Issue Position: Civil Rights, Justice, and Equality for All

Issue Position

Kamala Harris was raised by a family steeped in the Civil Rights Movement and has fought her entire career for justice for everyone -- especially for those whose voices aren't often heard by the people in power. From her first days as a prosecutor in Alameda County, to her work as San Francisco District Attorney, to her current service as Attorney General, Kamala has had one client -- the People of California -- and has time and again made a difference for California families.

Kamala has spent her entire career fighting for the voiceless and vulnerable in our society and against those who prey on them, and she'll continue those fights in the Senate. She will stand up for a woman's right to choose and equal pay for equal work, lead the charge against LGBT discrimination, work to pass comprehensive immigration reform, expand access to voting, and focus on fixing a broken criminal justice system.

From income inequality to education to criminal justice and beyond, far too often the color of our skin still determines our life chances. All of our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, deserve to be safe and sound -- safe in their homes and safe if they're walking down the street to buy a bag of Skittles. And we should guarantee a sound foundation of equal education and economic opportunity upon which young people will build their futures.

Protect A Woman's Right To Choose: Kamala Harris has been a champion for a woman's right to choose and access to comprehensive reproductive health care throughout her entire career. When the U.S. Supreme Court took up important cases on women's health, Kamala fought to require for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby to provide their employees with health insurance that covers contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act and to protect patients' rights to access reproductive health clinics. Most recently, she sponsored legislation to ensure that crisis pregnancy centers provide women in California accurate information about the full range of reproductive services available to them elsewhere, including abortion. In the Senate, Kamala will lead the charge for women's reproductive rights, defend Roe v. Wade, and fight against any attempt to defund reproductive health providers.
Equal Pay For Equal Work: Every person regardless of gender deserves equal access to the American Dream. However, women still earn, on average, less than men for the same jobs. Nationally, women earn about 21 percent less than men, and the disparities are even more alarming for black women and Latinas. The majority of minimum wage workers are women, and reducing and eliminating this gap will help lift up millions of women and their entire families. In California, Kamala supported the Fair Pay Act, which prohibits employers from setting wages at rates lower than those of the opposite sex for similar work. In the Senate, she'll make it a priority to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and will be a leading voice for fairness in the workplace. Get more details on Kamala's plans for creating economic opportunity for all.
Stop Campus Sexual Assaults: Every student has the right to pursue an education in a safe environment. College campuses should be safe spaces, but unfortunately, about 1 in 5 women -- as well as many men -- report being the victims of sexual assault while in college. As Attorney General, Kamala brought together colleges and local law enforcement to create protocols for investigating and prosecuting sexual assaults, and has helped schools and law enforcement implement changes to California law to better protect survivors of sexual assault. She championed new technology to allow California to process rape kits faster and clear a longstanding backlog of rape kits in state crime labs. Throughout her career, she's worked to ensure that survivors have the support they need and that their attackers face swift accountability and consequence for their crimes. Kamala will continue the fight against campus sexual assault in the Senate and push for improved support services for victims and a renewed focus on sexual assault prevention on college and secondary school campuses.
End The Trafficking Of Women & Girls: Kamala has been a national leader in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking networks, which victimize and enslave poor and vulnerable women, girls, and boys. The United States has a moral and public safety obligation to end human trafficking at home and abroad. Kamala led a group of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen cooperation between the two countries to fight the money laundering that enables human trafficking, and she signed a bilateral accord with Mexico to improve coordination of law enforcement resources to target human traffickers. And in the U.S. Senate, she'll continue that work to disrupt and dismantle human trafficking syndicates and be a voice for their victims. Learn more about Kamala's approach to foreign policy.
Combat Cyber Exploitation: Kamala has been a national leader in fighting cyber exploitation -- too often mislabeled "revenge porn." A 21st century form of violence against women that involves posting intimate images online without consent, cyber exploitation often results in significant harm to a victim's personal and professional life and physical safety. As Attorney General, Kamala brought together major technology companies in a unique public-private partnership which resulted in the transformation of industry-wide standards to combat and prevent cyber exploitation. These transformative new standards empowered victims by giving them better tools to remove the images from the Internet. She also developed tools and training for law enforcement to investigate these crimes and help support victims. Kamala also prosecuted the first cyber exploitation website operator in the nation, resulting in a prison sentence for the defendant. In the Senate, Kamala will continue to be a leader in fighting cyber exploitation. Get more details about how she'll use a "smart on crime" approach to criminal justice reform.
