Human Rights Campaign Announces 24th Annual Bay Area Gala

2008-07-17 11:30:00

 GLBT community and supporters come together for a night of celebration and

discussion; proceeds from dinner to benefit marriage equality in California



    SAN FRANCISCO, July 17 /EMWPresswire/ -- The Human Rights

Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and

transgender civil rights organization, today announced that it will hold

its annual Bay Area Gala Dinner on Saturday, July 26, 2008, at the Westin

St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. With the theme of "Race for Equality,"

guests have the opportunity to contribute 100 percent of their ticket

purchase to the ongoing effort to protect marriage equality in California.

Gala dinner tickets are now available for purchase.



    "For the Human Rights Campaign, 2008 continues to prove to be a

momentous year, particularly during this historic fight to preserve

marriage equality in California," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We are

honored to have this opportunity to help preserve marriage rights for all,

and we thank our entire community for uniting together through their

support of and participation in our annual gala in the Bay Area."



    On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court issued an historic ruling

recognizing that committed same-sex couples have a constitutional right to

equality under the state's marriage laws. At this time, anti-equality

forces are working to enshrine discrimination into California's

constitution with a constitutional amendment (Proposition 8) on the

November general election ballot. HRC, which is a part of the Equality for

All coalition, has pledged an initial contribution of $500,000 to the

coalition working to protect marriage equality.



    In addition to Proposition 8, speakers at the Gala will highlight

progress made on other issues facing the LGBT community as well, including

the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA).



    Diego Sanchez, a transgender member of HRC's Business Council and

pivotal witness who gave testimony in last month's transgender

congressional hearings organized by HRC and other organizations, will be

speaking at the San Francisco Gala about his personal perspective on the

path to fully inclusive legislation that involves, unites and includes HRC,

other organizations, Congress and the community at large.



    "We are lucky to have Diego Sanchez as a speaker at this year's

dinner," continued Solmonese. "HRC remains committed to passing a

fully-inclusive version of ENDA and doing any and all work necessary to

ensure that the entire GLBT community is protected from workplace

discrimination."



    HRC helped introduce ENDA 13 years ago to prevent workplace

discrimination based on sexual orientation. ENDA was originally proposed as

a piece of legislation to protect lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender

Americans from employment discrimination at the federal level in HR 2015.

HR 3685, a bill that protects only sexual orientation does not include

protections for transgender Americans. While this wasn't the fully

inclusive bill that HRC wanted, the organization believes the successful

passage of HR 3685 bill is a valuable, albeit incomplete, step forward for

the community.



    "ENDA is an emotionally charged, heated topic in the San Francisco Bay

Area and HRC is fiercely committed to continuing to work with Congress to

pass an inclusive version of ENDA including protections for transgender

Americans," said Tom Floyd, co-chair of the 2008 Gala Dinner and HRC

National Board of Governors member. "As part of our on-going effort to

promote healing within our community, HRC welcomes open dialogue and

throughout the evening will engage in conversation to increase awareness,

understanding, and unity within the community in our continued effort for

equality for all LGBT Americans."



    Registration & Program



    To purchase tickets, preview the program agenda, and for more

information about the San Francisco Dinner, please visit:

http://sfbayarea.hrc.org/dinner or call Box Office Tickets at: 800-494-TIXS

(8497). When ordering tickets, all dinner guests will be given the option

to designate the ticket price to the HRC California Marriage PAC.



    The PAC was established to fight against the anti-marriage ballot

initiative. Proceeds from the dinner are part of the recent $500,000 pledge

by HRC. In the past year, HRC also provided six full-time staff members and

$100,000 to Equality for All, a large and diverse coalition of civil

rights, faith, choice, labor and communities of color organizations working

to stop and defeat any ballot measure that would deny gay and lesbian

couples the right to marry in California.



    The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights

organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender

equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end

discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves

fundamental fairness and equality for all.





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