Geoff Kors | senior legislative and policy strategist
Geoff Kors has a long and distinguished record of service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, starting in 1990 when he helped lead the first successful campaign to pass a ballot measure to grant same-sex couples domestic partner rights. He also served as a partner in a LGBT civil rights law firm and prior to that, as Director of the ACLU of Illinois Gay and Lesbian Rights, AIDS and Civil Liberties projects. Most recently, Geoff served as Executive Director of Equality California from 2002 until 2011, building the largest and most successful statewide LGBT rights organization in the nation.
In 2004, during his role as head of EQCA’s Political Action Committee, he implemented a policy requiring candidates for public office to state, in writing, their support of full equality for the entire LGBT community. Included in the criteria for endorsement was a pledge to support marriage equality legislation, as well as legislation requiring that health care plans and health insurance cover transition-related medical services. This policy was the first of its kind in the nation. It resulted in many candidates, after meeting with Geoff and EQCA’s then Board Presidents John Duran and Diane Abbitt, rethinking their positions and adopting a fully inclusive position of support for the entire LGBT community. The following year, California became the first state to pass legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry and the first, and still only state, to require equal health care for transgender individuals.
Geoff has also been a strong advocate for educating youth about the LGBT community. He led EQCA's successful effort to pass legislation creating Harvey Milk Day and requiring LGBT history to be taught in public schools. He is a passionate supporter of GMCLA's work in schools, believing that music is an effective and creative way to reduce bullying and increase acceptance and understanding.
Geoff has served on many boards including the Executive Board of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. There, he originated the idea for, and helped orchestrate passage of San Francisco’s landmark Equal Benefits Ordinance. This ordinance, which Geoff then helped pass at the state level, is widely credited with the dramatic increase in the number of companies that offer equal benefits for employees in same-sex relationships, resulting in millions of individuals receiving benefits they previously were denied.
Under Geoff’s leadership and strategic vision, California passed more than 70 pieces of LGBT rights legislation. He conceived and helped draft many of these historic bills and then developed and implemented the strategy to ensure that they were enacted and signed into law. As a result, LGBT Californians today have the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation.