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Awesome Fifth Grader Gives Marriage Equality Speech To NYC Council

Awesome Fifth Grader Gives Marriage Equality Speech To NYC Council

Last month I wrote about Kameron Slade, the 10-year-old fifth grader who was banned from speaking about same-sex marriage at his New York public school because his principal said the topic was “inappropriate.”

Kameron Slade won a class competition and was scheduled to deliver his speech at PS 195 in Queens. However, because the speech was to be about same-sex couples, his principal told Slade he would be removed from the contest if he did not choose a different topic.

But now the tables have turned: Council speaker Christine C. Quinn, who heard about Kameron after local news outlets covered the incident — his NY1 segment now has more than 600,000 views on YouTube — invited him to deliver his eloquent speech in City Council chambers yesterday.

Kameron appeared wearing a gray suit and a purple shirt and tie, and fidgeted slightly before his name was called in the City Council chambers on Wednesday. He approached the microphone set before the room full of politicians, lowered his head to the papers he clutched in his hands and began to speak.

From The New York Times:

“President Barack Obama recently talked about same-sex marriage with his wife and two daughters. Some people are for same-gender marriage, while others are against it,” Kameron said. “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?”

Kameron was invited by the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, to deliver his speech, which he wrote two months ago for a student competition at Public School 195 in Rosedale, Queens. The principal, Beryl Bailey, deemed it inappropriate for the school, so Kameron was at first not allowed to deliver his speech on the topic.

After NY1 and other local news media brought attention to Kameron’s story, he became an Internet sensation and something of a symbol for social acceptance and free speech. A video of Kameron delivering his speech has been watched more than 600,000 times on YouTube. He was eventually allowed to deliver the speech at a separate assembly at his school, after the Education Department stepped in.

Council members thanked Kameron, who was joined in the chamber by his mother, father and grandfather, and encouraged him to continue expressing his opinions on issues. Ms. Quinn, a Democrat, who married her longtime partner, Kim M. Catullo, in May, noted that the meeting came one day after the anniversary of same-sex marriage legalization in New York State.

More than 10,000 same-sex couples have been issued marriage licenses in the state since then.

“I’m getting married on Saturday, in three days, to my partner of 13 and a half years,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat, as reported in The New York Times. “When I saw you on TV, I thought you were the most courageous and wonderful young man I’ve ever seen.”

Where will Kameron Slade be in 10 years’ time, I wonder?

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Photo Credit: screenshot from NY1

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96 comments

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10:32AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Children can be so inspiring.

2:46PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Interesting that you would say that Sue because I know a fair number of gays and gay couples and every one of them want legalization of gay marriage.

2:26PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

why is it that all the gay couples I know do not want gay marriage passed into law?
civil unions are what they are about.

11:59PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

Way to go Kameron. Yes, a youngsters opinions may not be fully formed at age 10. But many of his values are --- fairness, equality, right, wrong . . .

This was only right that Kameron be able to speak freely.

7:03PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

More than 600,000 views versus an auditorium of kids because of gender bias, Yeah Kameron
A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation. Children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anyone else. If children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help others not to tease or bully them.
It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers or a single mother or father as long as they are LOVED.
Sex Education should be taught on LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation, Pregnancy and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier. Children should be taught the JOYS and the CONSEQUENCES of having sex ( Pregnancy, STD, AIDS and others.) I believe this is a solution. Stopping the damage before it starts so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principles where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these values, I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

1:15PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

I wanted to do a lead in with my previous comment but since Care2 has discontinued doing the character count, decided just to start a new post.
I am very saddened in hearing that a black couple who were married on July 21st, were denied marrying in the church as planned only after the white parishioners threw a shit-fit declaring that "no black couple had ever been married in the First Baptist Church of Mississippi" and by 'GOD' 'it ain gonna happen now'. The minister was threatened with being fired and so the location was changed very suddenly and only a couple days before the wedding. What a sad, sad commentary on America and what it has become after so long fighting for civil rights in this country. How sad that this lovely couple will forever remember they were discriminated against on what was to have been one of the happiest, most fulfilling days of their lives.
I'd also like to mention another civil rights case where Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Bakery has discriminated against a gay couple who were picking from a selection of cakes for their wedding and once Phillips learned it was for their wedding, stated he would not make a cake for them because he didn't believe in gay rights. He would though make cakes for any other occasion. I find this truly astounding and it appears that Phillips is getting lots of complaints but states he's also picked up new business because of his bigotry! This is horrendous but I'm sure they have a FACEBOOK page.

1:01PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

Rose L - while a child's ability to fully conceptualize will not occur until around the age of 25, they do have the ability to know between right and wrong, if that is taught by loving parents who also understand there child/children will make plenty of mistakes between childhood and adulthood, and then well beyond that 24, 25 years of age. But a child is like a sponge and if parents are open minded, non-discriminating, that child is going to grow into a more well-rounded, centered, conscientious adult. I think it is important that children understand that there are gay couples in the world and that those same couples eat, breath, sleep, love, just as do straight couples. I've heard and read of children of gay couples being tormented and teased by children of non-gay parents and I applaud the council for allowing this 9 year old to speak before them. When is the right time Rose, and how can you be the one to determine that. The younger a child is when parents teach them to think for themselves, to act responsibly, the better the chance that child has of becoming a healthy minded adult. 9 years of age is leading quickly in puberty and it is important for young people to understand the differences in people and how important it is to embrace those differences.

4:33AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

It's a wonderful story. Thanks.

3:54PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Rose L - you're quite right, a 10 year old's viewpoint can change with the wind as he gets older.
When I was ten I believed in what my parents taught me; black people were not different from white people. Jewish people were the same as Christians.
My friends growing up were both black, Catholic, Baptist. If they were here today, and the issue of sexuality came up in the 60's. my parents would have not had a problem .
You underestimate the ability of a ten year year old.

11:58AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

wow...

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