: Expand the Civil Rights Act to declare it the public policy of the United States that discrimination based on LGBT status is prohibited.
Target: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, United States House of Representatives
Copy to: Majority Leader Harry Reid, United States Senate / Brian Bond, LGBT Liason to President Barack Obama
"As Coretta Scott King said to me as she tried to imagine what position the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would take on "don't ask, don't tell": "What's the yardstick by which we should decide that gay rights are less important than other human rights we care about?"
- MARY FRANCES BERRY
In an interview with Towleroad, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand "who has made repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell one of her legislative priorities" said that she would favor amending the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation. The historic legislation sought to erase all government-backed discrimination on the basis of race or gender.
Senator Gillibrand said in her interview:
I would [be supportive of that]. I truly believe that this gay rights agenda is the civil rights march of our generation. I think marriage equality, I think repealing DOMA, Don't Ask, Don't Tell. All of that work we're doing is part of equal rights in America and it is something that is so important to this generation. I think that kind of bill would be transformational-Whether we have the votes for that kind of bill today, I don't know. But it's something certainly worth fighting for."
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Dear Speaker Pelosi
We the undersigned, call on you and your colleagues to mark this 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the start of the gay liberation movement by passing legislation to expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to declare it the public policy of the United States that discrimination based on LGBT status is prohibited.
For forty years, the LGBT movement has asserted the simple idea that LGBT rights are civil rights. For forty years we have been told to wait our turn and not to rock the boat. But with the election of 2008, we sent a clear message to Washington. Now is our time.
As Michelle Obama said on Gay Pride Day last year, "We are all only here because of those who marched and bled and died, from Selma to Stonewall, in the pursuit of a more perfect union." We stand united in that struggle and will not accept any effort to roll back the protections of the Civil Rights Act. But we must insist that they be expanded in order for the Act to truly live up to its name.
Because you represent Harvey Milk's district, the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, the nexus of the LGBT community on the West Coast, you have a special role to play in defending and protecting the civil rights of LGBT people everywhere. We hope that you will fulfill that role by passing this legislation.
And to those who say we can't have equal rights now, we say "Yes we can!"