Senator Feinstein has been a champion for LGBTQ+ rights her entire career, continually advancing the fight for equality.
Marriage equality for LGBTQ+ Americans has been one of the defining civil rights issues of our time. In 1996, Senator Feinstein was one of only 14 senators to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. She chaired the first congressional hearing on repealing DOMA and was the lead Senate sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal DOMA. She also led a congressional delegation in filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to find bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges.
LGBTQ+ Equality in the military
Senator Feinstein was a consistent opponent of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibited LGBTQ+ service members from disclosing their sexual orientation. Senator Feinstein continued to champion LGBTQ+ service members after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in 2011. She strongly opposed President Trump’s attempts to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military.
- Preventing discrimination: Senator Feinstein is a supporter of the Equality Act, which would expand federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in public accommodations and facilities, employment, housing, credit, jury service and federally funded programs. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.
- Ending discriminatory adoption laws: Senator Feinstein cosponsored the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would prohibit discrimination against would-be foster parents and adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Diversifying data collection: Senator Feinstein supports the LGBTQ Data Inclusion Act, which would require federal agencies to collect demographic information on the LGBTQ+ community to asses needed changes in survey methods related to asking questions about sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Workforce equality: Senator Feinstein Voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, which would ban employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against workers or applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Defining hate crimes: Senator Feinstein was a strong supporter of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate-crime laws to include crimes motivated by gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.