Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



The passage of Ted Kennedy
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service

This article shared 2797 times since Wed Sep 2, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

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

Sen. 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, Aug. 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 communications 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 Sen. 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 Nov. 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. 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, which provides 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 said, "it will be because of Sen. 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

This article shared 2797 times since Wed Sep 2, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 complications 2021-10-18
- Colin Powell—the first Black U.S. secretary of state, whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape the country's foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st—died from ...

Gay News

Trans woman D'isaya Dior Monaee Smith, a victim of violence, dies 2021-09-24
- D'isaya Dior Monaee Smith was shot and killed Sept. 6 at the Prestige Motel in Dolton, Illinois. She was 27. A Human Rights Campaign report showed that, in 2020, a record 44 transgender, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes 2021-09-19
- Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...

Gay News

Former bishop who pushed for LGBTQ+ inclusion dies at 90 2021-09-19
- Retired Newark Bishop John Shelby Spong—a best-selling author and cleric known for his progressive theology and his support of women and LGBTQ+ clergy in The Episcopal Church—has died at age 90, Episcopal News Service reported. "It ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Pioneering lesbian business owner Susan Mazer dies 2021-09-04
- Susan Mazer died August 31 due to COVID-19 complications. She was 77. At the time of her death, Mazer was living in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with her wife Janet Norton. Mazer was born May 10, ...

Gay News

Celebration of life for Roman Buenrostro taking place Oct. 5 2021-08-31
- A celebration of life for the late Chicago advocate Roman Buenrostro will take place Tuesday, Oct. 5, 3-6 p.m., at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Buenrostro was an LGBTQ- and HIV/AIDS-rights activist who passed away ...

Gay News

The National Black Justice Coalition mourns death of Pooh Johnson 2021-08-26
--From a press release - SHREVEPORT, LA — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the loss of Pooh Johnson, a 25-year-old Black gender-nonconforming person. Pooh was found shot to death inside a car early in the morning on August 23, ...

Gay News

PFLAG National mourns passing of past president Paulette Goodman 2021-08-16
--From a press release - WASHINGTON—PFLAGers everywhere mourn the death of Paulette Goodman, who served as PFLAG National President from 1988 until 1992. Goodman was born in a Jewish family, ...

Gay News

James Hormel, the first LGBTQ U.S. ambassador, dies 2021-08-13
- James Catherwood Hormel—the first openly gay man to represent the United States as an ambassador—died Aug. 13 at age 88. ...

Gay News

Bernie Hansen's gay-rights legacy remembered 2021-07-30
- Activist Arthur Johnston recalled the late 44th Ward Alderman Bernie Hansen as perhaps "the most unlikely gay-rights alderman." Johnston—one of the activists involved with, among other endeavors, the push for the city's Human Rights Ordinance i ...

Gay News

Photographer/activist Ed Negron's funeral will take place Aug. 3 2021-07-29
- On his own Facebook page, one of the brothers of the late Chicago photographer/activist Ed Negron has revealed the details of his impending funeral. According to Leo Negron Rodriguez, Negron's funeral will take place at ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Writer, attorney, activist Takeia R. Johnson 2021-07-25
- The local organization Affinity Community Services announced the recent passing of Takeia R. Johnson. According to Johnson's LinkedIn profile, she was editor-in-chief and lead writer at Inclusion at Work as well as a Ph.D. student focusing ...

Gay News

Chicago photographer, activist Ed Negron dies [UPDATED] 2021-07-24
- Ed Negron—an activist, Army veteran and substance-abuse counselor who served for many years as a dedicated bisexual volunteer, mentor, leader and advocate in the LGBTQ, Latino and recovering communities—passed away ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Author, cultural theorist, scholar Lauren Berlant dies 2021-07-15
- Author, cultural theorist and scholar Lauren Berlant died June 28 in a Chicago hospice facility of a rare form of cancer. They were 63. Berlant (who used they/them pronouns professionally) was born Oct. 31, 1957 in ...

Gay News

Prominent lesbian educator/activist/author Sally Gearhart dies at 90 2021-07-15
- Sally Gearhart—the first out lesbian to receive a tenure-track position at San Francisco State University and a prominent LGBTQ-rights advocate—died July 14, according to The Bay Area Reporter, which cited an email Jean Crosby sent to ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.