As the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress, I understand what it is like to face discrimination. This is why I am dedicated to supporting and creating policies that promote and safeguard equal opportunities for all women, including protecting victims of domestic violence, ensuring equal pay for equal work, advocating for a woman's right to choose, comprehensive sex education, and championing a family-friendly workplace.
Violence Against Women Act
One of my first acts as a Member of Congress was to cosponsor the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. First passed in 1994, and reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, this landmark legislation is critical to our nation's continuing efforts to combat and reduce instances of domestic violence and sexual assault. I am proud to have voted for the expansion the Violence Against Women Act that ensures further protections for members of the LGBT community, tribal communities, immigrant women, and includes provisions to make campuses safer for our students. I also look forward to working with my colleagues to eventually pass the International Violence Against Women Act to help end gender-based violence abroad.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Women are an essential part of America's workforce. From entrepreneurs, to business leaders, to elected officials, women have provided valuable skills that help make our nation one of the world's most competitive. Unfortunately, for far too long, pay discrimination has affected working women, leaving them with less to bring home than their male counterparts. This is why I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 1619, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require employers who pay men more than women for the same job to prove that the pay disparity is not based on sex, is related to the job, and is necessary for business. Beyond ending existing discrimination, the Paycheck Fairness Act would create training programs for women and girls to learn how to successfully negotiate their salaries and would provide assistance to businesses to promote equal pay practices.
The government does not have a place in the private medical decisions of any woman. I will continue to defend a women's right to choose and I will work to protect Roe v. Wade. I have stood up to multiple legislative attempts to limit a woman's right to choose and attacks on women's health. I also stand strongly in opposition to any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical services to women in my district. At a time when 28 states require waiting periods for women seeking an abortion, and 12 states have extreme abortion bans, I am an original cosponsor of H. R. 448, the Women's Health Protection Act that creates federal protections against state restrictions on abortion access.
Paid Family Leave
I do not believe that new parents should have to make a choice between staying home with their new family and their paychecks. I support legislation that creates family-friendly workplace policies to provide for paid leave for parents following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.