Civil Rights

A vote to help women around the world

Two weeks ago, Natalie sat across from me in a crowded camp of displaced earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, wrapped her arms around her pregnant belly, and told me the world needed to do something about rape in Haiti. Eight and a half months after five men accosted her on the outskirts of the camp, covered her head with a plastic bag, dragged her into a tent and repeatedly raped her, she is about to give birth to the child of one of her rapists. Ten months after the earthquake, sexual violence in the camps has not abated and thousands more women and girls stand to suffer if Natalie’s call for action is not heeded.


Congress must act to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (Rep. Mike Honda)

This year, historic steps have been taken to end the misguided Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy. U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Philips declared the policy, and its deliberate exclusion of openly gay service members, a violation of the Constitution. The House included a repeal of DADT in its version of the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, a repeal for which I voted. The Pentagon released its long awaited study of the repeal's effect on service members, in which a clear majority of service members say the repeal will not harm the military.


The new John McCain: Mocking the legacy of his mentor

Over the last few months I have wondered why a man who wrapped himself in the mantle of Barry Goldwater and even declared his presidential campaign on the same spot in Prescott, Ariz., would abandon one of the core principles of his late mentor.  From Arizona to the boardroom of the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, John McCain has presented himself as the political heir of Senator Goldwater, deeply committed to his conservative beliefs and integrity.


Congressional Tri-Caucus letter: Preserve and enhance diversity initiative

Dear Chairmen Brady and Walden,

As you plan our transition into the 112th Congress, we urge you to preserve and enhance the House-wide staff diversity initiative that was established in April of this year. The goal of the initiative, namely increasing workforce diversity and opportunities for diverse candidates, must continue to be an important priority for our nation.


The dissonance of Dick Morris

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann sure know how to rain on a Thanksgiving Parade.

In a recent column on the 2010 elections, Morris and McGann note the fact that Democratic candidates lost ground among women voters this year and assert that it is because the abortion issue has lost its “saliency.”


Proposed rule concerns advocates for Hispanic higher education access

According to a recent AP-Univision Poll, Hispanics outpace America as a whole in the value placed on achieving higher education. 87 percent of survey takers say a college education is extremely or very important, compared with 78 percent of the overall U.S. population.


CEDAW ratification would be a triumph for Afghan women

When I was a child in Afghanistan, no one questioned the daily routine of injustice against women and girls. My own grandmother believed that girls must not eat meat, because that would make them so strong that they would question and disobey the family's men. The only way to guard a family's honor was to keep girls under strict control.


DADT must end this Congress, national security has been hurt (Rep. Steven Rothman)

As a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, I agree with Defense Secretary Robert Gates's position that the discriminatory policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell" must end during this Congress. I believe strongly that the U.S. Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, requires the government to apply our laws equally. That is why only negative conduct, not one's sexual orientation, should be grounds for dismissal from the armed services.