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Dennis Kucinich on Civil Rights

Democratic Representative (OH-10)


Not any issue on which he disagrees with GLBT community

Q: You’re seemingly for everything the gay community wants. I took a look at your HRC questionnaire. You support, support, support, support, support. So is there anything that the LGBT community that you’re against?

A: (Pause).

Q: There’s got to be something.

A: All I can say is, keep those contributions coming, you’ll have the president that you want.

Q: I’ll take that as a “no.”

A: That’s a “no.”

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Real GLBT equality includes the right to marry

Q: You’re one of just two candidates who fully supports same-sex marriage.

A: Why do you think that is?

A: This is really a question of whether you really believe in equality. When you understand what real equality is, you understand that people who love each other must have the opportunity to be able to express that in a way that is meaningful, and that the state should not be intervening against people, the state should be there on behalf of people, to make sure that that love has a chance to be facilitated.

Q: So what you’re saying is that Senator Obama and Senator Edwards, who sat here just moments ago both espousing equality--are you saying that they don’t truly oppose same sex marriage, that they’re just playing politics?

A: I’m saying that I stand for real equality and that this is really part of an American tradition because when you look at the founding documents, to me this is a foundational principle of who we are as a country.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Supports reparations for slavery, to “repair the breach”

Q: Are African-Americans ever going to get reparations for slavery?

EDWARDS: I’m not for reparations. But I think there are other things we can do

OBAMA: I think the reparations we need right here in South Carolina is investment, for example, in our schools.

Q: Is anyone on the stage for reparations for slavery?

KUCINICH: I am. The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach. And a breach has occurred. We have to acknowledge that. It’s a breach that has resulted in inequality in opportunities for education, for health care, for housing, for employment. But it’s also a breach that has affected a lot of poor whites as well. We need to have a country which recognizes that there is an inequality of opportunity and a president who’s ready to challenge the interest groups--be they insurance companies or mortgage companies or defense contractors who are taking the money away from the people who need it. Yes, I am for repairing the breach. Yes, I am for reparations.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender right to marry

Q: If you were elected president, would you allow us, [a lesbian couple], to be married to each other?

KUCINICH: The answer to your question is yes. And let me tell you why. Because if our Constitution really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony.

Q: [to Dodd]: You supported the Defense of Marriage Act.

DODD: [Same-sex couples ought to be treated equally and] ought to have civil unions. I don’t go so far as to call for marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

RICHARDSON: I would do what is achievable. What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

Supreme Court has forgotten 13th, 14th, & 15th Amendment

Q: In light of the recent anti-integration Supreme Court decision, please tell us what would you do to promote an equal opportunity and integration in American public schools and how would you ensure that the courts would hand down more balanced opinions

A: When you look at that Supreme Court decision on education a few weeks ago, it’s very clear that this Supreme Court has a problem. They’re working with an old Constitution that didn’t have the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendment in it. We have to make sure there’s equal protection of the law and we have to make sure that’s enshrined in the way that we conduct our policy. So as president of the United States, I intend to appoint people in the Supreme Court who stand for the Constitution and, by the way, if we’re going to stand for the Constitution and the rule of law, we can all start now by saying it’s time to impeach Dick Cheney.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Overturn the Patriot Act as unconstitutional

The Patriot Act has undermined civil rights in this country, and as the US president, one of my first acts in office would be to move forward to have the Justice Department overturn the Patriot Act as unconstitutional. We have to remember that 9/11 led us down a cul-de-sac. Americans need to reconnect with our deeper sense of self here. The courage that it took to form this country is still within us, and I want to have the 9/10 Forum to help us reconnect with a deeper sense of who we are as Americans.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Civil marriage is not necessarily between a man & a woman

Q: Isn’t marriage inherently a man and a woman, inherently?

KUCINICH: No. There’s a question of civil marriage, and there’s a question of marriage as performed by the church. We’re talking about civil law here.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

Allow gays and lesbians to marry

Q: What is your position on gay rights?

A: I would help to create a culture in America so that people could be whoever they are, because if America is about anything, it has to be about a chance for people to live out their dream and to express their own authenticity. And so, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender people under my administration would have full participation, and they would also have the right to marry.

Source: CNN “Rock The Vote” Democratic Debate Nov 5, 2003

Reparations for slavery should take form of social programs

Q: What is your position on reparations for Africans in America?

