Family Equality Mourns the Loss of American Civil Rights Hero John Lewis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Family Equality, alongside LGBTQ+ families everywhere, mourns the death of Congressman John Lewis (GA-5). Lewis, a hero of America’s civil rights movement since the early 1960s, served Georgia’s fifth district in Congress since 1986. In earlier years, he suffered numerous beatings and jailings—literally putting his body on the line on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and across the South to win justice and equality for Black Americans, low-income communities, and other marginalized groups throughout the U.S. and the world. In his time as the “conscience of Congress,” he navigated politics in Washington, D.C. with principle and steadfastness rooted in his sacrifice and struggle. He provided a clear moral compass that others could follow to win victories that contributed to the creation of his vision of “beloved community.”

The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality, stated:

“The loss of a civil rights icon and great man brings immense sadness. He challenged us all to be our best selves and to never give up on the fight for justice. Whether it was greeting LGBTQ+ parents at the grocery store in his district or commending LGBTQ+ young people with lived experience in foster care speaking on capitol hill and urging them to continue to lift up their voices, Lewis demonstrated daily that kindness and generosity were core components of his commitment to struggle, sacrifice, and create ‘good trouble’ in order to continue an inexorable path to full equality. In his very final days, he both encouraged Black Lives Matter protesters to continue their efforts and rejoiced in the progress that such sustained activism could produce.

“Among his many pieces of essential legislation, Congressman Lewis championed and sponsored the bipartisan Every Child Deserves a Family Act, HR 3114, barring discrimination against LGBTQ+ and religious minority parents and children in foster care and adoption, because, in his words, everyone deserves a family and everyone needs love. Family Equality has been honored to stand with John Lewis to support this critical legislation for LGBTQ+ families and young people.

“Last year, John Lewis said, ‘We all must continue to do our part and ensure that every young person and expecting parent is able to enjoy the dream of a loving, stable family…We all need to be loved. And we must never give up on the right to be loved and the right to be human. So I encourage each and every one of you to stand up, to speak up, and speak out. To continue to push.

“Family Equality and LGBTQ+ families everywhere are proud to stand in his shadow, continuing to stand up, speak up, and speak out for HR 3114, his signature voting rights legislation, and more in order to combat white supremacy and build a more inclusive America.

“May this great hero rest in power.”

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ+ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

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Media Contact

Ed Harris / Chief Communications Officer
646.880.3005 x117