Civil Rights

Civil Rights

I have fought for my entire career to ensure that all Americans enjoy equal treatment under the law, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, national origin, or religion. Many Americans still face discrimination, and there is still a long way to go in ensuring equality for all.


Federal law should not disadvantage based on who they love. It is for this reason that I cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act of 2013. This legislation would repeal Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which establishes that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. The Respect for Marriage Act would also establish a uniform rule for recognizing same-sex marriages under federal law, ensuring that all lawfully married couples will be recognized for purposes of federal law, no matter where they live.

I am also committed to combating discrimination against Americans based on their sexual orientation or gender identification. I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was passed by the Senate with my support. This bill prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. I am also a strong supporter of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which will help address discrimination against LGBT students. 

I have also worked to guarantee that women continue to have access to vital health services, receive equal pay for equal work, and can live and work free from discrimination and harassment. I sponsored legislation to end racial profiling by denying federal dollars to state and local governments that engage in this unconscionable conduct and have championed legislation to ensure that America’s civil rights laws are fully enforceable in court.

I strongly support the right to privacy—a cornerstone of both our nation’s legal system and values. I am very concerned about recent revelations regarding government surveillance agency overreach, and I’ve taken action to restore American’s privacy rights. I have introduced two pieces of legislation to establish strong and effective judicial oversight of surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA).

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court has not provided meaningful checks on government surveillance as it was intended to do, so I propose we reform the FISA court with the FISA Court Reform Act and the FISA Judge Selection Reform Act. The FISA Court Reform Act would create a constitutional advocate empowered to argue in the FISA court on behalf of the Constitution and the individual rights of the American people. The FISA Judge Selection Reform Act will help to ensure that FISA court judges reflect a diversity of viewpoints, giving the FISA system both the appearance and reality of fairness. Additionally, I’m a strong supporter of more comprehensive proposals to limit the government surveillance programs, such as the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act and the USA FREEDOM Act