Like you, I’m deeply saddened by the horrific, hate inspired mass murder in Orlando. The outpouring of support from people across the country has been heartening to see and participate in. In the immediate aftermath we saw the people of Orlando waiting hours to donate blood. Across the country we’ve seen vigils for the dead, wounded and their families. What we’ve seen is the best of our country, where everyone comes together as a community to show solidarity with our LGBTQ friends.
I believe that virtually everyone, no matter their race, sex, religion, age, politics or anything else would like to see others live peacefully and flourish. Unfortunately, there are individuals who want to hurt or oppress others.
In my life and career, I’ve worked to lift people up so they can flourish and to limit the ability for others to keep people down or harm them. Decades ago I introduced legislation to end the ban on gay marriage. I was met with ridicule and scorn, even from some of my democratic colleagues, but I knew it was the right thing to do. This year I introduced legislation to do just what President Obama and Secretary Clinton have called for in the last two days: banning people on the no fly list from buying guns. This common sense position resulted in death threats and racial slurs after far right gun groups put me “in their sights.” I didn’t stop fighting for equality decades ago and I’m not going to stop fighting to end gun violence now.
It’s when we come together as we have in these last few days, where we focus our anger and sadness into a demand for change that we achieve progress. Together, and through our perseverance, we will be the voice for those who were silenced. They deserve nothing less.