August 26, 2009, New York, NY - Incoming President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and former Massachusetts state Senator Jarrett Barrios issued the following statement today on the passing of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"It is impossible to fully describe the transformative impact of Ted Kennedy in the Senate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. From the outset, he valued our contributions and supported our equality. In those early years, his support may have turned heads but didn't dampen his support--and eventually helped change hearts and minds about LGBT equality in the Senate and around the country."
"Personally, he was a friend whom I worked with on many issues in the Massachusetts senate, and my husband Doug and I have the print he gave us for our wedding framed at home. His passing is a loss for many of us who knew him, and all of us who benefited from his uncompromising support of our full equality."
"Senator Kennedy helped pass the Matthew Shepard Hates Crime Prevention Act and also introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which, if passed, would help LGBT people in the 29 states where it is still legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation and the 38 states where it is legal to do so based on gender identity or expression. GLAAD urges media to include Senator Kennedy's strong history of advocating for LGBT issues in media coverage of his unfortunate passing."