"When someone asks me, "are gay rights civil rights?" my answer is always, "Of course, they are." Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives: the right to equal treatment before the law. These are the rights shared by everyone. There is no one in the United States who does not, or should not, enjoy or share in enjoying these rights. Gay and lesbian rights are not special rights in any way. It isn't "special" to be free from discrimination. It is an ordinary, universal entitlement of citizenship.
...People of color ought to be flattered that our movement has provided so much inspiration for others. That, it has been, that our movement has been so widely imitated. That our tactics, our methods, our heroes, our heroines, and even our songs, have been appropriated or served as models for others.
...Now, no parallel between movements is exact. African-Americans are the only Americans who were enslaved for more than two centuries and people of color carried the badge of who we are on our faces. But we are far from the only people suffering discrimination; sadly, so do many others. And those others deserve the law's protection and civil rights too."
--Julian Bond at HRC's LA Gala Dinner