Deaths | Democratic Party | Massachusetts | News | Ted Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy Dies at 77; LGBT Tributes Pour In

Photo by Rex Wockner c. 1979, Des Moines, Iowa.


Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer late last night.

Said the family in a statement: "Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever."

The loss was felt deeply by the nation's LGBT community.

RoadFearless leader in the fight against hate crime...
RoadAMFAR CEO: An unrivaled ally in the fight against AIDS.
RoadGLSEN: "If the Safe Schools Improvement Act, currently introduced in the House, becomes law, it would be a testament to Senator Kennedy’s insistence that all students must be protected in any federal anti-bullying policy."
RoadNational Gay & Lesbian Task Force: Edward Kennedy "spent his life fighting for justice..."
RoadHuman Rights Campaign: "The nation has lost its greatest champion and strongest voice for justice, fairness, and compassion. The loss to our community is immeasurable.  There was no greater hero for advocates of LGBT equality than Senator Ted Kennedy." RECORD on gay rights...GLAAD: "From the outset, he valued our contributions and supported our equality."
RoadBoston LGBT community members remember Kennedy...
RoadDavid Mixner: My memories of Senator Kennedy.
RoadVIDEO: NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
RoadA Lion in Winter (of 1972): Courage when few others had it.

Kennedy speaking at the 2008 HRC Equality Convention, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. we lost our REAL fierce advocate last night. one might hope that obama steps up, at least on health care, in recognition of all that kennedy did for his campaign and for the country.

    Posted by: jack | Aug 26, 2009 6:41:08 AM

  2. A sad day for American to lose such a strong, vibrant, liberal anchor in our democracy.

    Posted by: Rad | Aug 26, 2009 8:17:00 AM

  3. A privileged child of a corrupt bootlegger who never held an honest job in his rich life!

    Posted by: Lucifier | Aug 26, 2009 8:29:48 AM

  4. Maybe he didn't moonwalk, but this is the man who should be honoured with tribute concerts and a movie this year.

    The world has lost a great man. His record is truly one against which all others will be measured, not just as a Senator, but as a human being.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 26, 2009 8:39:48 AM

  5. Rest in Peace, Teddy K. Tank you for your years of service to our country...but also to our community. Through it all you were a pillar of strength and a real human being, flawed and imperfect who just wanted to make the world a better place. You will be missed.

    Posted by: Dennis Carreiro | Aug 26, 2009 8:57:01 AM

  6. As a lifelong Mass. native, I'm absolutely distraught. I only hope we can honor his legacy by passing a comprehensive, meaningful (including a public option) health insurance reform bill. That was his life's work. Anything less would be a disgrace to all that he's done.

    Ted Kennedy's always been fearless - indeed, a truly fierce advocate. Here's hoping he can inspire the same fearlessness in the Democratic Party today.

    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 26, 2009 9:08:15 AM

  7. Lucifier

    I know! those bush boys, OY. But their family wasn't into boot legging, they were nazis and traitors. Grandpa bush laundering and funneling money to the nazis. Grandpa Bush being part of that attempted coup to overthrow the US gov but for a loyal US general who turned stool pidgeon on the coup. It is sickening that the bush clan wasn't shot for treason.

    Anyway; Teddy one of the first and loudest DEMs to speak out for gay rights

    almost 50 years of fighting for civil rights, health care, etc

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Aug 26, 2009 9:21:32 AM

  8. PS Lucifier

    That scoundrel Reagan rapping that young woman. Scandelous

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Aug 26, 2009 9:22:16 AM

  9. Thank you Sen. Ted Kennedy.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965
    The Cobra Act of 1985. (Ever lost a job and still kept your health insurance for 18 months?)
    The Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
    The Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993.
    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

    Rest in Peace. Sen. Ted Kennedy was the voice of the powerless.

    Posted by: donsnyc | Aug 26, 2009 9:29:03 AM

  10. He fought for social justice all his adult life.

    He played a major role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. Kennedy was one of only 14 senators who voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage of Act.

    During the attempt by conservatives to pass the 2004 Federal Marriage Amendment constitutionally banning same-sex marriage, Kennedy said from the Senate floor, “We all know what this issue is about. It’s not about how to protect the sanctity of marriage, or how to deal with activist judges.

    It’s about politics and an attempt to drive a wedge between one group of citizens and the rest of the country, solely for partisan advantage … The Constitution has never been used as a tool to entrench currently popular views at the expense of an unpopular minority – and it should not be used that way now.”

    It's particularly sad that he's passed just now, at the moment when the GOP are plumbing new depths of political demagoguery and inciting the far right toward ever more belligerent displays in the public square.

    Posted by: elcamino | Aug 26, 2009 9:29:56 AM

  11. lion of the senate.

    RIP ted.

