Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 36 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website



Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 

 

Speakeasy Speed Test

 
 
click to go to advertisers website
 
Senator Ted Kennedy dead at 77
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Senator Ted Kennedy dead at 77

by Lisa Keen - Keen News Service

The man whom many in the LGBT community consider their greatest friend in the U.S. Senate has died.

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who fought for equal rights for Gays on many fronts and was an early defender of people with HIV, died Tuesday night, August 25. He had been suffering from brain cancer.

"Our community has had no greater champion in Congress," said David Smith, who worked as the senator's Director of Communication from late 2003 to early 2005.

Smith, vice president for programs at the Human Rights Campaign, credited Kennedy with taking on some of the community's worst adversaries, including the late Senator Jesse Helms, during its toughest battles.

"From early days of AIDS crisis, he was there for us," recalled Smith. "He was battling for us, taking on a then very powerful Jesse Helms, who wanted to see us in concentration camps. God only knows what would have happened if Senator Kennedy hadn't been there."

Elizabeth Birch, who was HRC president during many of those battles, recalled a "very intense" meeting with Kennedy and staff in which LGBT leaders "talked about the importance of having Transgenders included" in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

"He said, 'We never intended to leave anyone behind, and we won't leave anyone behind'," said Birch.

"The other hallmark of who he was," said Birch, "was he supported Gay marriage ahead of any of his peers - and, frankly, ahead of people a generation or two behind him in Congress. He was a man who, whenever he hit the limits of something, he would just keep trying."

Kennedy was one of only 14 senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. He did not argue for same-sex marriage, but rather against the attack on same-sex marriage.

"We all know what is going on here," said Kennedy on the Senate floor during the DOMA debate. "I regard this bill as a mean-spirited form of Republican legislative Gay-bashing, cynically calculated to try to inflame the public eight weeks before the November 5 election."

"This bill is designed to divide Americans, to drive a wedge between one group of citizens and the rest of the country, solely for partisan advantage," said Kennedy. "It is a cynical election-year gimmick, and it deserves to be rejected by all who deplore the intolerance and incivility that have come to dominate our national debate."

As author of ENDA, he led the debate in 1996 when the Senate came within one vote of passing the bill.

"We know that discrimination against Gay men and Lesbian women exists in this country today, number one," said Kennedy. "Number two, we know that there are no laws to protect them. Number three, we know that the whole issue of Gay men and Lesbian women is an immutable condition. It is a condition of life.

"What we are trying to say is when Americans want to work and can work and do a job, they ought to be able to be judged on the job that they are going to do and not on one of these other factors," said Kennedy. "We can free ourselves from discrimination against those Gay men and Lesbian women in the employment place."

Chai Feldblum worked closely with Kennedy on ENDA, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to prohibit discrimination against people with HIV, and the Ryan White CARE Act, to provide needed care to people with HIV.

Feldblum recalled that, during the work on ADA, he held a meeting at his house with several of the key people working on the legislation and said he was "very focused on protection for people with HIV."

"The bottom line," said Feldblum, "was that he was our 'go-to person' with anything to do with Gay rights. He was that person both because of who he was and the position he held."

Current HRC President Joe Solmonese released a statement calling Kennedy the "greatest champion and strongest voice for justice, fairness, and compassion."

"The loss to our community is immeasurable," he said. "There was no greater hero for advocates of LGBT equality than Senator Ted Kennedy."

A number of Gay leaders said it would be difficult to fill the void in leadership on LGBT-related issues that has been left by Kennedy's loss.

"We have our work cut out for us in terms of working with other [members of Congress], nurturing relationships with other champions," said HRC's Smith. Even as recently as the current fight to pass the Matthew Shepard hate crimes measure as part of the defense authorization bill, said Smith, Kennedy's efforts have been critical.

"When it passes," he says, "it will be because of Senator Edward Kennedy that for the first time, sexual orientation and gender identity will be part of a U.S. Civil Rights Code."

© 2009 Keen News Service

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Referendum 71: Lawsuit filed to prevent certification, donor names subject to disclosure
------------------------------
SGN exclusive interview: Lt. Dan Choi speaks out on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
------------------------------
Senator Ted Kennedy dead at 77
------------------------------
Ed Murray - Seattle's next mayor? Possible write-in?
------------------------------
A tale of two obituaries
------------------------------
Barack Obama remembers Ted Kennedy
------------------------------
Seattle forms Gay Flag Football Club
------------------------------
Violent attacks continue on Capitol Hill
------------------------------
Federal judge dismisses DOMA suit, Smelt v. United States
------------------------------
Seattle Gay History: The 922
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
Iowa Ethics Board Concerned About NOM Activities
------------------------------
Murray won't run for Seattle mayor
------------------------------
Constantine, Hutchison both back state gay-rights law
------------------------------
'Don't ask, don't tell' challenge gets court date
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

 

http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2009

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News