U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy submits statement honoring Billy Manes to congressional record


  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park has submitted a statement to the Congressional Record honoring Billy Manes, who passed away July 21.

Manes, 45, a writer, activist and longtime columnist for Orlando Weekly and former editor-in-chief at the local LGBTQ publication Watermark, passed away from complications related to advanced pneumonia.

Here is the full text of Rep. Murphy's statement, which will be permanently preserved at the Library of Congress:

Mr. Speaker:

It is with a heavy heart that I rise to honor the life and legacy of Billy Manes. Billy passed away last week, far too soon, at the age of 45. He is survived by his husband, Anthony, and an entire community that admired him. With Billy’s passing, Orlando lost an icon, and our nation lost a committed, passionate, and fierce advocate for equality.

In Billy’s short time with us, he made an indelible impact on our city and our country. He was a prominent Orlando journalist and commentator, and the power of his words moved and amused central Florida. Billy broke barriers, becoming the first openly gay mayoral candidate in Orlando’s history. After the tragic loss of his partner in 2012, Billy bravely told his story to the world, putting a human face on the pressing need for equal rights for same-sex couples.

Last year, when our Orlando family was reeling from the Pulse nightclub shooting, Billy gave voice to our city’s grief. He relentlessly focused on the 49 beautiful lives we lost that night. Like them, Billy will never be forgotten.

If you ever had the privilege and the pleasure of meeting Billy, you couldn’t escape his energy, his passion, and his endearing sense of humor.

Mr. Speaker, it is critical this hallowed chamber carry on the work that Billy so valiantly championed. Though we have so much progress to celebrate, too many of the inequities that Billy’s work spotlighted remain.

May his memory inspire us to redouble our commitment to equality.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.