Higgins Speaks on Need to 'Rise Above Prejudice' on House Floor | Families
Congressman Applauds End to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell but Cites WNY Bullying Incident As Reminder that “Our Work Is Not Done”
Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) spoke on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of the continued fight against discrimination in America. In his remarks, the Congressman celebrated the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but cited the recent tragic incident in which a teen from the Western New York community took his own life as a result of bullying as further evidence that more must be done.
Below is the text of Congressman Higgins remarks:
I am proud to come before this body today to celebrate the end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
For too long, American service men and women selflessly fought to protect our freedoms without receiving the same freedoms and protections in return. Under this flawed policy, we dismissed fourteen thousand patriots from our forces. And we turned away countless more Americans who simply wanted to volunteer to defend the country that we share.
Today our nation shows the world that we can rise above prejudice and fear and take a long overdue step toward protecting our service members and reducing discrimination in America.
But, I am sad to say that this weekend we received a terrible reminder that our work is not done. A fourteen year old boy from my community, who was teased by his classmates about his sexual orientation, took his own life.
This heartbreaking tragedy was needless and should be a reminder to all of us that there are many more like Jamey Rodemeyer who are made by some to believe that it’s not ok to be who they are.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud of how far we’ve come. But I know that there remains a long road ahead of us. I am committed to continuing the fight for full equality for all Americans and implore my colleagues to do the same.