Weekly Democratic Address
June 27, 2020
Hello, I’m Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, and it is my honor to represent New York’s 18th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley. I am also proud to be New York’s first openly gay Member of Congress.
Each June, the LGBTQ community and our allies come together to celebrate Pride Month. Pride is different this year, but its fundamental promise has never been more important.
Remember, we celebrate Pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall Inn riots from June 1969, which happened when police raided that Greenwich Village hangout, a normal thing back then, and brutalized the peaceful patrons for no other reason than they were Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. But that night was different. The people fought back, and that changed everything.
Every year since, even in the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, LGBTQ people and our allies have grown stronger and marched on. Now, 51 years after Stonewall, the riots and marches have become parades and parties, but at its core, Pride Month commemorates a moment when brave men and women said enough and demanded equality. People like me stand on the shoulders of those pioneers, and we must pick up their torch and carry it forward for ourselves and for all oppressed communities.
Just a few days ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans cannot be fired simply because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Millions of Americans in dozens of states where no protection existed can now legally fight back if they are fired because of who they are or who they love. That’s reason to celebrate.
Last year, the Democrats in the House, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, passed the Equality Act. This landmark bill would finally protect LGBTQ people in the same way we protect all other minority groups in employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing and public accommodations. No more, no less. Simple equality. But like so many other important bills passed by the Democratic House, this legislation is still sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk.
So, we still have work to do. We must keep pushing and marching until all vulnerable LGBTQ people – our youth who’ve been rejected, our international brothers and sisters who face brutal persecution, our transgender neighbors, particularly trans women of color who face an epidemic of violence – until all of us are equal and free.
Yes, this Pride is different. There are few parades or parties, but we are still marching. This time we’re protesting police brutality against people of color. That’s the spirit of Stonewall.
You know, my husband Randy and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week. We could legally marry just a few years ago, of course, but we’ve been together for 28 years. Today, we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the historic ruling that delivered marriage equality to the United States. It’s a beautiful thing when your country catches up to you. Randy and I have raised three kids together, Reiniel, Daley and Essie. We all joined the vigils and protests following the murder of George Floyd this month because, for us, demanding that Black Lives Matter is a powerful way to celebrate Pride Month.
And this week, those of us in the LGBT Equality Caucus joined our colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus in casting our votes for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This is the living embodiment of what Pride Month truly means. You see, Pride Month isn’t something disease or violence can diminish or defeat. Pride is the strength of people who come together across all our lines of difference to say, enough. We want better – we want the promise of America for ourselves, for our families and for everyone.
Thanks for listening, and Happy Pride!