Mayor Menino’s long record of leadership in advancing rights for LGBT people is unique among mayors in this state and in this nation. He has always been ahead of the curve, never behind it, on LGBT issues. Through his policies and his fearless use of the bully pulpit, Mayor Menino has enabled LGBT people to become critical contributors to the fabric of life in Boston – and he routinely makes sure that everyone else is aware of that fact.
From his refusal to march in the exclusionary St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to his early support for Boston’s transgender anti-discrimination ordinance and his longstanding commitment to supporting programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, Mayor Menino has embraced the totality of our community and improved the lives of countless LGBT Bostonians.
GLAD will always be grateful for Mayor Menino’s advocacy on behalf of our client Belynda Dunn back in 2001, when Belynda was fighting with her insurance company for coverage of a life-saving liver transplant, which was denied her because of her HIV status. Mayor Menino stepped in, creating a fund and securing donations to ensure that Belynda, a longtime HIV/AIDS educator, could have the surgery.
We will also always remember Mayor Menino’s early support of the 2003 Supreme Judicial Court decision in our Goodridge lawsuit, which brought marriage equality to Massachusetts. The Mayor was among just a handful of politicians at the time who voiced unequivocal support for the ruling, and when the marriages began in May 2004, he personally greeted our plaintiffs when they arrived at City Hall to apply for their marriage licenses.
Just last week, Mayor Menino stood on City Hall Plaza and noted that supporting marriage for same-sex couples has always been an easy call for him. True to form, he didn’t stop there, but added that it should be an easy call for the Supreme Court as well. “America is about equality,” Menino told the crowd. “Not just for some of people but for all of our people.”
We wish the Mayor health and happiness in his retirement, although we will certainly miss his leadership on issues of importance to our community.
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