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
“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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