Discussing Post Don't Ask Don't Tell Transition Issues

“Equal protection under the law is a fundamental right in our country.  No one should suffer discrimination because of their race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Whether applying for a job, finding a home, eating in a restaurant, serving in our military, or attending school, we must ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and equally."

My Priorities

  • Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  • Ensure that all veterans – regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity – receive quality health care and services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Prevent bullying in our schools, from kindergarten through college.
  • End discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace.
  • Expand benefits for same-sex couples.

My Accomplishments

  • Hosted a listening session with LGBT veterans to hear about their experiences with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) voicing support for a new pilot study reviewing the policy that bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
  • Cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities.  
  • Cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act of 2011, which would effectively repeal DOMA.
  • Fought to end the discriminatory military policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was finally repealed in December 2010.
  • Cosponsored the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, which expands the current definition of "family member" included in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to allow an employee to take leave to care for a domestic partner and/or a same-sex spouse
  • Cosponsored the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would apply the same employment benefits provided to married federal employees and their spouses to federal employees in same-sex domestic partnerships and their domestic partners.
  • Cosponsored the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would prohibit agencies that receive federal funding from denying a prospective foster or adoptive parent, or delaying placement of a child, because of the sexual orientation or gender identity of the parent or child.
  • Cosponsored the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, which would outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans in the housing and credit markets.
  • Cosponsored legislation to prevent bullying in our schools, including the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
  • Cosponsored the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization, which updates a research, training, and technical assistance resource center to prevent suicides. The bill also reauthorizes a program of grants for the development of state or tribal youth suicide early intervention and prevention strategies. It also expands the program's focus from youth suicides to suicides among all ages, particularly among groups that are at high risk for suicide.
  • Cosponsored the Uniting American Families Act, 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.
  • Fought for equal benefits for same-sex couples in the tax code, including cosponsoring the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act and sending a letter to the IRS.
  • Cosponsored the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), which President Obama signed into law in October 2009.