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The Words of Nelson Mandela Chosen for WeHo Gay Marriage Plaque

August 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

mandelaA bronze plaque memorializing what might have been and what should have been, same-sex marriage right, is being placed in California’s West Hollywood.  The City Council will unveil the plaque at its September 8th meeting and place it at Hollywood Park off North San Vicente Boulevard.

The plaque will bear an interesting quote from an even more interesting person, former South African president, Nelson Mandela:

I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

via West Hollywood to install plaque honoring gay marriages — latimes.com.

South Africa has recognized same-sex marriage since November, 2006 after the Constitutional Court held that banning the marriages “represented a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples.”

The repeal of the ban on same-sex marriage came only about 10 years after the institution of South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution, held as one of the most liberal in the world.

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3 Comments to “The Words of Nelson Mandela Chosen for WeHo Gay Marriage Plaque”


  1. christophersays says:

    South Africa practiced legal segregation as late as the mid-1990s, yet has recognized marriage equality since 2006. In comparison we who pride ourselves in being American, reaping the benefits of living in the land of the free, fail to recognize and learn from our own history. Racial segregation was formally banned in the United States in the 1960s Fifty years later and our country still has a problem with minorities. The God argument lasted for centuries with regard to the racial divide, how much longer must it last with regard to my right as a Gay man in the land of the free??? Catch up America! Countries we so ignorantly deem as being backwards in comparison have surpassed the U.S. in the campaign for Human Rights.

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  2. I agree. Countries some consider to be less developed or advanced than this country have extended further rights to its Lesbian Gay Transgender Bisexual and Questioning people. This country is fighting over whether or not to help those without the ability to pay for health care – to have the opportunity. Racial discrimination – and discrimination toward all minorities is truly beyond my understanding. This country was founded to give everybody – not just certain people – but everybody freedom and most of all EQUALITY !!

    I grew up within a few miles of the park in WeHo. It is a beautiful place – and not only should Nelson Mandela's words be honored – they should be heard and acted upon. It is time !!

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  3. There is a distinction with a very real difference between a statesman who speaks to Gay rights and Marriage equality as opposed to a later government or supreme court that stood up for it. SCOTUS struck down sodomy laws and not the president at the time. Please show me there Mandela came out for Marriage equality or LGBT rights.

    I admired Nelson Mandela but as, an AIDS activist since 1996, the revisionism and use of euphemisms is disturbing. Why does no one say that the “recurring lung infection” that finally took his life was, in fact, tuberculosis?

    South Africa is believed to have more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country in the world and it was not until AIDS struck home and took the life of his 54 year old son Makgatho Mandela that the FORMER PRESIDENT spoke out over his son’s illness and asked the country to break the silence surrounding HIV/AIDS. THAT was in 2005, no less than 25 years after the onset of the pandemic in South Africa at which time it had the highest infection rate in Africa second only to Botswana. Moreover, by 2005 anti-retro viral treatment was surely within the reach of the Mandela family had they not remained in a state of denial more than 25 years into the pandemic. In 2005, 15% of the people in South Africa with advanced HIV/AIDS *were* receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Denial killed Makgatho Mandela.

    By 2010, an estimated 280,000 South Africans had died and the State still remained in official denial. Had an elder statesman of such influence spoken out sooner there surely would not be so many thousands gone. Better late than never I guess but by 2005 it took little courage for any leader to speak out on AIDS. I admire the work of his foundation but if I had such influence yet remained silent for so long I’d be doing some pretty heavy conscience work too.

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