Kirsten Gillibrand on Civil Rights

Democratic Senator (NY)


They said repealing DADT was impossible, so I did it

If you want to get something done, tell me it's impossible. I was told you couldn't repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Members of my own party told me it wasn't convenient. We got it done. Ten years ago I was told you couldn't pass health care for our 9/11 first responders. Even when Congress turned its back on them, we kept fighting. Just last week we made the 9/11 health bill permanent.

Beating Donald Trump definitely not impossible. We need a nominee who doesn't know the meaning of impossible.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Publicly funded elections returns power to the people

You heard from the Republicans that the reason why the Trump tax cut had to be passed is because they had to pay back their donors. They actually said those words. The corruption in Washington is real, and it is something that makes every one of the plans we've heard about over the last several months impossible. I have the most comprehensive approach to do it with publicly funded elections, so we restore the power of our democracy into the hands of the voters, not into the Koch brothers.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Let ex-cons vote; address racism in criminal justice

I support full restoration of felons' rights to vote. I also believe we have to take on institutional racism and particularly mass incarceration and take on institutional racism in criminal justice. It's one of the reasons why I'm for decriminalization & full legalization of marijuana, because of how it's applied in the criminal justice system as purely racist. I also support banning cash bail, because again, the way that is applied, it harms communities of color overwhelmingly and disproportionately.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Supports commission investigating reparations for slavery

At Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention in New York City, most of the 2020 contenders affirmed their support for a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for African-Americans. "I firmly support congresswoman Jackson Lee's bill," Gillibrand said. "But we must not only study the problem," she said, promising to address a range of related issues if elected president, such as affordable housing, environmental justice and the practice of redlining.
Source: CNBC: 2019 National Action Network & 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 5, 2019

End the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 16, 2019

Raise awareness of impediments for working women

Q: How does Off the Sidelines work in terms of helping arm women?

A: Well, right now it raises awareness, It actually [provides] the information about these structural problems in society that are impediments for women. A lot of young women, for example, don't know that on average a woman earns 77 cents on the dollar for the same work. They may not realize that women only sit on 16% of Fortune 500 boards and make up only 4% of CEOs. And I think once you create that awareness of the challenge ahead of us and amplify that with the call to action to get involved, what my website does is allow them to get where they need to go.

Q: I saw on your website that you said, "getting off the sidelines is a state of mind."

A: It's basically an understanding that women's voices matter.

Source: Make A Woman President?, by Marianne Schnall, p.295-296 , Nov 5, 2013

Off the Sidelines Project: engage more women in politics

Everywhere I look today, very promising campaigns and projects are emerging to help women attain positions of influence and leadership. I wrote an article about Hillary Clinton's Women in Public Service Project, whose ambitious goal is global, political, and civic leadership of at least 50% women by 2050. I also interviewed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand about her Off the Sidelines Project, which is "a nationwide call to action to get more women engaged.to enter political life and be heard on political issues."
Source: Make A Woman President?, by Marianne Schnall, p. 3 , Nov 5, 2013

Supports gay marriage

The executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights group, said that he spoke with Rep. Gillibrand and that she spoke in favor of same-sex marriage. "She spoke eloquently about the 1,324 rights that are denied to same-sex couples in New York," he said. This would make her the first US senator from New York to endorse gay marriage; Charles Schumer, the state's senior senator, opposes it.

An aide to Ms. Gillibrand confirmed that she supports gay marriage.

Source: Michael Powell and Raymond Hernandez, New York Times , Jan 23, 2009

Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill S. 47 ; vote number 13-SV019 on Feb 12, 2013

Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

HR3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated. Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Inapplicable to associations that are exempt from religious discrimination provisions.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. CASTOR: The march towards equality under the law for all of our citizens has sometimes been slow, but it has been steady. Over time, Congress has outlawed discrimination in the workplace, based upon a person's race, gender, age, national origin, religion and disability, because when it comes to employment, these decisions are rightly based upon a person's qualifications and job performance. This legislation that outlaws job discrimination based upon sexual orientation was first introduced over 30 years ago. A broad coalition of businesses and community organizations strongly support this landmark civil rights legislation, including the Human Rights Campaign; the Anti-Defamation League; and the NAACP.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. HASTINGS: Federal law bans job discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or gender. In addition, 19 States have passed laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I strongly oppose discrimination in the workplace. However, I do not think it is the place of the Federal Government to legislate how each and every workplace operates. A number of States have enacted State laws in this area. That is their right. Many businesses have chosen to adopt their own policies. That is appropriate as well. This bill as written would expand Federal law into a realm where PERCEPTION would be a measure under discrimination law [which I consider inappropriate].

Reference: Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Bill HR3685 ; vote number 2007-1057 on Nov 13, 2007

ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays.

Gillibrand signed H.R.3017&S.1584

Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Prohibits related retaliation.

    Makes this Act inapplicable to:
  1. religious organizations; and
  2. the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces.
Source: Employment Non-Discrimination Act 09-HR3017 on Jun 24, 2009

Opposes Amendment to prevent same sex marriage.

Gillibrand opposes the CC survey question on banning same-sex marriage

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal Marriage Amendment to prevent same sex marriage"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q3 on Aug 11, 2010

Prohibit sexual-identity discrimination at schools.

Gillibrand signed Student Non-Discrimination Act

Source: HR.998&S.555 11-S0555 on Mar 10, 2011

Endorsed by The Feminist Majority indicating a pro-women's rights stance.

Gillibrand is endorsed by by the Feminist Majority on women's rights

The Feminist Majority endorses candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition to the stronger "endorsement," the organization also determines "preferred" candidates in races where they do not endorse. Their mission statement:

"Our mission is to empower feminists, who are the majority, and to win equality for women at the decision-making tables of the state, nation, and the world. The Feminist Majority promotes non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, age, marital status, nation of origin, size or disability. The purpose of Feminist Majority is to promote equality for women and men, non-violence, reproductive health, peace, social justice and economic development and to enhance feminist participation in public policy. Feminist Majority supports workers’ collective bargaining, pay equity, and end of sweatshops. We encourage programs directed at the preservation of the environment."

Source: FeministMajority.org website 12-FemMaj on Oct 31, 2012

Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.

Gillibrand co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
  2. Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
  3. The existence of such pay disparities depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet; and undermines women's retirement security.
  4. Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These barriers have resulted because the Equal Pay Act has not worked as Congress originally intended.
  5. The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have important and unique responsibilities to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
  6. The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
  7. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
  8. With a stronger commitment [to enforcement], increased information on wage data and more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights.
  9. Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-S0084 on Jan 23, 2013

Enforce against anti-gay discrimination in public schools.

Gillibrand co-sponsored Student Non-Discrimination Act

Congressional Summary: