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.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage is constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection guarantees. This landmark ruling ensures the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Rep. Eshoo applauded the court’s decision, which reflects an overwhelming majority of Americans who support same-sex marriage.
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. Currently, LGBT Americans in twenty eight states lack basic protections from discrimination in housing, employment, education, and public accommodations. This means that a couple can get married and then be fired from their jobs and evicted from their housing because of their sexual orientation.
In the 115th Congress, Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of H.R. 2282, the Equality Act, a common-sense remedy for this unfair situation. The legislation would extend anti-discrimination provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This legislation would ensure that LGBT Americans in every state enjoy the same freedom from discrimination that exists for all citizens regardless of race, sex, religion, and national origin.
Rep. Eshoo has been a supporter of the Equality Act (formerly known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) since it was first introduced over a decade ago, and continues to work to see that this legislation becomes law.
Discrimination in any form is unacceptable and Rep. Eshoo has consistently supported the enactment of laws that promote equality for all people. Transgender individuals are no different.
Rep. Eshoo believes transgender individuals should be able serve openly in the military and voted against legislation to reinstate the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military that was lifted by the Department of Defense in June 2016. She also joined 142 of her House colleagues in writing to the President on August 29th urging him to reconsider his decision to reinstate the ban on transgender individuals serving in our nation’s military.
Rep. Eshoo also believes our schools should be safe places of learning for all students, including those in the LGBT community, which is why she supported the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX under the Obama Administration to include transgender students. Every day LGBT students are the targets of discrimination, including bullying and harassment, which can lead to academic underachievement and have a profound impact on their well-being. We’ve seen how the failure to act on this issue resulted in the nationally-publicized suicides of too many LGBT students and these stories are all too common.
Rep. Eshoo is also a proud cosponsor of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2017, which prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from targeting an individual based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.