BY Kerry Eleveld
August 28 2009 1:35 PM ET
Though Mixner is careful to note that he wasn’t Kennedy’s closest confidant, he nonetheless had a strong bond with the senator and attributes his loyalty to the LGBT community -- especially during the AIDS crisis -- to his own experience with saying goodbye to too many loved ones all too soon.
“He understood the concept of, every time you turn around, losing someone close to you -- unexpectedly,” says Mixner. “I think that's part of how he came to be so close to us -- that unbelievable connection he had to us through his own great loss.”
Mixner echoes the seemingly endless stream of stories over the past few days about Kennedy invariably reaching out to people in their lowest moments. “He would always call at just the right time and know exactly what to say and, without fail, make you laugh,” he says.
David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign received one of those treasured phone calls. Two years ago, Smith traveled to Spain to marry his partner and was joined by his family there. Five days after the ceremony, Smith’s father died of a massive stroke. As soon as his plane landed back in the states, Smith’s cell phone rang and Senator Kennedy was on the other end of the line.
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- Father of Teen Facing Felony for Lesbian Relationship Says She's Been Targeted Before
- WATCH: President Obama Tells Morehouse Grads 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend'
- French Marriage Equality Opponent Commits Suicide at Notre Dame
- Marriage Equality Makes Progress in U.K.
- PHOTOS: New Yorkers Combat Violence With Protest
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Mental Wellness Psychiatrists' Group Names First Out Gay Leader 1 hour 36 min ago
- Arts & Entertainment Which Gay Celeb Has a Wizard of Oz Aquarium? 1 hour 40 min ago
- Women WATCH: Kathy Griffin Calls for Suze Orman for President! 8:29 PM
- Marriage Equality Marriage Equality Makes Progress in U.K. 8:25 PM
- Women PHOTOS: Stars Come Out for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's 'An Evening with Women' 8:03 PM
- Video Meet the Delicious Diet Dr Pepper Dude 8:00 PM
- Women INTERVIEW: Vicci Martinez Speaks her Truth 6:34 PM