Ellen: ‘We must change’ our country’s attitudes towards gays.

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"Ellen: ‘We must change’ our country’s attitudes towards gays."

In a segment that airs today, talk show host Ellen DeGeneras speaks about the murder of 15-year-old Lawrence King, who was killed by a classmate for being gay. Saying that “we must change our country,” Ellen urges her audience to “check on who you’re voting for” to see if they stand for gay rights:

A boy has been killed and a number of lives have been ruined. And, somewhere along the line the killer, Brandon, got the message that it’s so threatening, so awful, and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine — that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible that to be gay, you can get killed for it, we need to change the message. Larry was not a second-class citizen. I am not a second-class citizen. It’s ok if you’re gay.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/02/ellengay.320.240.flv]

“I think one thing we should change is hate,” Ellen said. “Check on who you’re voting for. Does that person really truly believe that we are all equal under the law?”

Transcript:

I need to talk to you about something that’s really serious and really sad. And, if you know me it’s hard to talk about sad stuff without getting emotional but this is really important to talk about. On February 12th an openly gay 15 year-old boy named Larry, (King) who was an 8th grader in Oxnard, California was murdered by a fellow 8th grader, named Brandon. Larry was killed because he was gay. Days before he was murdered, Larry had asked his killer to be his Valentine.

I don’t want to be political. This is not political. I’m not a political person, but this is personal to me. A boy has been killed and a number of lives have been ruined. And, somewhere along the line the killer, Brandon got the message that it’s so threatening so awful and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine, that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible that to be gay, you can get killed for it, we need to change the message.

Larry was not a second-class citizen. I am not a second-class citizen. It’s ok if you’re gay.

I don’t care what people say; I don’t care what people think. I know there are entire groups of people who face discrimination every single day and I know we are a long way from treating each other equally.

All of it is unacceptable. All of it. But I would like you to start paying attention to how often being gay is the punch line of a monologue or how often gay jokes are in a movie. And that kind of message, laughing at someone because they’re gay is just the beginning. It starts with laughing at someone, and then it’s verbal abuse, then it’s physical abuse, and it’s this kid Brandon killing a kid like Larry.

We must change our country, and we can do it. We can do it with our behavior; we can do it with the messages that we send our children. We can do it with our vote. This is an election year and there’s a lot of talk about change. I think one thing we should change is hate. Check on who you’re voting for. Does that person really truly believe that we are all equal under the law? If you’re not sure, I say change your vote. We deserve better.

My heart goes out to everybody involved on this horrible, horrible incident. All the families, even Brandon’s life has changed because he did this.

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