The following is from Joe Solmonese at the Human Rights Campaign:
Today, something extraordinary happened. Love conquered hate. After more than a decade, the inclusive hate crimes bill we’ve fought so hard for has been signed by the president and sealed in law.
I cannot overstate the importance of this moment. This is the first time ANY federal equality measure protecting LGBT rights has become law. The very first time. And it is the first federal law to explicitly protect transgender people. It is a touchstone in our movement, a triumph of what is right. And I truly feel things will never be the same.
You made this day possible, along with thousands like you who called, wrote to Congress, met with lawmakers, and never gave up. I am inspired and humbled, and I thank you for all you’ve done.
As I left the White House, my thoughts turned to two crucial tasks immediately ahead – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." Tomorrow, we will wake up emboldened to fight those battles. So will our enemies. This victory gives us momentum, and we cannot slow down.
With your help, this moment will be a beginning, not a culmination.
Hate crimes legislation was the first piece of creating a safe environment for LGBT people – prohibiting workplace and military discrimination are the next. When LGBT people live in fear of violence or discrimination, we cannot be who we are. And when we must hide our true selves, we cannot change hearts and minds.
It took twelve years, over one million emails, faxes and phone calls to Congress, and 14 separate votes on the floors of the House and the Senate to turn the hate crimes bill into law. Right-wing groups opposed us ferociously until the very end; they knew having a pro-LGBT law on the books would be a game-changer, and it is.
We’ve learned invaluable lessons. Now we know the next victory will take at least that much effort. But it must not take that much time. That means we need your help now.
Today, I am more determined than ever to put more pro-equality legislation on the president’s desk – let us galvanize ourselves in the fire of this moment.
Thank you again for standing with us to make this historic victory possible. Your hard work has made this country a safer place for millions of LGBT people.