Bill Aswad represented the north end of Burlington in the Vermont State Legislature for 18 years. He had a long history of public service. When the marriage bill passed the Vermont House in 2009, Rep. Aswad rose in support of the bill, noting that he had also been a strong supporter of the civil union bill in 2000. He recited the lyrics to "Nature Boy," a song made famous by Nat King Cole. The lyrics conclude:
This he said to me
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
is just to love and be loved in return"
Civil rights leader Julian Bond also passed away this weekend at the age of 75. Julian Bond served as chairman of the NAACP for many years and his pioneering work towards achieving racial equality goes back decades.
In response to his death, the Southern Poverty Law Center said:
With Julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.
Julian Bond's recognition of our common humanity extended to LGBT rights. He was a powerful supporter of marriage equality and made clear his belief that gay rights ARE civil rights, a natural extension of the civil rights movement.
Hear Julian Bond speak eloquently in 2012 on the link between the racial equality and marriage equality movements.
Rest in peace, Bill Aswad and Julian Bond. Thank you for your service to justice.