- Civil Rights
Jeff is committed to protecting the rights and liberties of all Americans. Since its creation, our nation has come a long way in the march toward equality and fairness, but there is still much work to be done. All Americans deserve the opportunity to live, work, and succeed without facing discrimination.
Ending Workplace Discrimination
Right now, Americans are protected against discrimination in the workplace based on race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and national origin. However, there is currently no federal law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from employment discrimination. In fact, it remains legal in 29 states to fire someone based on sexual orientation, and in 33 states based on their gender identity.
Jeff believes that all Americans deserve the right to work hard and earn a living. That’s why he is the lead Senate sponsor, with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This legislation would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA would protect qualified, hardworking Americans from being fired, denied job opportunities, or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Jeff successfully steered the legislation through the Senate in 2013 with a strong bipartisan vote, and it is awaiting House action.
Jeff is a proud support of marriage equality, and has been since before he ran for Senate in 2008. He is supportive of efforts to reverse Measure 36 so all Oregonians have the right to marry.
Jeff strongly believes that all workers deserve equal pay for equal work. At a time when women who work full time, year-round, still make only 78 cents for every dollar that a man makes, we are still falling short on the promise of equal opportunity for all.
In one of his first acts as a U.S. Senator, Jeff cosponsored two bills to provide workers with increased protection from discriminatory pay practices. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama, restores fairness to the workplace by allowing victims of discrimination the ability to seek compensation even if they only discover the discrimination later. Jeff is working with his Senate colleagues to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close the loopholes that allow employment discrimination to go unchecked while improving the remedies available and prohibiting retaliatory action by employers.
Jeff is a strong advocate of ensuring that every American can exercise his or her constitutional right to vote. In recent years, too many states have put in place restrictions that make it difficult to vote – especially for young Americans, seniors, and people of color. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made it easier for states to put up burdensome roadblocks to voting by striking down part of the Voting Rights Act. Jeff is strongly supportive of bipartisan efforts to update the Voting Rights Act and prevent backsliding on our commitment to preserve the most fundamental right in our democracy.