Gay Primary Source

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gay/Lesbian Presidental Medal of Freedom Honorees

"We salute innovators who pushed the limits of science, changing how we see the world - and ourselves. And growing up, Sally Ride read about the space program in the newspaper almost every day, and she thought this was “the coolest thing around.” When she was a PhD candidate at Stanford she saw an ad for astronauts in the student newspaper and she seized the opportunity. As the first American woman in space, Sally didn’t just break the stratospheric glass ceiling, she blasted through it. And when she came back to Earth, she devoted her life to helping girls excel in fields like math, science and engineering. “Young girls need to see role models,” she said, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” Today, our daughters - including Malia and Sasha - can set their sights a little bit higher because Sally Ride showed them the way.

Now, early in the morning the day of the March on Washington, the National Mall was far from full and some in the press were beginning to wonder if the event would be a failure. But the march’s chief organizer, Bayard Rustin, didn’t panic. As the story goes, he looked down at a piece of paper, looked back up, and reassured reporters that everything was right on schedule. The only thing those reporters didn’t know was that the paper he was holding was blank. He didn’t know how it was going to work out, but Bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and, most importantly, a faith that if the cause is just and people are organized, nothing can stand in our way. So, for decades, this great leader, often at Dr. King’s side, was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay. No medal can change that, but today, we honor Bayard Rustin’s memory by taking our place in his march towards true equality, no matter who we are or who we love."

President Barack Obama, November 20, 2013

"Tam O’Shaughnessy accepting on behalf of her life partner, Dr. Sally K. Ride. Thirty years ago, Dr. Sally K. Ride soared into space as the youngest American and first woman to wear the Stars and Stripes above Earth’s atmosphere. As an astronaut, she sought to keep America at the forefront of space exploration. As a role model, she fought tirelessly to inspire young people - especially girls - to become scientifically literate and to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. At the end of her life, she became an inspiration for those battling pancreatic cancer, and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The tale of a quiet hero, Sally Ride’s story demonstrates that the sky is no limit for those who dream of reaching for the stars.

Walter Naegle accepting on behalf of his partner, Bayard Rustin. Bayard Rustin was a giant in the American Civil Rights Movement. Openly gay at a time when many had to hide who they loved, his unwavering belief that we are all equal members of a “single human family” took him from his first Freedom Ride to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights movement. Thanks to his unparalleled skills as an organizer, progress that once seemed impossible appears, in retrospect, to have been inevitable. Fifty years after the March on Washington he organized, America honors Bayard Rustin as one of its greatest architects for social change and a fearless advocate for its most vulnerable citizens."

Military Aide Lee, November 20, 2013. 

Click here to watch the video of the ceremony

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hawaii Legalizes Marriage Equality

"The legalization of marriage for same-sex couples is part of the long history of civil rights movements in the United States. Many people have worked tireless to make this day possible. This significant piece of legislation is a clear example of people exercising courage, determination and patient perseverance. The result advances equity in marriage and honors all First Amendment religious imperatives."  Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie.

"We have moved into a new era of Aloha for same-sex couples, who can now share in the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Hawaii Attorney General David Louie.

“Although Hawaii was not the first to enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn’t be lost is Hawaii was the first in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit, that started the same-sex marriage discussion nationally. I am pleased today to be able to open a new chapter in our state’s history and to join the growing list of states in conferring to all Americans equal treatment under the law.”  Hawaii State Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

November 13, 2013.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Illinois Senator Lauds ENDA Passage

"Today the Senate advanced civil rights by sending a message that there is no place for employer discrimination in this country. For me, supporting this cause means following in the footsteps of two leaders who championed civil rights issues, Senator Everett Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln, men who gave us the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 13th Amendment. I believe passionately in enacting ENDA, and I know it will help keep our competitive edge in the global economy."
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), November 7, 2013.

Maine Senator on ENDA Passage

“We are about to make history by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, better known as ENDA. We will establish that the right to work free from discrimination is a fundamental right of each and every American, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, disability, national origin, and now sexual orientation.

“It has taken a long time to get to this day. More than ten years ago, I was proud to join a lifelong champion of civil rights, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, as a cosponsor of ENDA. Over the years, we have rightly taken a stand against workplace discrimination in a wide variety of forms, and it is past time that we close this gap for LGBT employees. The time to pass this bill has come.

“I would like to thank Senators Merkley and Kirk for taking up the mantle and moving this bill forward. They have worked tirelessly across the aisle to make this happen. In addition, Senator Kirk, along with Senator Murkowski and Senator Hatch, led the Republican support for this bill during its consideration by the HELP Committee. I also want to acknowledge the work of Chairman Harkin in bringing this bill to the floor. He has been champion of civil rights throughout his long career.

“I also want to acknowledge the hard work of Senators Portman, Ayotte, Heller, Hatch, and McCain in their effort to improve the bill with anti-retaliation language. This amendment, which was adopted unanimously, improves the bill by strengthening the protections for religious institutions. And I would like to thank each of those Senators for their willingness to work with the sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation.

“All Americans deserve a fair opportunity to pursue the American dream. ENDA is about the fundamental right to work and the right to be judged based on one’s abilities, qualifications, and talents. Much of corporate America has already voluntarily embraced LGBT protections because they know that doing so allows them to retain and attract the best and brightest employees. Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have sexual orientation non-discrimination policies. In fact in my home state of Maine, this has been the law for nearly a decade.

“ENDA is about fairness and workplace equality. Today, I hope the Senate will affirm the principle that the workplace is simply no place for discrimination.”

U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), November 7, 2013.

Nevada Senator Supports ENDA

“After listening to Nevadans’ concerns about this issue from a variety of viewpoints and after numerous conversations with my colleagues, I feel that supporting this legislation is the right thing to do. Under the leadership of this Governor, as well as the legislature over the past several years, Nevada has established a solid foundation of anti-discrimination laws. This legislation raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstance.”
U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), November 4, 2013.