A: The Bible tells us we must be “repairers of the breach”. The institution of slavery created a breach in our society, which still remains today. That breach is evident in the disparities which exist in educational opportunities, health care, employment opportunities, housing and other critical areas for people of color. The question is not whether or not there should be reparations. There must be. The question is what form will such reparations take? I believe a broad based program of social and economic reforms which consciously works to lift the conditions for people of color will lift up everyone. It is said a rising tide lifts all boats. We must create the advancing tide with health care for all, jobs for all, educational opportunities for all, housing opportunities for all.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

Repeal the PATRIOT Act: stop being driven by fear

We have to repeal the PATRIOT Act, which is a basis of fear that was drummed up in this country without any rational basis for protecting this country. We’re being driven by fear, and I have to say that it’s time for us to challenge that fear.
Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Must challenge rationale of USA PATRIOT Act

We must challenge the rationale of the Patriot Act. The American jurisprudence system is the envy of the free world with its emphasis on due process. We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and Internet surveillance without judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data that may exist in any system anywhere such as medical records and financial records. We cannot justify a government that takes from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total secrecy. We should not let the actions of terrorists cause us to reject our American system of justice. The ultimate terror in a democracy is the destruction of constitutional principles.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” Aug 1, 2003

Same sex couples deserve equal domestic benefits

Same sex couples and opposite sex couples should be equal in the eyes of the law. All benefits and legal entitlements available to heterosexual couples should be available to homosexual couples. Kucinich supports domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners of employees, such as health insurance coverage and hospital visitation rights.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” Aug 1, 2003

Affirmative action is necessary & right & must be preserved

Affirmative action is necessary, affirmative action is right, and affirmative action must be preserved. America’s diversity is strength.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” Aug 1, 2003

Prayer for America: Why put aside Constitutional justice?

Source: Speech to the So. Cal. ADA, in Prayer for America, p. 12-13 Feb 17, 2002

Focus on jobs instead of pitting people against each other

Q: your position concerning affirmative action programs?

A: I would rather concentrate on creating more decent jobs for everyone, discriminating against no member of our society, rather than get involved with pitting Americans against one another.

Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1996


Dennis Kucinich on Voting Record

Voted against the misnamed “Patriot Act”

Q: Would you revise or repeal the Patriot Act?

A: I am the only presidential candidate to vote against the misnamed “Patriot Act.” I am proud of that vote. As President, I will push to revoke it. I will challenge any Patriot II sequel. I argued that the “Patriot Act” and related measures had effectively revoked half of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. I am now drafting a bill to repeal the “Patriot Act” and restore civil liberties essential to a functioning democracy.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

HR3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated. Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Inapplicable to associations that are exempt from religious discrimination provisions.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. CASTOR: The march towards equality under the law for all of our citizens has sometimes been slow, but it has been steady. Over time, Congress has outlawed discrimination in the workplace, based upon a person's race, gender, age, national origin, religion and disability, because when it comes to employment, these decisions are rightly based upon a person's qualifications and job performance. This legislation that outlaws job discrimination based upon sexual orientation was first introduced over 30 years ago. A broad coalition of businesses and community organizations strongly support this landmark civil rights legislation, including the Human Rights Campaign; the Anti-Defamation League; and the NAACP.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. HASTINGS: Federal law bans job discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or gender. In addition, 19 States have passed laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I strongly oppose discrimination in the workplace. However, I do not think it is the place of the Federal Government to legislate how each and every workplace operates. A number of States have enacted State laws in this area. That is their right. Many businesses have chosen to adopt their own policies. That is appropriate as well. This bill as written would expand Federal law into a realm where PERCEPTION would be a measure under discrimination law [which I consider inappropriate].

Reference: Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Bill HR3685 ; vote number 2007-1057 on Nov 13, 2007

Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution stating: "Marriage in the US shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

Proponents support voting YES because:

The overwhelming majority of the American people support traditional marriage, marriage between a man and a woman. The people have a right to know whether their elected Representatives agree with them about protecting traditional marriage.

Every child deserves both a father and a mother. Studies demonstrate the utmost importance of the presence of a child's biological parents in a child's happiness, health and future achievements. If we chip away at the institution which binds these parents and the family together, the institution of marriage, you begin to chip away at the future success of that child.

Opponents support voting NO because:

This amendment does not belong in our Constitution. It is unworthy of our great Nation. We have amended the Constitution only 27 times. Constitutional amendments have always been used to enhance and expand the rights of citizens, not to restrict them. Now we are being asked to amend the Constitution again, to single out a single group and to say to them for all time, you cannot even attempt to win the right to marry.

From what precisely would this amendment protect marriage? From divorce? From adultery? No. Evidently, the threat to marriage is the fact that there are millions of people in this country who very much believe in marriage, who very much want to marry but who are not permitted to marry. I believe firmly that in the not-too-distant future people will look back on these debates with the incredulity with which we now view the segregationist debates of years past.

