In addition to her tireless efforts in the battle against HIV/AIDS, starring in 50-plus films, and managing an always-talked-about personal life, the movie star was a pioneering champion of one thing: equal rights for all…
"Why shouldn't gay people be allowed to be able to marry?" Taylor asks in an exclusive, newly released video of her acceptance speech when she was honored with the Vanguard Award at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000. "Those against gay marriages say marriage should only be between a man and a woman. God, I of all people know that doesn't always work!" she cracked.
She continued, "I feel that any home where there is love constitutes a family and all families should have the same legal rights! Including the right to marry and have or adopt children."
"Dame Elizabeth was an icon not only in Hollywood, but in the LGBT community," says GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios, "where she worked to ensure that everyone was treated with the respect and dignity we all deserve."
The Vanguard Award is presented annually by the gay rights organization to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. Since her fight against the disease began back in the '80s, Taylor has raised over $200 million for AIDS research.
This year's Vanguard Award will be presented to Glee-tastic Broadway-turned-TV star Kristin Chenoweth during the Los Angeles awards ceremony on April 10.
One thing is for certain: Even after her death, Taylor's message will continue to inspire for decades to come. In her own words, "Long live love."
Check out Taylor's amazingly inspirational speech in full above.