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I’m a proud supporter of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
I firmly believe LGBT individuals deserve equal protection under the law. No one should suffer discrimination because of their race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. All citizens must be able to fully participate in all the aspects of American life – from the right to marry and obtain spousal benefits, to the right to serve openly in our nation’s Armed Forces.
As the Vice-Chair of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, and through my own work, I have advocated extensively on behalf of the LGBT community in Congress and will continue to do so. For too long, the LGBT community has had to face countless challenges in the search for equal rights, and I believe the United States must extend equal rights to LGBT individuals. I was particularly proud of my involvement in repealing the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy which barred openly gay soldiers from serving our nation. I actively worked with the Palm Center, which formerly had its home at UC Santa Barbara, to educate my colleagues in Congress that this policy weakened both our military and American values.
- Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
- Prevent bullying in our schools, from kindergarten through college.
- Secure resources for community health centers to combat HIV/AIDS epidemic.
- End discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace.
- Expand federal benefits for same-sex couples.
- Original co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act of 2011 (ROMA), which would effectively repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
- Co-sponsored legislation to prevent bullying in our schools, including the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011 and the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011.
- Fought to end the discriminatory military policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was finally repealed in September 2011. I was proud to work closely with the Palm Center, formerly of UC Santa Barbara, to educate my colleagues in Congress that the DADT policy weakened both our military and American values.
- Original co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2011 (ENDA), which would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities.
- Introduced a House Resolution “Honoring and remembering the life of Lawrence "Larry" King.” Tragically, King was fatally shot at his Oxnard middle school in 2008.
- Original co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act of 2011, which would update U.S. immigration laws to allow American citizens to sponsor same-sex “permanent partners” applying for legal residency in the United States.
- Original co-sponsor of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), which President Obama signed into law in October 2009.