Reference: Marriage Protection Amendment; Bill H J RES 88 ; vote number 2006-378 on Jul 18, 2006

Voted NO on making the PATRIOT Act permanent.

To extend and modify authorities needed to combat terrorism, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act; Bill HR 3199 ; vote number 2005-627 on Dec 14, 2005

Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Marriage Protection Amendment - Declares that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Prohibits the Constitution or any State constitution from being construed to require that marital status or its legal incidents be conferred upon any union other than that of a man and a woman.
Reference: Constitutional Amendment sponsored by Rep Musgrave [R, CO-4]; Bill H.J.RES.106 ; vote number 2004-484 on Sep 30, 2004

Voted NO on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pledge Protection Act: Amends the Federal judicial code to deny jurisdiction to any Federal court, and appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance or its validity under the Constitution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Todd Akin [R, MO-2]; Bill H.R.2028 ; vote number 2004-467 on Sep 23, 2004

Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration.

Desecration of Flag resolution: Vote to pass the joint resolution to put forward a Constitutional amendment to state that Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. Note: A two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting (284 in this case) is required to pass a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution.
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Thomas, R-CA; Bill HJRes.4 ; vote number 2003-234 on Jun 3, 2003

Voted NO on banning gay adoptions in DC.

Vote on an amendment banning adoptions in District of Columbia by gays or other individuals who are not related by blood or marriage.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Largent, R-OK; Bill HR 2587 ; vote number 1999-346 on Jul 29, 1999

Voted NO on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions.

HR 6, the Higher Education Amendments Act of 1997, would prohibit any post-secondary institution that participates in any program under the Higher Education Act from discriminating or granting any preferential treatment in admission based on race, sex, ethnicity, color or national origin.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Riggs, R-CA.; Bill HR 6 ; vote number 1998-133 on May 6, 1998

Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender.

Kucinich co-sponsored a Constitutional Amendment:

Title: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. Summary: States that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HJR40 on Mar 22, 2001

Rated 64% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record.

Kucinich scores 64% by the ACLU on civil rights issues

We work also to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor. If the rights of society’s most vulnerable members are denied, everybody’s rights are imperiled.

Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: ACLU website 02n-ACLU on Dec 31, 2002

Rated 100% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance.

Kucinich scores 100% by the HRC on gay rights

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:

About the HRC (from their website, www.hrc.org):

The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of more than 700,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Ever since its founding in 1980, HRC has led the way in promoting fairness for GLBT Americans. HRC is a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity.

Source: HRC website 06n-HRC on Dec 31, 2006

Rated 94% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance.

Kucinich scores 94% by the NAACP on affirmative action

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 NAACP scores as follows:

About the NAACP (from their website, www.naacp.org):

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has worked over the years to support and promote our country's civil rights agenda. Since its founding in 1909, the NAACP has worked tirelessly to end racial discrimination while also ensuring the political, social, and economic equality of all people. The Association will continue this mission through its policy initiatives and advocacy programs at the local, state, and national levels. From the ballot box to the classroom, the dedicated workers, organizers, and leaders who forged this great organization and maintain its status as a champion of social justice, fought long and hard to ensure that the voices of African Americans would be heard. For nearly one hundred years, it has been the talent and tenacity of NAACP members that has saved lives and changed many negative aspects of American society.

Source: NAACP website 06n-NAACP on Dec 31, 2006

Recognize Juneteenth as historical end of slavery.

Kucinich co-sponsored recognizing Juneteenth as historical end of slavery

A resolution recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day and expressing that history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future.

Recognizes the historical significance to the nation, and supports the continued celebration, of Juneteenth Independence Day (June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved African Americans were free). Declares the sense of Congress that:

  1. history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future; and
  2. the celebration of the end of slavery is an important and enriching part of the history and heritage of the United States.
Legislative Outcome: House versions are H.CON.RES.155 and H.RES.1237; related Senate resolution S.RES.584 counts for sponsorship. Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Source: S.RES.584 08-SR584 on Jun 4, 2008

Provide benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees.

Kucinich co-sponsored providing benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees

Sen. LIEBERMAN: This legislation would require the Government to extend employee benefit programs to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees. It is sound public policy and it makes excellent business sense.

Under our bill, Federal employee and the employee's domestic partner would be eligible to participate in benefits to the same extent that married employees and their spouses participate. Employees and their partners would also assume the same obligations that apply to married employees and their spouses, such as anti-nepotism rules and financial disclosure requirements.

The Federal Government is our Nation's largest employer and should lead other employers, rather than lagging behind, in the quest to provide equal and fair compensation and benefits to all employees. That thousands of Federal workers who have dedicated their careers to public service and who live in committed relationships with same-sex domestic partners receive fewer protections for their families than those married employees is patently unfair and, frankly, makes no economic sense.

