Democrats Historic Gay-Inclusive Civil Rights Package Sets The Stage For Introduction Of Bipartisan Legislation

The Human Rights Campaign recently applauded the Democratic

leadership for introducing a gay-inclusive historic civil rights package in

Congress. This is the first civil rights bill of its kind and it shows the

Democrats’ commitment to achieving equality for all people, including gay

and lesbian Americans, says HRC.

“This is a landmark bill that will pave the way for the introduction

of important bipartisan legislation that will protect lesbian and gay

Americans from hate crimes and job discrimination,” says HRC Political

Director Winnie Stachelberg. “The Democratic leadership, particularly Sen.

Tom Daschle, deserve special thanks for sending the message that gay and

lesbian equality is an important priority. We will now shift our attention

to lining up support on both sides of the aisle so we can pass this

legislation that is supported by the vast majority of Americans.”

As part of a larger legislative package, the Democratic leadership

introduced the Protecting Civil Rights for All Americans Act. This

legislation includes six different provisions that show a commitment to

basic human rights.

The first section is federal hate crimes legislation that includes

sexual orientation. The second is a study that will explore the national

problem of racial profiling. Section three would give more money to the

Legal Services Corp., which provides legal representation to low income

individuals and families. The fourth section is legislation to outlaw

discrimination based on genetics. The fifth section is legislation that

outlaws employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The final

section deals with increased funding for law enforcement agencies that deal

with enforcing civil rights laws.

In addition to this omnibus bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination

Act, which outlaws job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the

Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which helps law enforcement battle

hate crimes, will be introduced as free standing bills to maximize

bipartisan support.

“In the last Congress we passed hate crimes legislation with

bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and we expect to pick up

even more support when the legislation is reintroduced in the coming weeks,”

said Stachelberg. Based on previous Senate votes and commitments from new

members, HRC has identified over 60 votes for the Local Law Enforcement

Enhancement Act and a bipartisan majority for the Employment Non

Discrimination Act in the current Senate.

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