The Late Rep. John Lewis Beloved by LGBTQ Community

Hearse carrying John Lewis pauses at Atlanta’s rainbow crosswalks

On its way to the Georgia State Capitol, the hearse carrying the late Rep. John Lewis paused at Atlanta’s rainbow crosswalks, installed in 2017 to honor LGBTQ pride.



Late Rep. John Lewis defended gay marriage in 2004 House speech: HERE: Via Washington Blade:

Members of Congress and the public paid tribute to the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) this week at the U.S. Capitol in both a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, where his American flag draped coffin was placed, and on the steps outside the East Front of the Capitol, where members of the public also paid their respects to the civil rights legend.

Lewis, who was serving his 17th term in Congress, died July 18 at the age of 80 from complications associated with pancreatic cancer.

LGBTQ rights advocates, who considered Lewis a strong ally in the cause of LGBTQ rights, may remember that Lewis’s commitment to LGBTQ equality was on full display at the Capitol nearly 16 years ago when on Sept. 30, 2004, Lewis delivered a speech on the House floor strongly opposing a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

It was at a time when more than a dozen states had passed their own laws or state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Lewis’s floor speech also took place in the midst of the 2004 presidential election when then-President George W. Bush backed the proposed federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in what political commentators called an attempt to create a wedge issue to boost support for his re-election.

Even Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of Massachusetts, while opposing the constitutional amendment, said he did not support same-sex marriage but supported civil unions for gays and lesbians instead.

Lewis’s floor speech opposing the constitutional amendment came during a two-and-a-half-hour House debate on the proposal in which several supporters of the amendment submitted petitions from black churches backing the amendment and denouncing same-sex marriage.

Atlanta’s LGBTQ community remembers John Lewis, champion of equal rights for all : Via ALIVE

‘We are one people and one family,’ Lewis said of the LGBTQ community. ‘We all live in the same house.’

ATLANTA — John Lewis was best known for his work for civil rights for people of color. But there’s another community mourning his loss, and reflecting on his work towards equality for all.

During his career on Capitol Hill, Lewis co-sponsored more than a dozen bills to advance and protect rights for the LGBTQ community.

On Wednesday, as the Willie Watkins Funeral Home hearse carrying Lewis’s body drove from Hartsfield Jackson International Airport to the Georgia State Capitol, it made a purposeful stop at 10th and Piedmont.

The “rainbow crosswalks” at that intersection are an unofficial nod of appreciation to Atlanta’s LGBTQ residents. As Lewis’s body passed through the intersection one last time, dozens gathered on the sidewalk to say their goodbyes to the 5th Congressional District representative.

In 1996, Rep. Lewis famously spoke out against the Defense of Marriage Act on the floor of the U.S. House – at a time when, according to a Pew Research poll, 65 percent of the countryopposed same-sex marriage.

“This bill is a slap in the face of the Declaration of Independence,” Lewis said in his speech from the House floor at the time. “It denies gay men and women the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marriage is a basic human right.”

“So many of us, unfortunately, especially those of us here in the South, grew up in families that rejected us,” Graham said. “John Lewis knew of that, and he specifically would speak about the sense of belonging, the sense that he had fought for social justice so that he could be fighting for us. And for many of us it was the first time that someone of his stature had ever acknowledged our humanity.”

From the Congressman’s website: HERE.



June 15, 2020Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 6-3 decision that firing an individual for being gay or transgender is a violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia decision addressed three cases where an employer filed a long-time employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

On behalf of African Human Rights Coalition:  We are so grateful for Congressman Lewis and his imperative stance fighting as a lawmaker for LGBTQI equality. His life will be remembered as an icon who did all he could to uphold equality for all.  He will be sorely missed and forever remembered. Wishing his family, friends and community deep condolences. May his memory be for a blessing.


By Melanie Nathan
Executive Director

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