In response to the ugly epidemic of teen suicides and the brutal torture of three men in the Bronx who were thought to be gay, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared at the PFLAG Annual Dinner and gave an amazingly strong speech for full equality. I have decided to reprint the entire speech.
Thank you, Drew, and good evening everyone.
It's great to be here for the 30th anniversary of PFLAG's New York City Awards Dinner...
Thirty years of making a difference and brightening the futures of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers.
And for that, I must give a big thanks to the incredible leadership of Drew and Suzanne Ramos and Phyllis Steinberg.
So tonight's anniversary is a celebratory moment...
... and yet - it also couldn't be a more timely or essential moment.
There are more than 1 million children in this city - and each of them deserves our love.
Each of them is different - and each of them is born perfect.
All are equal under God's eyes and the eyes of the law.
As the father of two daughters, I know that when we bring a child into the world or into our home...
... we do so with the certainty that nothing is as powerful as a parent's love - and with the hope that we can protect them from everything.
No doubt, there are times when that belief is challenged:
The first time your son lets go of your hand at a crosswalk, for instance... or the first time your daughter comes home in tears.
At some point, we've all questioned whether a kiss on the forehead is enough to keep our children safe through the day.
And I know the recent rash of terrible, homophobic incidents - here in our city, and all over the country - has caused you to hold your children a little tighter.
Let me be clear: These incidents are completely unacceptable.
They're intolerable in a city in which tolerance is what define us.
They're unacceptable in a city in which embracing our differences is what makes us strong
Because when any New Yorker is attacked because of who they are or who they love - the fabric that binds us together is torn.
That's why these attacks are attacks on us all - and why they can never, ever be allowed.
Especially when it comes to our kids.
To those who have been the target of bullying and bias - whether you happen to be in this room or in any neighborhood in the city, I say this:
This great city stands with you...
We believe in you. We want you here. We will do anything in our power to keep you safe.
And we will do everything in our power to punish those who dare threaten the well being of our citizens.
As I said over the weekend, the perpetrators of the abuse and torture in the Bronx will be spared no mercy.
At the same time, we will continue - with the help of PFLAG - reinforcing in our public schools what is the most comprehensive anti-bullying policy of its kind in the nation.
Because building a city of honesty and respect and civility begins with our children.
This city's greatest strength has always been its diversity and openness.
There are moments when that is challenged - when some argue for closing, rather than opening doors... .
.. for closing, rather than opening our hearts.
But I am confident that will never happen - in part, because of your energy and advocacy.
And clearly, as we note on this night of celebration, that good work is needed now, more than ever before.
So let me close by saying that our city - and our nation - have come a long way... but our journey is not yet complete.
I wish for you the same thing I wish for any parent in this city:
The joy of seeing your son or daughter fall in love...
The joy of walking your son or daughter down the aisle on the most important day of their lives.
Government should not be in the business of telling anyone whom he or she can and cannot love.
And believe me: I will fight with you every single day to make that a reality.
Good night, and God bless.