“Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want. Marriage is about love, support and commitment. So who are we to judge? If we judge people like this, this is a form of prejudice. We must learn to accept and respect all differences.”
These sound like the words of a seasoned politician or activist — but no, this missive came from the mouth of a 10-year-old.
Originally Kameron Slade’s intended audience was his classmates, not New York City councilmen; he wrote the speech two months ago to enter into a student competition at P.S. 195 in Queens. Slade hoped to broach a little-discussed topic with his peers, prompted by President Barack Obama endorsing gay marriage in May. But his principal, Beryl Bailey, forbade Kameron from delivering the speech, judging it inappropriate for the school setting.
Slade skyrocketed to Internet stardom when local news stations covered his story. A video of Slade delivering his speech has over 600,000 hits on YouTube. With the publicity, Slade’s fight soon became one of social acceptance and freedom of speech. The Education Department had its say on the matter, and the school eventually gave in and permitted him to give his speech at an assembly.
Democratic Council speaker Christine C. Quinn—who herself wed her longtime partner, Kim M. Catullo, in May—invited Slade to present his speech to the City Council Chambers the day after the one-year anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State. In his speech, Slade recalls the time when he “hung out” for a day with his mother’s friends, a lesbian couple:
“This family seemed like any other family. They seemed happy, and best of all, they seemed to love each other. The only difference was that they were two moms instead of a mother and a father.”