March 2nd, 2017
February 6th, 2017
February 3rd, 2017
Rep. Eshoo believes all American citizens deserve equality in their personal and professional lives regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Throughout her public service, she has worked for the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and well-being for the LGBT community.
Rep. Eshoo believes that any adult couple should be allowed to marry regardless of their sexual orientation. Individual states have the authority to determine issues related to marriage, just as they have throughout our nation’s history, but federal law also has a considerable impact on the rights and privileges afforded to same-sex couples.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law enacted in 1996, effectively prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples as “spouses.” Because of this law, same-sex couples across the nation were denied tax, immigration, social security, and other benefits afforded to heterosexual couples–even in states which legally recognize same-sex marriages. Rep. Eshoo voted against this law when it passed, and has fought for its repeal ever since.
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. This decision allows the federal government to formally recognize same-sex marriages. Rep. Eshoo applauded the court’s decision, which was a landmark for civil rights in our nation, but much more work remains to be done before true equality in our nation can be achieved.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, loopholes remain in federal law that could prevent same-sex couples who live in states that don’t recognize their marriages from enjoying full Social Security marriage benefits. For this reason, Rep. Eshoo has cosponsored the Social Security Equality Act, which will ensure that married same-sex couples receive equal treament from the Social Security Administration regardless of where they live.
Rep. Eshoo has also cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that will completely repeal the rest of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Rep. Eshoo opposed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy since it was implemented in 1993. The policy caused the discharge of thousands of servicemen and women, forcing the military to reduce standards of eligibility, including issuing ‘moral waivers’ to people with felony convictions. Despite the policy, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan served side-by-side with openly gay members of allied forces, including soldiers from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Thirteen coalition partners in Operation Enduring Freedom allow lesbians, gays and bisexuals to serve openly, as do eleven coalition members fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Afghanistan. Service members have also been working side-by-side to combat terrorism with CIA, NSA, and FBI officers and agents – all of whom can be openly gay, and are also protected from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Rep. Eshoo supported President Obama’s pledge to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and voted for the successful effort to repeal the law on December 15, 2010. The repeal measure was signed by the President on December 22, 2010.
Every year qualified, hard-working Americans in both public and private sector workplaces are denied job opportunities, are terminated, or experience on-the-job discrimination because they are LGBT, yet there is no federal employment law to protect them. In 29 states it is legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation, and in 38 states discrimination based on gender identity is legal.
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a common-sense remedy for this unfair situation. The legislation does not create any “special rights.” It simply ensures that job applicants and employees are judged solely on the basis of their qualifications and performance, not prejudice.
Rep. Eshoo has been a supporter of ENDA since it was first introduced nearly a decade ago, and continues to work to see that this legislation becomes law.
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