Congressman Lewis set the tone by dancing on stage to “Happy.” He thanked HRC and other LGBT rights activists for, “finding a way to get in the way … for finding a way to get in good trouble, necessary trouble, to redeem the soul of our country and standing up for human dignity and what is fair, what is right and what is just.”
Congressman Lewis explained how he worked too hard and too long to not stand up against discrimination based on gender. He recognized that together we are, “one people … one house … one nation … we are one love.”
Congressman Lewis has been an avid supporter of marriage equality. In his 2011 testimony before the Senate in support of the Respect for Marriage Act, Lewis stated: "Marriage is a basic human right. No government, federal or state, should tell people they cannot be married. We should encourage people to love and not hate."
Other attendees at the gala included HRC President Chad Griffin, singer Betty Who, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Alabama State Representative Patricia Todd, the first-ever openly gay person elected to the Alabama legislature.