My speech from tonight's AFER victory rally – Los Angeles

When I heard the news this morning, I considered writing my shortest speech ever: WE WON!

Today's decision sends a message of hope to the young gay and lesbian people in California and BEYOND. It sends the message that WHO THEY ARE, how God made them is not only respected by this country, but that their love will soon be protected equally under the law.

The day after Harvey Milk won his election over 30 years ago here in California, he gave a speech saying there were two new options for gay and lesbian people, a people who for far too long have suffered under inequality, who have suffered harassment and violence at the hands of their own countrymen, and discrimination by their own government. Harvey said that his people could now come to California OR that they could stay in their hometowns and fight.

Well, today there are many more options for those young people in search of safety and hope. Tonight, they can go to NEW YORK or IOWA or NEW HAMPSHIRE and now yes, they can even come back home to CALIFORNIA... but I'm here tonight to tell you that we must also stay in the SAN ANTONIOs and the RICHMONDs and the LITTLE ROCKs and keep on fighting.

Because we know we cannot leave any of our brothers or sisters or neighbors or co-workers behind. They must know this feeling of freedom in all of our 50 states. Because we know in our hearts that our love is true and that our families deserve the respect and protection of this great country. And today, our courts have affirmed that great truth.

And we at the American Foundation for Equal Rights know that we must follow in the tradition of every great civil rights movement in this country's history and continue to fight for equality at the federal level, so that in our lifetimes all Americans... Republican or Democrat, gay or straight, Black or Brown or White will witness a day where people from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City, from Wichita to Detroit, can freely love the person they choose in a nation where our families will be valued and protected and loved in return.

So celebrate our great country tonight, celebrate this victory, and let it lift our spirits and give us the strength to continue our great work.