Civil Rights

Our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, boldly declares: “all men are created equal.” But all too often America has betrayed these high ideals with unequal treatment of women, minorities, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and the disabled. As a queer man and the husband of a disabled transgender person, civil rights issues are particularly close to my heart.

  • Protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Marriage equality is an important step forward, but it has not gone far enough. We must prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in public accommodations, the workplace, housing, education, and adoption. We must encourage schools to adopt programs to combat the scourge of LGBTQ bullying. The State Department must advocate for LGBTQ righs abroad. We must fight transphobic bathroom bills that spread the lie that transgender people are a danger to others in public spaces.

  • Support a woman’s right to choose. The most fundamental right a person can have is the right to make decisions about their own body. We must work not only to keep abortion legal but to make it accessible to any woman who wants one. To prevent the cause of abortion, we must expand access to contraception, particularly long-acting reversible contraception. And to ensure no woman has to have an abortion she doesn’t want because she can’t afford a child, the government must support impoverished parents.

  • End human-rights violations against minorities. Many of the worst policies enacted by the United States government disproportionately affect people of color. Mass incarceration, aptly called the New Jim Crow, tears apart black and Latino families and communities. The failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform leaves hundreds of Latino children frightened that their mothers will be deported. Homeland security programs target Muslims for no other reason than that they are Muslim. These programs must end.

  • Fight for the rights of the disabled. Disabled people are all too often objects of pity, instead of being recognized as equally American and as having equal rights. We should not cut Medicaid, which is essential to allow disabled people to live independently. The Department of Education must protect every person’s right to quality education, regardless of ability. Prison is the single largest mental-health care institution in the United States; we must provide care for the mentally ill instead of imprisonment.

  • Aggressively defend voting rights. The right to vote is one of the most basic civil liberties a person can have, the foundation of our democracy. It is all too often taken away from poor people and people of color. The Voting Rights Act used to protect this right, but a Supreme Court decision has removed the federal government’s ability to apply special scrutiny to states with a history of voting rights violations. Congress must pass a law to reverse this.