August 16th, 2017
I am proud to be a representative of the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, and I was honored to stand with LGBT leaders as the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision reversing Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the nation.
I believe the fight for LGBT rights is the civil rights fight of our generation, and I am thrilled by this recent victory. Despite these advances, there remain many other discriminatory practices that should be addressed. As a member of the Equality Caucus, I am working with colleagues to implement reforms that would ensure greater equality in our schools and in the workplace. I recently joined several of my colleagues in writing a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that commends the Department of Education for its work to address the bullying of LGBT youth while encouraging the agency to issue a final guidance outlining the obligations to protect LGBT students from discrimination.
There is much work to be done, but I am proud that the recent Supreme Court decision has made our nation a little bit more equal and free. I am continuing my work to advance the rights of all people, including those in the LGBT community.
I believe that Congress needs to do more to end gender-based wage discrimination, and that’s why I am an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the wage gap between men and women persists throughout the country and across many industries. The wage gap persists in our community as well; in 2014, women in the 6th District earned $15,000 less than men in our district. This statistic informed my decision to support H.R. 1619, the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that will finally designate the Secretary of Labor with the authority to enforce the equal rights provisions that were signed into law in 1963.
While Congress considers legislation that will end wage-based discrimination, it is also important to acknowledge the barriers that keep women from reaching the highest position in their chosen careers. In June of last year, the number of Fortune 500 CEOs who are women reached the historic high of 24, but this number means that only 4.8% of the biggest companies have a woman in the top spot. If we are truly going to bring equality to the workplace, we need to look deeper than wage based discrimination. We must create a working environment where all Americans, regardless of gender, sexual preference, race, or any other characteristic, can reach their highest potential. Not only is this the right thing to do morally but it’s the right thing to do for our economy.
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