On October 20, 2008, Rebecca Covell received the Kuchling Humanitarian Award from the Dallas Black Tie Dinner, annually the largest annual fundraising event in the City of Dallas. The following is the written text of his acceptance speech that evening before an audience of 3,000 guests
Hi, y’all! My name is Rebecca. I’m a lesbian. My family is fine with my orientation. Now if only I could tell them I'm a lawyer.
You know, they say that behind every successful lesbian is another lesbian, two dogs, a cat, and birds – the menagerie – and it's true. And the one behind me, and my inspiration and my muse, is Marty Malliton. She has inspired me and loved me for a dozen years – amazing, I know. But when we first got together and had our holy union a dozen years ago, we made an agreement that I could make all the big decisions and Marty could make all the small decisions ... and that has worked well for 12 years, and, you know what, there has not been one big decision yet.
I also want to thank Randy and Lori, and the Black Tie Dinner committee, for honoring me and Phil [Johnson] on this momentous occasion. This is the 25th anniversary that the Ray Kuchling Humanitarian Award has been given out, and I am humbled to be here, and I thank you for giving me this great honor.
Being in this room together with all of you, it helps us all to raise our strength and our inspiration. We draw it from each other. And to our straight allies who are here – I thank you for being here and standing with us. You help us shatter stereotypes. You help me overcome assumptions. Now, when I see a man with a bad haircut or wearing mixed plaids, I don't automatically assume he's straight.
And I want to thank you, the unsung volunteers … we who lick the envelopes and produce these events, and who work in the get-out-the-vote registrations … all of the things that all of us do every day. I want to accept this honor on your behalf, too, because it's not just the generals ... it takes an army.
And to have Joe Solmonese here tonight, who every day is putting a face on our issues. It has been my great honor to be a part of the Human Rights Campaign family. I have had my highest highs – my best friends – my inspiration – my strongest allies – in the great cause of equal rights. And we can do this together. And you know, Joe mentioned the “Proposition 8” campaign in California – and it's going to the courts there – but you know this issue is not going to be won in the courts. It's going to be won in our backyards, and it's going to be won because all of us are going to join together. The way you do that is the theme of this dinner – tell your story! You come out. It's your friends. It's your family. It's your congregation. It's your colleagues. When you are authentic with them, they get to know you. It makes politics personal. And that's how they come to understand that what we want is just equal rights. All politics is personal. We join in this together, and together we will have an equal rights society.
Thank you with this honor and for sharing this evening with me.