Expand LGBT Rights
In 2013, I stood on the US Supreme Court steps as they struck down California's Proposition 8, a proposition that had banned marriage equality in our state. As I celebrated with the crowd, I knew this was the first step in a longer battle. Even after Obergfell v. Hodges made marriage equality the law across the land, we still have so much work to do to realize true equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. I am confident we will achieve this goal, and San Francisco has always led the way. With our example, I am confident we will achieve equality in all aspects of life.
Perhaps the most egregious example of inequality for LGBT Americans is the legal discrimination that still exists across the nation. According to current law, in many states an LGBT person can marry their partner on Saturday, post pictures on Sunday, and be legally evicted, fired, and have their credit disqualified on Monday. This cannot stand - current law recognizes that love is love, but LGBT Americans should never be denied access to all the other rights and privileges that make up American life. I have been a staunch advocate for bills like the Equality Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that amend current civil rights law to expand protections for LGBT Americans in places like the workplace, housing, public accommodations, credit, jury selection, and other areas of life.
While we are making progress on expanding civil rights protections, there have been a series of state and local attempts to legalize discrimination on the basis of religious protection. Simply put, these efforts are wrong and unconstitutional. As Supervisor Harvey Milk once said, ““It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” Religious objection is not an excuse to discriminate. I will oppose these state efforts in any way that I can, and I will oppose any attempts to pass provisions or laws like this at the federal level.
I have led a number of efforts in Congress to promote LGBT equality beyond civil rights access. I have introduced a resolution calling on states to ban the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” - a damaging practice where often unlicensed therapists convince parents they can change the sexual orientation or gender identity of their children. We need to protect our children from this dangerous quackery that often takes the form of torture. I have also been a driving Congressional force in support of the Department of Defense initiative to lift the ban on open service for transgender service members. Until the ban was lifted, an estimated 15,500 transgender troops were serving in our military silently without proper medical care or recognition of their gender identity.
I will continue to fight for the rights of LGBT Americans in all aspects of life. It’s the San Francisco way.