Thursday, August 27, 2009

We've Also Lost A Friend Of The LGBT Community

Oh, sure, there will be detractors of Senator Kennedy's in the days when his passing becomes a distant memory. There will be rehashing of stories forty-some-odd years old. But what you won't hear from those people who would seek to throw dirt on his name is how the man acted in government. How he set aside the teachings of the Catholic Church in which he was raised, and sought to make changes so that we are all equal.

No one, no one, knew more about Separation of Church and State than Edward Kennedy.

While he leaves behind a legacy on a number of issues, from education to health care, his contributions to making the world better for the LGBT community cannot go unnoticed. He has fought for us in times when no one else dared lift a finger, making him a friend of the LGBT community, and an ally in government.

In 1993, Edward Kennedy replaced the retired California Democratic Senator Alan Cranston as the chief sponsor of the “gay rights bill” that was then being introduced in the Senate.
By 1996, Senator Kennedy was one of only fourteen votes--fourteen--to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, proving that he was not only willing to put himself out there for LGBT rights, but be one of the few to do it and say it before most others in politics.

It's a simple case of civil rights, and Senator Kennedy knew that.

Kennedy also fought to block a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, championed by a number of conservative Senators. Way back in June 2002 Senator Kennedy supported adding sexual orientation and gender identity to federal hate crimes laws.

Simple civil rights.

When Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, Kennedy didn't back away from commenting on the historical impact for civil rights that this decision had. he said:

"The nation’s eyes were on Massachusetts today, and they saw a triumph for civil rights and fundamental fairness. Today’s historic vote will have a national impact on civil rights for years to come. Massachusetts has led the nation in education, in health care and in biotechnology, and today Massachusetts renewed its commitment as a proud leader in civil rights."

And this year, even as he battled cancer, Senator Kennedy was one of the leading co-sponsors of a Senate 'Employment Non-Discrimination Act' (ENDA), saying:

"Ensuring equality for all Americans is the least we can do in living up to the standards of inclusion that this nation is built upon. There is no place for discriminating against any of our citizens for whatever reason and I commend my colleagues for their willingness to champion equal rights for every American."

So, as you remember Edward Kennedy, and remember his flaws as well, because we are all only human, and filled with failings of our own, also remember that he was a fighter for the LGBT community, a fighter for civil rights, a fighter for all of us.

if you're so unlined, go HERE and sign a petition to make Health Care Reform happen in this country, and fulfill Senator Kennedy's wish. It will go to your U.S. Senator, urging them to make sure that quality health care is a fundamental right in this country, and not a privilege.


Joanne said...

Bob - -thanks for sharing this. Yesterday I was cruising around trying to find some more humour bloggers and came across one that had to post something about Ted's passing. He made this whole excuse that his momma taught him to say something good about someone when they pass. So he had to try to be "funny" and it fell flat. I couldn't believe how soon after the jokes and horrid comments had to flow - and "they" call themselves such good Christians.

I have some good "right" friends and we acknowledge its something we should never discuss - but their crap just gets too hard to deal with.

Oh I am NOT following that "humour blogger" - can't even remember his name.

Joy said...

I wish it would do any good to contact my senators. You've seen Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker in action. I'll do it again because they at least need to know we're there.

Stephen said...

As I have saif before... your state is beautiful & nutty!

My last name is Rutledge & I am a direct descendent of Edward L Rutledge (my father's name) the first governor of South Carolina... so I guess I have some stake in what is going in, huh?