Welcoming Remarks for GLAA 43rd Anniversary Reception

Welcoming Remarks

Rick Rosendall
GLAA President

GLAA 43rd Anniversary Reception
Policy Restaurant and Lounge
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Good evening. We are here to celebrate 43 years of advocacy, to honor distinguished community service, and to rededicate ourselves to the coalition work that will help us meet continuing challenges.

The embarrassing revisionism by Jo Becker in her book on the Prop 8 lawsuit is a cautionary lesson on the hazards of ignoring those who came before you. A timeline on the marriage equality fight in DC, compiled by Bob Summersgill and me, begins in 1975. GLAA's candidate questionnaires included marriage twenty years ago. Our research on D.C. marriage law was done in 2003. Bob laid out our strategy then. A year later, I described the coalition needed to fight an anti-gay initiative. Our talking points and contingency plans, and the leadership of faith allies, grew out of decades of civic involvement. Those who tried to divide our city failed. When David Catania introduced the marriage equality bill five years ago, we were ready.

Our late friend Lawrence Guyot, a veteran of Mississippi Freedom Summer whose 50th anniversary is this year, testified at the marriage bill hearings that when he went to work with Fannie Lou Hamer, the right to vote on other people's rights was not their purpose. Today, renewed assaults on the voting rights he helped win make me think of Lawrence. We cannot remain in separate silos, divided by race, religion, gender, immigration status, and sexual orientation. Many of us cannot pick a single category. We must keep cooperating and learning from one another to secure equality and justice for all.

Thanks to all of you for being here, and to the donors listed in our program. There are several officials whom I'd like to acknowledge. [Mayor Vincent Gray, Councilmembers Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser, David Catania, David Grosso, Anita Bonds, and Vincent Orange; Monica Palacios, Director of the Office of Human Rights; D.C. Council candidates Charles Allen, Elissa Silverman, and Robert White; and past honoree Mark Levine, candidate for Congress from Virginia's 8th congressional district.]

Since our last anniversary we lost two distinguished members of the GLAA family, Tom Chorlton and Barrett Brick. Before he died, Tom completed his book, The First American Republic. Barrett was known, among many other things, for his graceful and timely Torah lessons at Bet Mishpachah services. Let us take a moment of silence to honor our comrades who have joined the ranks of the ancestors.

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