Jeff Merkley on Civil Rights
Democratic Jr Senator (OR)
Co-sponsored Equality & Family Fairness Act for gay equality
Jeff was proud to oversee the passage of several key pieces of legislation that immediately improved the lives of gay and lesbian individuals across the state.
Source: Endorsement letter from National Stonewall Democrats
, Sep 18, 2008
- Jeff was a co-sponsor of
The Equality and Family Fairness Act, which grants legal rights to same-sex couples who register their partnerships with the state. It affords them nearly 500 rights under the law to which they would otherwise not be entitled.
And to ensure those families have access to all their rights under the law, Jeff also co-sponsored the Oregon Equality Act, prohibits discrimination against Oregonians on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation.
Jeff Merkley is the only U.S. Senate Candidate along the West Coast who is publicly and fully supportive of full marriage equality.
Ok to define marriage against polygamy or same-sex
Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) compared homosexual marriage to the persecution of Mormons in the 19th century. “My campaign people will kill me for saying this, but... Part of what I fear as you start defining marriage--we have a long history of doing
that in this country, and my Mormon pioneer ancestors were the victims of that. I don’t want that coming back,” said the Republican legislator. Smith supported a federal law defining marriage as “between one man and one woman.”
However, he says his Mormon background helps him empathize with victims of discrimination. Gordon says he does not want to create a much bigger problem in the gay and lesbian community.
Gordon’s Democratic opponent, Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) campaign released the statement saying that Smith “appears he is defending polygamy and believes it was wrong for the government to establish a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.”
Source: Campaign Summaries on www.dcpoliticalreport.com
, Jun 17, 2008
Oregon Equality Act: sexual orientation is a civil right
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon: To protect their health, safety and morals from the consequences of intergroup hostility, tensions and practices of discrimination of any kind based on sexual orientation: The Legislative
Assembly intends to provide:
However, this section shall not be construed to prevent a bona fide church from preferring an employee of one religious sect or persuasion over another.
Source: Voting record, The Oregon Equality Act (SB 2)
, Dec 31, 2007
- A program of public education calculated to eliminate attitudes upon which practices of discrimination because of sexual orientation;
- An adequate remedy for persons aggrieved by certain acts of discrimination
because of sexual orientation;
- hereby is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.
Apply affirmative action to state hiring
Q: On affirmative action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies’ decisions on: Public employment?
Q: State college and university admissions?
Q: State contracting?
because of sexual orientation;hereby is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.However, this section shall not be construed to prevent a bona fide church from preferring an employee of one religious sect or persuasion over another.
Source: Oregon State 1998 National Political Awareness Test
, Nov 1, 1998
Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
- "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
- "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
- "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
- "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic):
House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.
Merkley says, "Merkley (D-OR)"
Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act;
Bill S. 47
; vote number 13-SV019
on Feb 12, 2013
Sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Merkley sponsored H.R.3017&S.1584
Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Prohibits related retaliation.
Makes this Act inapplicable to:
Source: Employment Non-Discrimination Act 09-HR3017 on Jun 24, 2009
- religious organizations; and
- the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces.
Prohibit sexual-identity discrimination at schools.
Merkley signed Student Non-Discrimination Act
Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011:
Source: HR.998&S.555 11-S0555 on Mar 10, 2011
- Prohibits public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates.
- Considers harassment to be a form of discrimination.
- Prohibits retaliation against anyone for opposing conduct they reasonably believe to be unlawful under this Act.
- Authorizes federal departments and agencies to enforce these prohibitions by cutting off the educational assistance of recipients found to be violating them.
Allows an aggrieved individual to assert a violation of this Act in a judicial proceeding and recover reasonable attorney's fees should they prevail.
- Deems a state's receipt of federal educational assistance for a program to constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity for conduct prohibited under this Act regarding such program.
Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.
Merkley co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act
Congress finds the following:
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-S0084 on Jan 23, 2013
- Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
- Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
- The existence of such pay disparities depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet; and undermines women's retirement security.
- Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These barriers have resulted because the Equal Pay Act has not worked as Congress originally intended.
The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have important and unique responsibilities to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
- The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
- With a stronger commitment [to enforcement], increased information on wage data and more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights.
- Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Page last updated: Jul 06, 2013