The Governor for the US state of California, Jerry Brown, has commended gay rights advocates for their “courage” in being on “the cutting edge” of pushing for equality over recent decades.

Speaking at an Equality California event on Monday, Governor Brown said: “When people are in the shadows, the only way out is courage and being able to go against the grain and having allies.”

The Governor was presented with the organisation’s leadership award,

He said that when he began his political career, “there was nothing like the recognition, the appreciation or the respect that lesbian and gay, transgender, bisexual individuals now get.”

Governor Jerry Brown in 2013 won his battle to instate a ban on gay “cure” therapy on minors, and more recently signed a bill allowing transgender students attending school in the state more rights.