The money we’ve raised this evening will make a big difference in helping to elect Democratic Senators in key races in swing states and, most importantly, forming a Democratic majority in the Senate while replacing folks like Jessie Helms and Strom Thurmond with Committee Chairs who will provide real bi-partisan leadership in the Senate for all Americans, and replacing Trent Lott with our next Majority Leader in the Senate, Senator Tom Daschle.
We’re here because we all know how much is at stake in the upcoming elections. I care passionately about the future of our country, and in particular about issues such as the environment, health care and education reform, gun control and gun safety legislation, socially responsible mass transit legislation, and lesbian and gay civil rights and family advocacy.
I created the Internet company, GeoCities, in November of 1994. GeoCities went public in August of 1998, and by the time we merged with Yahoo! in May of last year, we had grown to be the third busiest site on the Internet. The key to our success was our model for creating virtual communities, where users could gather together based on common interests, such as sports,finance, politics, and music. My vision was all about giving everybody the opportunity to set up their own free Home Page on the Internet, to talk about their passions and ideas, and meet others who shared similar interests. Our business model was based on advertising, sponsorship and electronic commerce.
The business success of GeoCities and its virtual communities has given millions of folks a chance to be heard, a voice in cyberspace, and an opportunity to meet other people and contribute their own thoughts and ideas and passions. The financial success of GeoCities has provided me the opportunity, and the responsibility, to contribute something back to society and also participate in the political process. Through my work at GeoCities, and through my efforts as a citizen, I have tried to set the example that one person can make a difference.
Tonight has been a wonderful evening, and there is much we need to accomplish. But for me, a lot of it comes down to some very personal issues.
If lesbians and gay men are to achieve full equality in society, we must not compromise our mission and our vision for the sake of political expediency or for the sake of the comfort of others. I’ve learned, that, when it comes to basic rights and freedoms, it is just as wrong to compromise who we are and what we believe in, as it is wrong for our adversaries to deny us equality.
So please, in the days leading up to November, and most importantly, in the legislative sessions after the election, I would urge the Senators here to reclaim their leadership role in passing hate crimes legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and in supporting civil unions and same sex marriage. At the end of the day, all I really want is to marry the man I love, and live in our society with the same rights and privileges as everyone else.
Senators, I am honored that you have all come so far to join us tonight.