underway in the state of Washington, The Center Long Beach and ACLU of Southern California have partnered with Washington United for Marriage (WUM) and Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) to host weekly phone banks to reach undecided voters and urge them to support marriage equality in the state.
“We know that changing the hearts and minds of those who are opposed to marriage equality is a necessary step on the path to victory," says James Gilliam, ACLU of Southern California Deputy Executive Director. "That’s what we are trying to accomplish through these weekly phone banks. We are grateful for The Center for partnering with the ACLU and providing a location for our efforts here in Long Beach."
“As the only LGBT direct service organization in greater Long Beach, we are honored to serve as the social justice home base on issues that impact our community both locally and nationally,” says Ron Sylvester, The Center’s President and Board Chair. “We are incredibly proud to partner with the ACLU, MEUSA, and WUM to lend support to our LGBT community in Washington State.”
Both The Center and ACLU received invitations from MEUSA and WUM inviting the organizations to support efforts in Washington to approve Referendum 74, a measure which will affirm Senate Bill 6239 legalizing marriage equality in the state. The referendum was filed by marriage equality opponents shortly after Governor Christine Gregoire signed SB 6239 into law.
“The anger and near devastation of having our basic rights stripped from us in California as a result of Proposition 8 is still fresh in the hearts and minds of many members of our community,” says Porter Gilberg, Administrative Director at The Center, referencing the 2008 measure which prohibits marriage equality in the state. “It’s a natural fit and our duty at The Center to support LGBT people wherever we can.”
Information provided by MEUSA notes that phone banking serves as one important approach within a multifaceted outreach effort in Washington including television advertising, direct mail, and face-to-face conversations. Surveys indicate one in four undecided voters have been persuaded to support Referendum 74 with these combined efforts.
Community members are invited to meet at The Center every Tuesday from 6-9PM and urge voters to approve Referendum 74. The phone banks are being led jointly by Gilberg and Gilliam. Veteran phone bankers and those interested in phone banking for the first time are encouraged to attend. Training is provided for all volunteers. For more information or to RSVP contact Gilberg at (562) 434-4455 ext. 245.