Listen: State Rep. Karla Drenner’s speech on equality draws applause, cheers
State Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, fired up a crowd of activists on June 26 as she celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same sex marriage.
Drenner, who is openly gay, spoke for about 10 minutes at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. A Decaturish reader provided audio of Drenner’s remarks.
“I’ve been thinking all day long that I wouldn’t cry,” Drenner said. “I’m not going to cry. I’m struck with being grateful today, just the overwhelming feeling of being grateful, to get to see all of you up here, to know that our lives matter, has just been a wonderful experience and I want to say thank you. What a glorious day for equality and justice and love. Today’s amazing victory represents the culmination of decades of hard work.”
Drenner said the 2004 amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia galvanized activists, even though the ban ultimately passed.
“In 2004, the day after the constitutional ban passed, I stayed home that day and I hand wrote notes to all of my colleagues that voted yes on the bill, and I said to each one of them, ‘I hope that one day you’ll feel my family is just as equal as yours,'” Drenner said to applause.
She thanked volunteers, attorneys and other leaders who stuck together after the ban passed to continue pushing for equality for the lesbian, gay and transgender community. Drenner said their work continues.
“All of us here understand in advance that our convictions, our values and life will continue to be under fire,” Drenner said. “You are here today because you have made a choice to endure, to keep on keeping on, to do what needs to be done, for yourselves, your family, for our state, even in the midst of disapproval. All of us here are survivors. We have chosen not to take the route of resentment, but the road to character. As we continue to travel through these times of endurance, we are assured today that hope will not disappoint us. Do not grow weary or complacent in doing what is right. We no longer have to keep silent and go along to get along. We can continue to speak up and, as we do, we can expect our complacent friends to rise up, and our cold-hearted friends to warm up, and maybe our criticizing opponents might lighten up.”
Drenner closed on a personal note.
“This is the first time I’ve ever said this publicly, and I’m proud to say that I love my wife,” she said.
Here is the full audio of Drenner’s speech: