U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., whose championing of gay causes was unrivaled in Congress, died Aug. 25 of brain cancer. He was 77.
“The nation has lost its greatest champion and strongest voice for justice, fairness and compassion,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “The loss to our community is immeasurable. There was no greater hero for advocates of LGBT equality than Sen. Ted Kennedy. From the early days of the AIDS epidemic to our current struggle for marriage equality he has been our protector, our leader, our friend. He has been the core of the unfinished quest for civil rights in this country and there is now a very painful void.”
Incoming Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation President Jarrett Barrios said: “It is impossible to fully describe the transformative impact of Ted Kennedy in the Senate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. From the outset, he valued our contributions and supported our equality. In those early years, his support may have turned heads but didn’t dampen his support — and eventually helped change hearts and minds about LGBT equality in the Senate and around the country.”
NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey commented: “The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the loss of Sen. Edward Kennedy, a true champion of the people and a dear friend to our community. The senator was a hero to many across the country and around the world. He spent his life fighting for justice for working people, people of color, children, women, LGBT people, immigrants, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS and so many others who looked to his leadership for a more just society. Sen. Kennedy was unmatched in his compassion and in his willingness to stand with those who often lacked a champion. Even after his death, his vision will inspire generations to work for the health, welfare and equality for all he so doggedly pursued.”