The hearse carrying the late civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis stopped by Atlanta’s, USA, rainbow crosswalks to honour his support of LGBT+ equality.
A crowd had gathered at the intersection on 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue to applaud and honour the stalwart and early supporter of LGBT+ rights.
As ‘LGBTQ Nation’ reports, in 1996, over a decade before LGBT+ rights would get support from mainstream Democrats, Rep. Lewis gave an impassioned speech on the House floor opposing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which banned the federal government from recognising marriage equality.
“This is a mean bill,” he said. “It is cruel. This bill seeks to divide our nation, turn Americans against Americans, to seed fear, hatred, and intolerance.” The bill “denies gay men and women the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marriage is a basic human right. You cannot tell people they cannot fall in love.”
Back in 2003, Lewis wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe supporting LGBT+ rights, almost a decade before the president would do the same.
“This discrimination is wrong,” he wrote at the time. “We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
“I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.”
Rep. John Lewis was first elected to the U.S Congress in 1986 and he served 17 terms. He passed away due to pancreatic cancer at age 80 on July 17, 2020.
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