“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” – Congressman Adam Schiff
Congressman Schiff actively supports the rights of all citizens to be treated equally under the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. He has co-sponsored and supported legislation to extend and guarantee these rights to all LGBT Americans. Below are some of the initiatives supported and sponsored by Schiff.
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Congressman Schiff is an original sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996 and 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 act to repeal the Act and ensure equality under the law.
Congressman Schiff is encouraged by multiple federal court rulings against laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman, such as California’s Proposition 8. He hopes the Supreme Court upholds the finding of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Prop 8 is unconstitutionally discriminatory towards same-sex couples when it rules on this matter this year, and has joined with other Members of Congress to file amicus briefs with the Supreme Court, asking that they overturn DOMA.
Congressman Schiff applauds the decision by President Obama’s administration not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court based on their determination that the law was unconstitutional. Despite evidence that more than half of the country opposes DOMA, House Republican leaders have committed to defending the law in court and have allocated hundreds of thousands tax-payer dollars to pay for that erroneous defense. Congressman Schiff opposes the use of House funding to defend this discriminatory law, and has vowed to use his seat in the Appropriations Committee to fight it.
Congressman 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.
Congressman Schiff was proud to support the repeal of the US Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. With the repeal of DADT, LGBT service members no longer need to hide their sexuality while proudly serving their country. Unfortunately, the end of DADT has not meant the end of unequal treatment of same sex spouses of U.S. service members, who are denied a wide range of services and benefits – from health insurance to pre-deployment counseling, to access to base commissaries. Congressman Schiff has urged the Department of Defense in a 2013 letter with other congressional colleagues to take executive action to address these issues and will continue to push for equal benefits for all U.S. Service members and their families.
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. Congressman Schiff has co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act to protect LGBT students from bullying and discrimination in school, and participated in the “No H8” campaign to promote equality and tolerance. Additionally, Congressman Schiff has co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit private employers from discriminating during the hiring process based on sexual orientation. Congressman Schiff will continue to support both of these pieces of legislation until they become law.