I call upon my colleagues to express their support for this important legislation. It is time for the Federal Government to catch up to the private sector, not just to set an example but so that it can compete for the most qualified employees and ensure that all of our public servants receive fair and equitable treatment. It makes good economic and policy senses. It is the right thing to do.

SUMMARY: Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2007

Source: Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (S.2521/H.R.4838) 2007-S2521 on Dec 19, 2007

Re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment.

Kucinich co-sponsored re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment

Sen. KENNEDY. "It's a privilege to join my colleagues in reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The ERA is essential to guarantee that the freedoms protected by our Constitution apply equally to men and women. From the beginning of our history as a Nation, women have had to wage a constant, long and difficult battle to win the same basic rights granted to men. That battle goes on today, since discrimination still continues in many ways.

"Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act & the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, discrimination against women continues to permeate the workforce and many areas of the economy. Today, women earn about 77 cents for each dollar earned by men, and the gap is even greater for women of color. More than 60% of working women are still clustered in a narrow range of traditionally female, traditionally low-paying occupations, and female-headed households continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

"A stronger effort is clearly needed to finally live up to our commitment of full equality. The ERA alone cannot remedy all discrimination, but it will clearly strengthen the ongoing efforts of women across the country to obtain equal treatment.

"We know from the failed ratification experiences of the past that amending the Constitution to include the ERA will not be easy to achieve. But the women of America deserve no less."

Source: Equal Rights Amendment (S.J.RES.10/H.J.RES.40) 2007-SJR10 on Mar 29, 2007

Reinforce anti-discrimination and equal-pay requirements.

Kucinich co-sponsored reinforcing anti-discrimination and equal-pay requirements

A bill to restore, reaffirm, and reconcile legal rights and remedies under civil rights statutes. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for:

  1. establishing discrimination based on disparate impact; and
  2. rights of action and recovery for unlawful discrimination.
Source: Civil Rights Act of 2008 (S.2554&H.R.5129) 2008-S2554 on Jan 24, 2008

Give domestic partnership benefits to Federal employees.

Kucinich signed Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act

    A federal employee who has a same-sex domestic partner and the domestic partner of the employee shall be entitled to benefits available to, and shall be subject to obligations imposed upon, a married employee and the spouse of the employee. In order to obtain benefits and assume obligations under this Act, an employee shall file an affidavit of eligibility certifying that the employee and the domestic partner of the employee:
  1. are each other's sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;
  2. have a common residence, and intend to continue the arrangement;
  3. are at least 18 years of age and mentally competent to consent to contract;
  4. share responsibility for a significant measure of each other's common welfare and financial obligations
  5. are not married to or domestic partners with anyone else;
  6. are same sex domestic partners, and not related in a way that, if the two were of opposite sex, would prohibit legal marriage in the State in which they reside; and
  7. understand that willful falsification of information within the affidavit may lead to disciplinary action and the recovery of the cost of benefits received related to such falsification and may constitute a criminal violation.
      An employee or domestic partner of an employee who obtains benefits under this Act shall file a statement of dissolution of the domestic partnership not later than 30 days after the death of the employee or the domestic partner or the date of dissolution of the domestic partnership.
      Source: H.R.2517 2009-H2517 on May 20, 2009

      Honor the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.

      Kucinich signed bill honoring the 100th anniversary of the NAACP

      • Whereas the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, originally known as the National Negro Committee, was founded in New York City on February 12, 1909, the centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, by a multiracial group of activists who met in a national conference to discuss the civil and political rights of African-Americans;
      • Whereas the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States;
      • Whereas the mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination;
      • Whereas the NAACP is committed to achieving its goals through nonviolence;
      • Whereas the NAACP advances its mission through reliance upon the press, the petition, the ballot, and the courts, and has been persistent in the use of legal and moral persuasion, even in the face of overt and violent racial hostility;
      • Whereas the NAACP has used political pressure, marches, demonstrations, and effective lobbying to serve as the voice, as well as the shield, for minority Americans;

        Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Congress
      1. Recognizes the 100th anniversary of the historic founding of the NAACP.
      2. Honors and praises the NAACP on the occasion of its anniversary for its work to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons.
      Source: SCR.3&HCR.35 2009-SCR3 on Jan 28, 2009

      Other candidates on Civil Rights: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
      Nominees:
      GOP: Sen.John McCain
      GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
      Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
      Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

      Third Parties:
      Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
      Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
      Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
      Liberation: Gloria La Riva
      Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
      Socialist: Brian Moore
      Independent: Ralph Nader
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      Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010