Senator Bernie Sanders has been with us for years. As Mayor of Burlington, VT in 1983 Bernie signed the city’s first Gay Pride Parade proclamation and later he signed a city ordinance banning housing discrimination.
One can even look further in Bernie’s past and see that he supported equal rights. In the 1970s when he was a student and a member of a third party called the Liberty Union he wrote, “Let us abolish all laws which attempt to impose a particular brand of morality or ‘right’ on people.”
As a student in the 1960s, Bernie was an activist, he was a front-line champion for equality. Bernie was even arrested while protesting the segregation of schools, he organized against segregated housing in Chicago, and he marched on Washington, D.C. with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand was not on the same track. On the Senate floor in 2004, debating a marriage amendment which she voted ‘no’ on would have put a ban on marriage equality in the Constitution Hillary still said the follow:
the fundamental bedrock principle that marriage exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults (Biddle).
Personally, I find her statement hurtful. First, it tells me that she believes that LGBTQIA+ individuals cannot have families and are not competent to care for children. Second, it tells me that she is a traditionalist and that means that no matter what is right on the basis of civil rights she will hold true to her tradition.
On the Rachel Maddow Show (RMS), Hillary said this while speaking about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA),
a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further.” She said this while attempting to tell us that these measures where passed to stop the Republicans (she says they are one of her enemies) from passing something worse (Johnson).
Hillary also had this to say,
I think that sometimes a leader in a democracy you are confronted with two bad choices and it is not an easy position and you have to try and think what is the least bad choice and how do I try and cabin this off from having worse consequences (Johnson)?
However, when Bernie Sanders served in the House of Representatives during the same time, he voted against both “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 and the “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996. Bernie stood up for what was right when he faced a fork in the road to do what was easy and go with the majority or take a stand. He chose to take a stand.
Recently, at the Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Sen. Sanders said this on the issue,
It was called the Defense of Marriage Act – brought forth by a Republican – led Congress. Its purpose was to write discrimination against gays and lesbians into law. […] I’m sorry to tell you that the bill won by an overwhelming majority of 342 to 57 in the House and 85 to 15 in the Senate.”
Senator Bernie Sanders is a fighter for the least of these and he has proven that throughout his lifetime. He is fighting for the working class and young adults. He continues to speak truth to power.
As he says,
I’m not running for president because it’s my turn, but because it’s the turn of all of us to live in a nation of hope and opportunity, not for some, not for the few, but for all (Johnson).
Bernie knows that in many states you can get married in the morning and in the afternoon get fired for putting up a picture of your partner. He knows that in many states you can still be denied housing or public accommodations just for being transgender or gender non-conforming. Bernie believes that this is unacceptable and must change.
As Senator, Bernie is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He has even kept a lifetime perfect 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign and has consistently supported legislation that would guarantee LGBTQIA+ Americans would be treated as equal citizens (www.berniesanders.com)
As President, Senator Bernie Sanders will:
- Sign into law the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and any other bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals.
- Work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to ensure LGBTQIA+ Americans have access to comprehensive health insurance which provides appropriate coverage and do not have to fear discrimination or mistreatment from providers.
- Continue the work of President Obama’s State Department’s Special Envoy (which was enforced by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary) for LGBTQIA+ Rights and ensure the United States helps protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals around the world.
- Advance polices to ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to reduce suicides.
- Require police departments adopt policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender individuals, especially transgender people of color who are often targeted by police unfairly, and institute training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.
- Bar discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals by creditors and banks so that people will not be unfairly denied mortgages, credit cards, or student loans.
- Veto any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights (www.berniesanders.com).
Senator Bernie Sanders believes that,
we need a political revolution to transform American politics. I am talking about bringing in the voices of millions who have given up on the political process. When that happens everything that I talk about will be passed. If it does not, virtually nothing will (Johnson).