Senator Sanders has been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. In 1983, during his first term as Mayor of Burlington, Sen. Sanders supported the city’s first ever Pride Parade. He later signed a city ordinance banning housing discrimination.
When he served in the House of Representatives, then-Congressman Sanders voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 and the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996. Sen. Sanders hailed the landmark Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015 which struck down DOMA and recognized same-sex marriage is a right in all 50 states, calling the decisions a “victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights.”
The United States has made remarkable progress on gay rights in a relatively short amount of time. But there is still much work to be done.
In many states, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. It is legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms.
Sen. Sanders is currently a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. He has consistently supported legislation that would guarantee LGBT Americans would be treated as equal citizens, and has a lifetime perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.
Sen. Sanders will:
- Fight for the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and any other bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people.
- Work with HHS to ensure LGBT Americans have access to comprehensive health insurance which provides appropriate coverage and do not have to fear discrimination or mistreatment from providers.
- Continue to support the great work of the State Department’s Special Envoy for LGBT Rights and ensure the United States helps protect the rights of LGBT people around the world.
- Advance policies to ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to reduce suicides.
- Support police departments adopting policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color who are often targeted by police unfairly, and instituting training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.
- Fight against discrimination against LGBT people by creditors and banks so that people will not be unfairly denied mortgages, credit cards, or student loans.
- Strongly oppose any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.