"A few months ago, a gay man died of a heart attack in West Virginia after a sheriff refused to let the man's friend administer CPR.
Around that same time, a young college student in Kentucky was expelled from school because he used the Internet to tell friends he was gay. Another gay teen in Iowa dropped out of high school because of aggressive harassment and bullying from his classmates.
And when a California woman almost died after giving birth to twins, her female partner wasn't sure if the hospital would let her take her children home.
As Judy Shepard (whose gay son was brutally murdered) put it:
"Matt is no longer with us today because the men who killed him learned to hate. Somehow and somewhere they received the message that the lives of gay people are not as worthy of respect, dignity and honor..."
I say the time has come for bigotry and discrimination to STOP! The battle before us today is a tough one. History is full of struggles for equality, where people used religion and the status quo to legitimize bigotry, discrimination and even brutal treatment of their fellow humans.
Martin Luther King Jr. was told to "leave well enough alone" while fighting segregation and horrible lynchings in the South. Before him, Susan B. Anthony faced monumental opposition in the struggle to win the right to vote for women. And President Lincoln paid with his life because of his battle to keep our nation together and put an end to slavery.
But they all had one thing in common. The were on the "right" side of history.
Sadly, many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans do not share the equality most Americans enjoy. In many commmunities, gay and lesbian couple are not guaranteed hospital visitations right when their partner fall ill. Gay and lesbian employees can be fired in 33 states simply because fo their sexual orientation. Transgender people can be fired in 43 states for no other reason than who they are. The most commonly used derogatory epithet on school playgrounds is "faggot!" Children get beaten up because they have gay or lesbian parents, or because they are perceived as gay themselves. Same-sex couples are denied more than 1,000 benefits that married heterosexual couples receive with a marriage license.
And as all this continues, right -wing extremists fight to not only deny citizens equal rights but to inscribe discrimination against them into the Constitution. It's time to stop the hatred. Stop the bigotry. And put an end to discrimination."