Press Room

July 27, 2004

Category: HIV & AIDS

HRC President Cheryl Jacques Addresses Democratic National Convention

Jacques Focuses on Equal Rights for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans

WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques today addressed the Democratic National Convention, focusing on equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. HRC was honored to be the only GLBT organization addressing the convention.

A copy of her speech follows:

I'm Cheryl Jacques, and on behalf of my partner Jennifer, and our beautiful twin boys Timmy and Tommy, I'd like to say how proud I am to be back in my home state of Massachusetts - where I had the privilege of serving in the state Senate for more than a decade.

America has often been called a great experiment.

What began with a revolution against tyranny right here in Massachusetts has transformed into an evolution of progress.

Progress is not a ceiling to reach. It is an infinite frontier.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans share the dream - the dream of a better, stronger and more united America.

We protect our country. We die for our country.

That's why we seek the right to serve openly and honestly in our armed forces - to defend our freedoms and the rights of all American families.

We see a health care crisis that can be alleviated through more personal responsibility.

That in part is why we're working for marriage equality - so we can do what families do best - care for each other in sickness and in health.

We want a fully fortified battle against HIV and AIDS that spares this generation the ravages of the last.

We want to ensure that violent hate crimes are aggressively prosecuted.

We are optimistic.

We are innovators.

We envision new technologies, cures for diseases, and better products to enrich people's lives.

We work hard.

We contribute to our communities.

We pay our fair share of taxes.

We simply ask that we're never fired because of who we are.

Today in 36 states in this country - in 36 states - it is legal to fire the star employee simply because the boss thinks he or she is gay.

That is wrong. That is wrong!

There are some who criticize our American dream and that is their right.

This flag on my lapel shields me from neither criticism nor dissent.

This flag is a clarion call to every human being that equality and freedom always triumph over oppression and discrimination.

John Kerry and John Edwards share the dream of a better America with schools that inspire, an economy that roars, homeland security that comes first and equal rights for all Americans.

They know that the Constitution is a vessel of freedom, not a tool for discrimination.

Together we will send a message for all Americans to hear, that the light of inclusion will once again wipe away the darkness of division.

Thank you and God bless America.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.