Civil Rights

Senator Feinstein has been a champion for civil rights of all people during her 40-year career in public service.

Women’s rights

  • Senator Feinstein introduced a resolution with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (S.Res.323) to mandate sexual harassment prevention training for Members, officers, employees, and interns of the Senate. She was an original cosponsor on a similar bipartisan resolution (S.Res.330) introduced soon after that passed the Senate unanimously. (2017)
  • Senator Feinstein is an original cosponsor of the Congressional Harassment Reform Act of 2017 (S. 2236), a bipartisan bill that requires anti-harassment training for all congressional members, officers and employees and reforms how Congress handles harassment and discrimination claims.
  • Senator Feinstein is an original co-sponsor of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017 (S. 2203), a bill to ensure that employers cannot force their employees to submit to private arbitration of sex discrimination claims and waive any rights they would otherwise have under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Senator Feinstein led a letter in December 2017 to the Director of National Intelligence to review treatment of women employees in national security positions. 
  • Senator Feinstein joined other women senators in calling on the EEOC (which enforces federal workplace anti-discrimination laws and investigates discrimination charges) to address sexual harassment in the food and hospitality industries. 
  • Senator Feinstein is a longtime supporter of the Violence Against Women Act, known as VAWA, which became law in 1994, and was reauthorized and expanded upon in 2000, 2005, and 2013.
  • Senator Feinstein has consistently supported resolutions to revive consideration of the Equal Rights Amendment. (1993-2017)
  • Senator Feinstein introduced a resolution designating March 2016 as National Women’s History Month and recognizing the many notable contributions that women have made to the United States. (2016)
  • Senator Feinstein joined a congressional amicus brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstadt opposing the undue burden that Texas law had placed on women’s access to abortion. (2016)
  • Senator Feinstein voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act (first voted for cloture on June 4, 2012, then again as an amendment on March 24, 2015 – both failed). This bill would have strengthened the standards of the Equal Pay Act to better help employees who take action against workplace wage discrimination on the basis of gender. (2012, 2015)
  • Senator Feinstein voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which was signed into law. This bill amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to state that an unlawful employment practice occurs when a discriminatory compensation practice is adopted and amended the statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit. (2009)
  • Introduced the Harassment-Free Workplace Act to strengthen workplace protections. The bill would have expanded sexual harassment protections to employees of small businesses, making it an unlawful employment practice for a respondent to engage in a practice that constitutes sexual harassment as defined under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against an employee or job applicant, and prohibited any action against an employee or applicant in response to a charge or allegation of sexual harassment or participation in an investigation. (1994)

LGBT rights

  • Introduced a bill to nullify President Trump’s “Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals, women and religious minorities. (2017)
  • Voted for the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit public schools from discriminating against students based on actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. (Amendment defeated in 2015)
  • Led a congressional delegation in filing an amicus brief in support of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges. (2015)
  • Repeatedly introduced the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal the discriminatory DOMA law and recognize same-sex marriages. (2011, 2013, 2015)
  • Voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, which would ban employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminate against workers or applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. (2013)
  • Led a congressional delegation in filing an amicus brief in support of marriage equality in United States v. Windsor. (2013)
  • Chaired the first congressional hearing on the repeal of DOMA. (2011)
  • Voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (2010)
  • Voted no on the Marriage Protection Amendment to create a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. (2006)
  • Voted yes on an amendment that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, gender, and disability. (2000)
  • One of only 14 Senators to vote against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. (1996)
  • Voted for the nomination of Roberta Achtenber to be Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD, the first openly LGBT federal appointee to be confirmed. (1993)

Voting Rights

  • After President Trump established the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, Senator Feinstein cosponsored the Anti-Voter Suppression Act, which would strike down the Executive Order establishing that Commission. (2017)
  • After the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in the case Shelby County v. Holder, Senator Feinstein cosponsored several bills to restore this provision and update the criteria to determine whether a state or locality must have changes to voting laws or procedures pre-approved by the Department of Justice. Senator Feinstein cosponsored the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 and the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2017. (2014-2017)
  • Senator Feinstein was an original cosponsor of the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act. Among other things, the bill made it a criminal offense to engage in practices, such as providing false information on voter eligibility, that were meant to intimidate voters and suppress turnout, especially among minority voters. (2007)
  • Senator Feinstein was an original cosponsor of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and Cesar E. Chavez Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendment Act, which reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act in an effort to protect voting rights. (2006)

Americans with Disabilities Act

  • Senator Feinstein joined 60 of her Senate colleagues in voting for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations in 2006. The convention sought to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy all the same rights as those without disabilities. Unfortunately, the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority required to adopt treaties. (2012)
  • Senator Feinstein cosponsored the ADA Amendments Act, helping broaden the scope of protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (2008)

Other issues

  • The Senate passed Senator Feinstein’s Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act, a bill that requires individuals affiliated with amateur sports organizations to report child abuse, including sexual abuse, allegations as soon as possible to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department. This bill also mandates training, oversight practices, policies and procedures to prevent the abuse of amateur athletes. The bill also extends the statute of limitations for civil suits filed by minor victims of sexual abuse to allow a minor to sue by age 28 or 10 years after he or she discovers the injury. (2017)
  • Senator Feinstein has supported the Congressional Whistleblower Act, which expands whistleblower protections to people working for Congress. (2017)
  • Introduced a resolution commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest. (2017)
  • Consistently sponsored or was the lead Democrat on the Due Process Guarantee Act. This bill would prohibit the U.S. government from detaining a citizen or lawful permanent resident without charge or trial. (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • Introduced the Civil Rights History Project Act. This bill would have required the Librarian of Congress to establish an oral history project about participates in the Civil Rights Movement. (2009)
  • Introduced a resolution condemning prejudice against individuals of Asian and Pacific Island ancestry in the United States. The resolution passed by unanimous consent. (1999)
  • Voted against an amendment that would ban affirmative action hiring with federal funds. (1995)