“All Americans deserve the same basic rights as everyone else – that’s why I have fought so hard for equality for all LGBT Americans. I believe that marriage equality extends one of our most basic rights of citizenship to all Americans – that is, the right to marry the person you love. It’s my sincere hope that marriage equality will soon become the law of the land.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
A vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, Rep. Adam Schiff actively supports the rights of all citizens to be treated equally under the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as furthering human rights for LGBT people around the world.
Ensuring Equal Marriage
Rep. Adam Schiff is an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would require states to recognize any marriage performed legally in another state, including that of LGBT Americans. Additionally, it would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA, passed in 1996, defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, and states that same-sex marriages do not have to be recognized across state lines. Schiff believes that DOMA is discriminatory and unconstitutional, and believes that Congress should repeal it immediately. He was a vocal opponent of the decision by the House Majority to use Congressional funds to defend DOMA after the Administration made the appropriate decision to decline to defend a clearly discriminatory law.
In June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional on equal protection grounds and dismissed a case involving California’s Proposition 8, making marriage equality the law in California again. Congressman Schiff was proud to sign an Amicus brief to the Court, calling on them to strike down DOMA and Proposition 8, and applauded this decision as a major step towards full equality for all LGBT Americans to enjoy all the rights and privileges of our nation. While marriage equality is again the law of the land in California, Schiff believes our work isn’t done until every American can marry the person they love, regardless of where they happen to live.
Working to End Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Schiff is an original co-sponsor of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which passed the U.S. Senate in November 2013. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would establish basic protections in the workplace to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are currently only 18 states (including California) and the District of Columbia that prohibit discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity, and an additional 3 states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. ENDA would provide a basic level of protection against workplace discrimination in a manner modeled closely on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would apply to private employers as well as local, state, and federal government employers. Rep. Schiff was also an early advocate for the President to issue an Executive Order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by federal contractors, and applauded the President’s decision to issue such an order in July 2014. Schiff has also opposed the inclusion of overly broad “religious exemptions” within any ENDA legislation which would have the effect of undercutting the intent of the Act to prohibit discrimination.
No citizen should face discrimination or harassment based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, and no child should face hostility in school because of their sexuality. Rep. Adam Schiff has co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act to protect LGBT students from bullying and discrimination in school.
Schiff will continue to support both of these pieces of legislation until they become law.
Supporting the Full Integration of LGBT Servicemembers into the Military
Congressman Schiff was proud to support the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. With the repeal of this discriminatory policy, LGBT service members no longer need to hide their sexuality while proudly serving their country. Unfortunately, the end of DADT did not immediately end the unequal treatment of same sex spouses of U.S. service members, so Schiff led an effort in the House urging the Pentagon to ensure the equal treatment of LGBT service members and their spouses, which they did in 2013, extending through an executive order some benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian service members.
Ensuring that LGBT Families Have Equal Treatment in Adoptions
Rep. Adam Schiff is a supporter of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would provide for equal treatment of LGBT couples who hope to adopt a foster child. In some states, LGBT individuals and couples are banned from serving as adoptive or foster parents, and public child welfare agencies discriminate against qualified adoptive LGBT families. No child should be denied access to a safe and health home, and no family should be banned from providing a loving home to a child in need based on sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.