Civil Rights

Repealing ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ makes our military stronger and more united (Sen. Harry Reid)

Today, our military reflects who we are as a nation. By repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” we showed that discrimination has no place in our military, just as it has no place in America. In addition to ensuring that our military reflects our nation’s values, our military leadership has said that repealing this policy will make our armed forces stronger and more united.

I commend Chairman Levin, Sens. Lieberman and Collins, and all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for leading passage of this landmark change in policy. I am hopeful that our bipartisan work on this issue signals that Democrats and Republicans can continue to work together.


The Senate must put our nation on the right side of history and repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell' (Rep. Jared Polis)

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the only law in the country that encourages people to lie or be fired if they choose to be honest. It’s a law that hurts not only the men and women who put themselves at risk serving in our armed forces, but also jeopardizes our national security. And it is a law that must be repealed.

A recent study found that 8 out of 10 Americans support repealing the law. Regardless of their political party, people recognize that on the battlefield it doesn't matter if a soldier is gay or straight. What matters is they get the job done to protect our country.


Give up on repeal? Not now, not ever

Tomorrow the Senate may finally get to debate and vote on repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. A determined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has put the standalone repeal bill the House passed 250-175 on Wednesday (H.R. 2965) before the Senate, along with a cloture petition to cut off Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) endless and endlessly embarrassing filibuster.

So now the ball is in the Senate’s court — but it will take more than a dogged Majority Leader to see repeal through. A simple majority does not rule in the Senate. Repeal of the “Don’t ask” law prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military still needs a super majority of sixty votes to cross the finish line.


DREAM Act is an acute issue for Asian Americans

David Cho has a dream — and it’s to become a citizen of the country in which he has grown up, graduated high school and now attends college. However, instead of entertaining employment offers upon his graduation this spring like many of his fellow economics majors, this University of California, Los Angeles marching band drum major could face deportation from the only country he has ever called “home.”

It’s heartbreaking stories such as these, combined with the fact that allowing 65,000 students to graduate from U.S. high schools every year without legal status defies fiscal logic, that bring us to call on the Senate to pass the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow young people like David who were brought to this country as minors the opportunity to become citizens and contribute to our economy if they continue their education or join the military.


Women will be watching

Women around the world will be watching Capitol Hill today. After multiple postponements, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is again scheduled to vote on the International Violence Against Women Act Tuesday afternoon, deciding the fate of a bill that would lay out a new strategy for U.S. engagement in the global fight to end violence against women. A House version is pending before the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Women will be watching to see if senators will seize this opportunity to partner with them in helping to overcome the epidemic of violence that touches at least one out of every three women around the world.


Crying wolf: Tribal bill unrelated to Indian gaming

Last week the House of Representatives passed important legislation as a part of the Continuing Resolution. It is a legislative solution to an unfortunate Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar that undermined the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The IRA is fundamental federal law that supports the continued existence of Indian tribes in the United States. The Supreme Court decision on an ambiguous definition from a much different era threatens 75 years of tribal progress on government structures, contracts and loans, reservations and lands, and will negatively affect tribal and federal criminal jurisdiction, public safety and provision of services on reservations across the country.   


'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal will not be stopped in long run (Rep. Mike Honda)

In blocking the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal, Senate Republicans continue to hide behind disingenuous national security claims. In the long run, Senate Republicans, who are keen to turn this into a political charade, can't stop reform.


The Big Question: Is the DREAM Act good policy?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:
 Is the DREAM Act good policy? Why or why not?


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.