    Posted by: Tony | Aug 26, 2009 10:29:56 AM

  12. Not to be picky, because I agree that we have lost a political giant and a great man...BUT, I think giving Ted Kennedy credit for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a bit of a stretch. He certainly voted for them both, but he wrote neither. He pushed for a poll tax to be removed from the VRA, but that effort failed and he certainly didn't author the legislation.

    JFK and LBJ are really to be credited for the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Let's not rewrite history in light of the passing of a political legend.

    Posted by: Alex | Aug 26, 2009 10:51:51 AM

  13. Also...

    Title 9- Giving women parity in collegiate and H.S. athletics.

    Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

    Meals on Wheels for seniors

    A great guy.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Aug 26, 2009 11:29:20 AM

  14. Ted Kennedy was a gifted legislator, but exhibited shockingly low standards of personal behavior, even for a Kennedy. As far as I'm concerned, Chappaquiddick alone should have forever banished him from politics; it was only his name and the influence of his family that kept him in play (imagine if that terrible incident had happened twenty years later -- he'd have been toast).

    The fewer family dynasties we have in American politics, the better. That means fewer Bushes and, yep, fewer Kennedys.

    Posted by: Freddy | Aug 26, 2009 11:31:17 AM

  15. Alex, a little google would do you good. The good senator had major role in the passage of the the Civil Rights Act of 1964 abd tge Voting Rights Act of 1965. He may have not written it but he certainly left his mark on it.


    CNN: That legacy, in addition to popularity among fellow senators, might be the reason why he had major roles in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act and the Kennedy-Hatch law of 1997.

    I could go on and cite more sources but I am not gonna do your work for you.

    Posted by: donsnyc | Aug 26, 2009 11:34:49 AM

  16. I'm a longtime advocate for term limits. The system must be designed so that no one is irreplaceable. The Kennedys were the direct cause of anti-nepotism laws for presidential staff (which entangled HRC too) just as FDR was directly the cause of presidential term limits. We need to tweak these to prevent wives running on the heels of their husbands (or vice versa) and sons running on the heels of their fathers/mothers. Ted's death would appear to mark the end of the Kennedy "era" in American politics as I hope they don't hand the job to his son now.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2009 12:12:35 PM

  17. freddy

    and Laura bush's killinmg her boyfriend + shrubs cocain past= should have nixed shrub from gaining office

    reagan rapping a woman should have nixed him

    Huckabee's son hanging a dog and throwing stones at it while it choked to death should have nixed the huckster

    romney's driving hundreds of miles on the interstate with a dog in a cage on the roof of his car should have nixed him since the majority of america cares more about pets than they do their fellow men and consider cruelty to animal laws sacrosanct

    need I go on ?

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Aug 26, 2009 12:26:20 PM

  18. Freddy:

    how many of us have such high standards of personal behavior when we are in our teens, twenties, and thirties? It takes many people a while to find purpose in life--especially finding the purpose to fight for justice for other folks. That became Ted Kennedy's purpose, his goal: government as protector for the most vulnerable in this country.

    I'll miss you, Senator Kennedy.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 26, 2009 1:48:49 PM

  19. "reagan rapping a woman"

    I love the Lil' John remix of that track.

    Posted by: crispy | Aug 26, 2009 2:00:49 PM

  20. On the whole, Senator Kennedy's actions throughout the years has saved many more lives than it has harmed. He was a major player in the passage of civil rights legislation in this country. He authored the sanctions against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. He was instrumental in the passage of the Ryan White CARE Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, Voting Rights Act, and COBRA.

    Does that excuse Chappaquiddick?

    Kennedy himself has said it does not. But he has also done much more for this country than Larry Craig, Mark Foley, or Jim McGreevey. These are politicians who are defined by their scandals rather than by their accomplishments. If there is a "double standard" at work here, it is because Ted Kennedy has earned it.

    Posted by: John | Aug 26, 2009 2:40:51 PM

  21. crispy


    Ok, webster's spells it


    reagan raping a woman who confirmed the account multiple times in interviews and only took offense at it being called date-rape, since she said it happened so quickly there was no time for the date part

    Anyway; poosts are full of typos and spelling mistakes


    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Aug 26, 2009 3:01:51 PM

  22. JB: you care to source these Reagan and Laura Bush stories? Fascinating if true.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2009 3:31:17 PM

  23. Loss of a true and early advocate for gay rights. Thank you for your work, senator kennedy!

    Posted by: KFLO | Aug 26, 2009 3:56:12 PM

  24. I also give you... (drum roll and out of tune trumpets, maestro) Republican class. I took a lot of hits for the team on this one, dudes. I may not make it through the night. (Kaff, kaff)

    Posted by: jurassicpork | Aug 26, 2009 4:14:09 PM

  25. Ted Kennedy really was the real fierce advocate that gays deserved in Washington. His speech to the HRC was incredibly moving, powerful stuff. He will be sorely missed.

    Posted by: DavidG | Aug 26, 2009 4:30:18 PM

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