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Op-ed: Susan G. Komen Founder on Her Gay Son and Marriage Equality

Ambassador Nancy Brinker

By Nancy G. Brinker (original source The Advocate)  

“In 1982, when I founded Susan G. Komen, I dreamed big. At the time, I had no idea just how far our reach would grow. My sister Suzy, for whom the organization was named, died in 1980 after a three-year battle with breast cancer, and I promised her that I would do everything in my power to end breast cancer forever. We’ve come a long way since then — so far, in fact, that it’s difficult today to even imagine a time when women felt a shame and stigma around breast cancer. Our mission to help women realize that it is OK to talk about breast cancer and to identify as a woman diagnosed with the disease has helped bring important women’s health issues out of the shadows and into the light.

While my work over the decades has focused largely on women’s breast cancer, my personal experiences have inspired me to become increasingly involved with legislation to remove stigma and discrimination across a broader spectrum. My son Eric is gay, and just as it seems difficult to imagine a time when the phrase “breast cancer” was taboo, it is almost impossible for me to fathom that in 26 percent of this nation, civil marriage is still unavailable for same-sex couples. There is absolutely no reason why loving same-sex couples should be excluded from the fundamental right to marry the person they love.”

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