LGBT rights groups mourn the passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Ed Lee,  the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco, died early Tuesday after a heart attack. Lee was 65.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Mayor Lee was a tireless advocate for LGBTQ equality who worked to make San Francisco a stronger, more vibrant, and inclusive community. As the first Asian American mayor in the city’s history, he was both a trailblazer and a dedicated public servant admired by millions. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all those grieving his loss today.”

Mayor Lee was a founding member of the “Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination” coalition. He began his career as a civil rights attorney, fighting for fair housing for low-income people and battling corruption. According to the Office of the Mayor, San Francisco added more than 140,000 jobs and more than 17,000 homes during Lee’s tenure.

“The City of San Francisco and State of California have lost a key ally in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice. Throughout his career as a civil rights attorney, civil servant and eventually as the city’s first Asian American mayor, Mayor Ed Lee was a tireless champion for equality for all the diverse communities that make up San Francisco,”said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur.

San Francisco Pride issued the following statement following the announement of Lee’s death, “Today, along with the rest of San Francisco, we mourn the unexpected loss of our Mayor, Ed Lee. San Francisco Pride expresses our sincerest condolences to his wife, Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania; as well as his staff, his colleagues and his friends. City Hall is a true partner with our organization in the annual planning of Pride events in San Francisco. Mayor Lee was not only a staunch supporter and a true advocate, but also a participant and ally. His jubilant enthusiasm for Pride will be greatly missed. His spirit will live on in the celebration of our community and city.”

Just last week, Mayor Lee joined with Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in penning an op-ed about the importance of rejecting licenses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Regarding Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case currently before the Supreme Court of the United States, they said, “As co-chairs of the national Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination coalition, we are proud to join more than 150 other mayors and municipalities nationwide in opposing religious exemptions that allow sexual orientation-based discrimination.”