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?
Photo Credit: screenshot from NY1