The Oklahoma Democratic Party would like to express our heartfelt sadness to the passing of Robert Lemon on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 and condolences to the Lemon family. Bob generously supported not only the Democratic Party but also Democratic candidates across Oklahoma, even if he didn’t know them personally.
Bob Lemon, a dedicated social justice activist in the LGBT community, was born in Shattuck, Oklahoma in 1929, graduated from the University of Texas with his Juris Doctorate and practiced oil and gas law in Texas and Oklahoma. Bob married Mary Lou Smith in 1950, and together they fought for gay rights once learning they were the parents of a gay son. Lemon continued as a progressive leader, taking out a full-page ad in the Oklahoman, speaking out against Oklahoma House Representative Sally Kern’s statement in 2008 that “gays are worse than terrorists.”
In 2011, The Oklahoma City Council’s considered a resolution to include “sexual orientation” to employment non-discrimination policies. Lemon stated that “As I stand here today, I am totally convinced that there is nothing wrong with homosexual people, they’re not broken and they don’t need fixing. But what does need fixing is the attitude of a lot of straight people with respect to gays. I pray to God the day will come when people will respect all of God’s children, not just some of them, but all of them.”
Lemon received the Carl Albert Award presented by the Oklahoma Democratic Party, the Hero of Hope Award from the Cathedral of Hope, the ACLU-OK’s Angie Debo Civil Libertarian of the Year Award, and numerous other award throughout his lifetime. Bob also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Phillips Theological Seminary in Oklahoma in 2010.