Mayor Menino has been the most pro-LGBTQ mayor in the nation’s history. And unlike many politicians who keep their support for our community in step with public opinion, Mayor Menino has been with us from the start. He was an early supporter of marriage equality. He was an early supporter of transgender equality. He was an early supporter of programs addressing public health needs related to HIV/AIDS. And he has never been shy about using his office as a bully pulpit to encourage other political leaders to do the same.
In some ways, it’s appropriate that Mayor Menino’s news came during the same week that the United States Supreme Court was hearing two historic cases on marriage equality. While Mayor Menino has staked out a legacy that touches on everything from public education, health and safety, to the delivery of municipal services, there can be no doubt he holds a place in history as a leader in the marriage equality movement. He spoke out early and often in favor of the rights of same-sex couples to marry, modeling for other political leaders in the state and nationwide how to embrace the issue. And when the entire world was watching Boston City Hall on May 17, 2004 as same-sex couples streamed to the City Clerk’s office to fill out applications to marry, his administration ensured both their safety and their dignity.
Last year, MassEquality honored Mayor Menino as a political icon during our inaugural Icon Awards, which recognize those who have been more than just allies to the LGBTQ community, but champions. Just this past Tuesday, we were delighted to have the Mayor participate in the DOMA justice rally on City Hall Plaza, over which he had instructed the City to fly the rainbow pride flag in honor of the historic Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Throughout his political career, which started in 1984 when he first took elected office as a district city councilor from Hyde Park, Mayor Menino has been a champion of equality and a symbol of what others should aspire to in their support of the LGBTQ community. We are inspired by his leadership, grateful for his service and wish him luck with his future pursuits.
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