Before the Stonewall Democrats
July 29 - Boston, Mass.
BARNEY FRANK: Let me begin with our first speaker, who represents a part of my past, but it's the least interesting part of my past, so don't get too excited. ..But he is a man who has distinguished himself by his advocacy of fairness on our behalf. And he is one of the statewide-elected officials in this country who has done more than almost any other to get across the point that we are entitled, as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, to be treated fairly and equally. So I am very proud to present to you the governor of the state of my birth, Governor Jim McGreevey of New Jersey.
GOV. JAMES McGREEVEY: To the infamous [unintelligible] leader, Congressman Barney Frank, born in the sacred soil of New Jersey, let me say, on behalf of a grateful nation, thanks to the congressman for his leadership, his courage and his strength on all issues of civil liberties in the House of Representatives [in] very challenging and difficult times.
First I'd like to recognize Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg from the State of New Jersey who sponsored our Domestic Partnership Act--Loretta? She was the [unintell] without whose leadership the bill would not have become law.
When we look to the issues that confront our nation, tragically, we confront a federal administration that chooses to ignore the economy and education, and the environment, and the havoc they have wrought upon our nation, and instead attempts to divide America. And whether it's on reproductive rights, on civil liberties, on issues that are important to Stonewall Democrats, the irony is the Constitution of the United States, of this nation, has always been about furthering the cause of civil liberties. It is tragic--it is fundamentally wrong--that this administration is attempting to take the Constitution, which for 255 years has been the framework for granting freedoms, and now, ironically, twisting it in a perverse way to engage in gay-bashing in an attempt to fulfill its own political aims. All Americans need to be engaged in this debate, need to understand the fundamental wrong that is being wrought [by] this administration.
Now, I believe Americans don't want this type of wrong-headed direction. And I'm proud of the fact that New Jersey is among the first states in the nation that stepped forward with domestic partnership legislation--to take a stand for fairness, to take a stand for dignity, and to understand that same-sex couples understand the importance of basic liberties and basic rights. I signed New Jersey's domestic partnership legislation because it was the right thing to do.
When it's visiting a loved one in a hospital room, filing state income tax deductions, inheritance tax exemptions, or granting, under the New Jersey state workers eligible to receive certain health care benefits and retirement benefits, and, most importantly, I'd like the Stonewall Democrats to know that couples today in New Jersey now have protection against prejudice under New Jersey's law against discrimination. This important legislation would be threatened by the Bush administration's advocates.
My friends, we are engaged in a great debate within our nation. What we are looking for is workplace protection, equal rights and equal opportunities. The Kerry-Edwards ticket will fight for these protections--[and] the importance of a wide range of health-care protections. And I would argue that any administration that attempts to divide American along these lines not only needs to be repudiated by the Stonewall Democrats, but needs to be repudiated by all thinking Americans.
Congressman Frank, I want to thank him for his leadership--I want to thank you for all your of your support in New Jersey for our domestic partnership legislation. I want to thank those legislators who were willing to come forward in the New Jersey State Legislature to make a stand for courage and decency. As much, God willing, as we have done, we have so much more to do to [rally?] America and bring America to the side of decency in repudiating this administration whose position on these issues is simply a matter of hate, and among the most un-American positions ever taken by any federal administration. Thank you very much.