Standing Up for LGBT Rights and Marriage Equality
I believe that equal treatment and opportunity are fundamental rights for all Americans. Discrimination on the basis of national origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, gender, or race undermines core American principles of respect and individual freedom. We have an obligation to fight against discrimination, whatever the form. I will continue to work with partners at the federal, state, and local level to ensure all individuals are treated equally under the law regardless of race, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The government should not deny those in same-sex relationships the right to marry and enjoy the same benefits, rights, and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples. Government and political leaders like myself should have no place in determining the most personal aspects of our lives. Government officials should not have the power to declare one relationship ‘morally’ superior to another. As long as the government administers marriages and its benefits, it must remain neutral and treat all Americans as equal.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: A Strong Record of Fighting for LGBT Rights and Equality
Cosponsored HR 197: The Respect for Marriage Act
- Repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
Cosponsored HR 3185: The Equality Act
- Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.
Cosponsored H.Res.208: Equality for All Resolution
- Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are valuable, contributing members of society who deserve equal treatment under the law.
- Declares that: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a serious problem; (2) existing federal protections are inadequate to ensure nondiscrimination; and (3) Congress should pass legislation that prohibits such discrimination in areas including credit, employment, education, federally funded programs, housing, jury service, and public accommodations.
- Encourages states to prohibit such discrimination and to reject laws that undermine nondiscrimination protections.
Signed Supreme Court Amicus Brief on Marriage Equality
- 172 Members of the House and 40 Members of the Senate filed the brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Windsor challenge to Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), defining marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman.” [Feinstein.Sen.Gov]
Applauded the Supreme Court decision Obergefeldt v Hodges to uphold marriage equality nationwide.
Requested Hundreds of Millions in Funding for LGBT Privacy/Housing Rights
- Congresswoman Gabbard requested funding for FHIP and FHAP for Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, tangentially related as many in the LGBT community are helped by these two programs.
- She requested $364 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), the only federal program focused on the housing needs for low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS.
- She requested $45.6 million for Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). These funds are used by non-profit fair housing organizations to educate the public and housing industry stakeholders about housing discrimination.
- In addition, she requested $40 million for the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP). These funds are used by state and local agencies to enforce fair housing laws. FHAP receives reimbursements based on the number of cases successfully processed.
Cosponsored HR 1199: The Safe Schools Improvement Act.
- The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to require school districts in states that receive ESEA funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. SSIA would also require that states report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.
Cosponsored HRes 549: Designating June 26th as LGBT Equality Day.
- Expresses support for: (1) equal rights and protections for all people, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; and (2) the designation of LGBT Equality Day.
- Acknowledges the need for further legislation to ensure that people in the United States are free from all forms of discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Cosponsored H.J. Res. 52: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women
- Supports consideration for adding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that men and women have equal rights in the United States, and prohibiting the US from denying or abridging equal rights under the law on the account of sex.
Cosponsored HR 1755: Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013
- Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims.
- Prohibits related retaliation.
- Makes this Act inapplicable to: (1) religious organizations, and (2) the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces. Declares that this Act does not repeal or modify any federal, state, territorial, or local law creating a special right or preference concerning employment for a veteran.
- Prohibits this Act from being construed to: (1) prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to adhere to reasonable dress or grooming standards, or (2) require the construction of new or additional facilities.
- Prohibits the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from compelling collection or requiring production of statistics from covered entities on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Provides for enforcement, including giving the EEOC, the Librarian of Congress (LOC), the Attorney General (DOJ), and U.S. courts the same enforcement powers as they have under specified provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991, and other specified laws.
- Allows actions and proceedings, subject to exception, against the United States and the states.
Cosponsored HR 683 the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act.
- The Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act (MSETA) would provide the same family benefits to lawfully-married lesbian and gay service members and veterans as are already provided to service members and veterans with different-sex spouses, regardless of where they live. The bill includes lesbian and gay military spouses in the definition of “spouse” for the purposes of Titles 10, 32, 37 and 38 of the United State Code.
Cosponsored HR 932, the Healthy Families Act.
- The Healthy Families Act would provide employees the opportunity to earn a minimum of seven paid sick days (56 hours) per year to care for themselves or their families. This leave will relieve workers from having to make the untenable decision between caring for themselves or a loved one and losing necessary income, or even losing their job altogether. While the legislation does not explicitly name same-sex partners or spouses, this inclusive language makes leave available for the American family in all of its diverse forms, including those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Cosponsored HR 2839: Restore Honor to Service Members Act
- Requires appropriate military record correction boards or discharge review boards to review the discharge characterization of any former members of the Armed Forces requesting a review who were discharged because of their sexual orientation. Permits such boards to change a characterization to honorable if such characterization is any characterization except honorable.
- Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to ensure that any such changes are carried out consistently and uniformly across the military departments using specified criteria, including that: (1) the original discharge was based on the policy of Don't Ask Don't Tell (as in effect before it was repealed pursuant to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010) or a similar earlier policy; and (2) the discharge characterization will be changed if, with respect to the original discharge, there were no aggravating circumstances, such as misconduct, that would have independently led to any discharge characterization except honorable.
- Prohibits "aggravating circumstances" from including: (1) an offense of sodomy committed by the member against a consenting person of the same sex; or (2) statements, consensual sexual conduct, or consensual acts relating to sexual orientation or identity, or the disclosure of such statements, conduct, or acts, that were prohibited at the time of discharge but that became permitted after such discharge.
- Directs the Secretary of each military department to ensure that oral historians of the department: (1) review discharges between World War II and September 2011 based on sexual orientation, and (2) receive oral testimony of individuals who personally experienced discrimination and discharge because of actual or perceived sexual orientation so that such testimony may serve as an official record of such discriminatory policies and their impact on American lives.
- Requires the reissuance of specified military personnel records and discharge forms in a manner that shall not reflect the sexual orientation of the member.
- Amends the Uniform Code of Military Justice to remove from the offense of sodomy specified activity referred to as unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex.
Cosponsored HR 2523: Respect for Marriage Act (113th Congress)
- Respect for Marriage Act - Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to repeal a provision that prohibited a state, territory, possession, or Indian tribe from being required to recognize any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a same sex marriage.
- Amends the federal rules of construction added by such Act concerning the definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" to provide that, for purposes of any federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the state where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any state, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a state. Removes the definition of "spouse" (currently, a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife).