Although openly gay representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) addressed the Democratic National Convention in Boston on Monday afternoon, she did not talk about gay and lesbian rights. Cheryl Jacques, executive director of the nonpartisan gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, spoke about GLBT rights on Wednesday, but apart from passing references to gay people in other politicians' speeches, the only elected official to address the delegates at length about gay and lesbian equality has been openly gay congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
Following is a transcript of Frank's remarks Thursday evening from the podium of the Democratic National Convention:
"On behalf of the Stonewall Democratic Federation, the national organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Democrats, I want to apologize to some people whose peace of mind we seem to be disturbing.
"I want to apologize to the various self-proclaimed divine messengers who appear deeply troubled by a dark plot they label the 'gay agenda.'
"Troubled as I am by the prospect of these pious men denied a good night's sleep by their need to be eternally vigilant against us, I have decided to break the silence, decode the cryptogram, unravel the mystery, and tip our hand. We have an agenda, and we hope to achieve it through the Democratic Party.
"Specifically, we want all people in the United States to enjoy the same legal rights as everyone else, unless they have forfeited them by violating the rights of others. We believe this should include some things that are, apparently, very controversial.
"They include the right to serve, fight, and even die on behalf of our country in the military; the right to earn a living by working hard and being judged wholly on the quality of our work; the right for teenagers to attend high school without being shoved, punched, or otherwise attacked; and, yes, the
right to express not only love for another person but a willingness to be legally as well as morally responsible for his or her well-being.
"We also believe that we--and all Americans--should enjoy full access to health care; that strong environmental protection is fully compatible with economic prosperity. We know that the free market is the best way to generate our national wealth; and that we need cooperation between the private and public sectors to be sure that we as a society and as individuals get the maximum benefit from the wealth by the quality of all our lives.
"We are also convinced that America must not only remain the strongest nation in the world, but that our strength is magnified, not diminished, when we work with other nations and institutions for common goals.
"Some of these things are especially important to us because we are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. All are important to us as people.
"And taken together, it is why we are the national Stonewall GLBT Democratic Federation."