Openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado addressed the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 4, introducing himself as "Jared Polis. My great-grandparents were immigrants. I am Jewish. I am gay. I am a father. I am a son. I am an entrepreneur. I am a congressman from Colorado. I am always an optimist. But first and foremost, I am an American."
The transcript of his speech follows:
My name is Jared Polis. My great-grandparents were immigrants. I am Jewish. I am gay. I am a father. I am a son. I am an entrepreneur. I am a congressman from Colorado. I am always an optimist. But first and foremost, I am an American.
And the America I believe in is the America Barack Obama believes in. It is the America you believe in. One where if you play by the rules and work hard, you can get ahead and succeed. One in which loving families of all forms are respected and celebrated as the backbone of society. One in which today's divisions become tomorrow's unity, in which we transcend partisan bickering and work together to forge a better future for ourselves and our families.
Diversity is America's strength, and only by working together, as one nation, can we form a more perfect union. That is why President Obama brought to Washington a vision for one America—an America in which we can overcome divisions of red and blue to make our country greater.
It is why he's fighting to make citizenship a reality for young immigrants who go to college or serve in our military. It is why he repealed "don't ask, don't tell," so that no person is prevented from serving the country they love because of whom they love. And it is why Barack Obama became the first sitting president in American history to show his personal support for same-sex marriage.
Consistently over the last four years, as our nation has struggled through the worst recession since the Great Depression, Barack Obama has shown strong leadership and taken on politics as usual. He has challenged our nation to come together. Barack Obama is the first presidential candidate to refuse contributions from lobbyists. He set the strictest ethics rules in the history of the executive branch.
His vision for one America, one in which we can overcome our divisions to make our country greater, continues to be an enormous challenge to Washington, D.C., a town with professional pundits and pols, whose entire livelihood is never-ending partisan bickering.
But ladies and gentlemen, now is our chance to tell the dividers no, tell the special interests and cynical Washington insiders no, tell the lobbyists and PACs no, and tell our fellow countrymen and women, gay and straight, Christians, Jews, Mormons, Muslims and nonbelievers, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian, east and west, north and south; it is time to tell them yes, together we are stronger, together we are better, together we are America.
And that is why we must continue bringing America together. So tonight, I don't just ask my fellow Americans to respect my relationship with my partner Marlon and my role as a father to our son. I also ask them to respect the Christian family concerned about decaying moral values and crass commercialism. I ask them to respect the difficult decision of a single mother to bring a child into this world, because of her heartfelt beliefs.
And it is why we must help that courageous woman have the support she needs after her child is born. We celebrate Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs, even Republicans, because this is their future, too. Republicans mocked our desire to heal the planet, but we will heal it for Republicans too, and we will create jobs for Republicans too.
We are a diverse country, but we are one country. And we are at our best when we come together as Americans, not despite our differences, but in celebration of them. From the newest arrivals to our Native American brothers and sisters, we are one America. Barack Obama understands that together we can take on any challenge, and together, we can move our country forward. Out of many, one!