End Discrimination Against The LGBT Community Nationwide: America has come a long way in recognizing marriage rights for same-sex couples. But in many places across the country, it's still legal for businesses and institutions to discriminate against members of the LGBT community. In fact, in 31 states, a person can be fired or evicted simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Kamala was proud to lead the team that helped bring down California's Proposition 8 at the U.S. Supreme Court and to fight for marriage equality nationwide, and she knows that there is much more work to do to achieve full equality for the LGBT community. In the Senate, Kamala will fight to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Civil Rights Act.
Ban the "Gay/Trans Panic" Defense Nationally: As San Francisco District Attorney, Kamala was a national leader in fighting the "gay or trans panic" defense, a legal argument that it was OK for a person to commit murder or other violent crimes against an LGBT person because they "panicked" after discovering the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity. Kamala sponsored the bill making California the first state to outlaw this defense, and in the Senate, she'll fight to expand this work nationally.
Ensure LGBT, Homeless, & Runaway Youth Have Access To Social Services: LGBT youth are far more likely to get kicked out of their homes and subsequently find themselves homeless without access to social services. LGBT youth are also particularly vulnerable to discrimination and bullying, which severely harms their health and well-being. These children often fall through the cracks of our social service system and don't know that resources are available to help them. Even worse, some non-profit service providers block these children from accessing services underwritten by the federal government. Kamala will fight to stop this kind of discrimination and increase support for LGBT youth.
Eliminate Obstacles To Voting: Voting is fundamental to our democratic society, but participation too often has been abysmal. Kamala believes that we must make it easier for everyone to vote, stop voter suppression, and zealously protect access to the ballot box for all Americans. She'll work to strengthen protections against discriminatory laws, modernize voter registration systems, and expand early voting so everyone has ample opportunity to vote.
Strengthen The Voting Rights Act: In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key section of the Voting Rights Act. In the Senate, Kamala will work to update and reinvigorate the vital protections of the Voting Rights Act and ensure that our fundamental rights are protected throughout the entire country.
Reform The Broken Criminal Justice System: Kamala Harris has been a national leader in reforming the criminal justice system, challenging the false choice that we must either be "soft" or "tough" on crime, and instead focusing on how we can be smart on crime.
Make Public Education More Equitable: Providing our children with a world-class education is the first rung of the ladder of opportunity and the first step to success in life. Unfortunately, too many schools lack the resources needed to meet the needs of each student, and too many children are left behind as a result. Success in school shouldn't be decided by where students live, the color of their skin, their immigration status, or their parents' income. Kamala is focused on eliminating disparities in our public education system, which will lead to greater community stability, economic growth and opportunity, and will put all of our children on a solid path to succeed.
Finally Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Congress has repeatedly refused to pass comprehensive immigration reform that protects our borders and provides a fair and just pathway to citizenship. That failure has hurt our economy, made it harder for our businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and hamstrung local and state governments' ability to meet the needs of their communities. Worse yet, Washington's failure has forced more than 11 million undocumented immigrants to live, work, and raise a family in the shadows of our society. That's unconscionable. Bringing these workers out of the shadows will strengthen the economy, grow the GDP, and reduce federal deficits and debt. Comprehensive immigration reform will increase productivity and wages will rise, putting an additional $250 in the pockets of the median American household. With comprehensive reform, all workers will benefit from protections in the workplace, and reform will spur innovation, entrepreneurship, and encourage job growth. Kamala will fight hard to pass immigration reform in Washington, and she'll take on those who stand in the way.
Stand Up For Immigrants Regardless Of Status: As Attorney General, Kamala has made fighting for immigrant communities across our state one of her top priorities. She has taken on scammers who prey on immigrants and has worked to strengthen trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. California has led the nation in expanding rights and opportunities for everyone, regardless of their immigration status, in health access, student loans, and more. She will continue to fight for the rights of California immigrants and their families, including workplace protections.