Jim Jeffords on Civil Rights
Independent Jr Senator (VT, retiring 2006)
Sponsored Employment NonDiscrimination Act for gays
I am the principal sponsor of the “Employment NonDiscrimination Act” (ENDA), S. 1276, in the Senate. I believe that success at work should stem from performance, not prejudice. Unfortunately, too many qualified, hard working individuals continue to
face discrimination in their workplaces based on nothing more than their sexual orientation.
ENDA will help put an end to this insidious discrimination by extending to sexual orientation the same federal employment discrimination protections already
provided based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability. ENDA will achieve equal rights-not “special rights”-- for gays and lesbians. This legislation prohibits preferential treatment based on sexual orientation. ENDA simply
protects a right that should belong to every American, the right to be free from discrimination at work because of personal characteristics unrelated to successful performance on the job.
Source: Jefford’s Senate web site
May 2, 2001
Continue federal affirmative action programs
Jeffords supports the following principles regarding Affirmative Action:
Source: vote-smart.org 2000 NPAT
Jul 2, 2000
- The federal government should consider race and sex in making government contracting decisions.
- The federal government should continue affirmative action programs.
- The federal government should utilize merit and qualifications in making government contracting decisions.
Apply hate-crime rules to gender, race, & sexual orientation
I rise today in support of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This legislation will provide a needed tool to combat the destructive impact of hate crimes on our society. The amendment also recognizes that hate crimes are not just limited to crimes
committed because of race, color, religion, or national origin, but are also directed at individuals because of their gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Any crime hurts our society, but crimes motivated by hate are especially harmful.
Hate crimes not only target individuals, but are also directed to send a message to the community as a whole. The adoption of this amendment would help our state and local authorities in pursuing and prosecuting the perpetrators of hate crimes.
Many states, including my state of Vermont, have already passed strong hate crimes laws. An important principle of this amendment is that it allows for Federal prosecution of hate crimes without impeding the rights of states to prosecute these crimes.“
Source: Senate floor statement
Jun 20, 2000
Oppose Gender-based wage discrimination
Jim Jeffords today held the first hearing on gender-based wage discrimination in 26 years. “It is my hope that there will come a day when all American workers will be secure in their fundamental right to be protected against discrimination in their
workplaces. In the meantime, our job is to work towards that goal,” said Jeffords in his opening statement.
Jeffords continued, “One thing is clear, there is no place for discrimination in our workplaces. Our laws must ensure that individual workers
are evaluated, promoted and rewarded based on their performance on the job, period.“
”We have made great strides in the fight against workplace discrimination. The enactment of the Civil Rights Act over 30 years ago served to codify this Nation’s
commitment to fundamental principles of equal opportunity and fairness in the workplace. It is my hope that the hearing today will point the way to elimination of any pernicious discriminatory pay practices.“
Source: Press Release, “Gender-based wage discrimination”
Jun 8, 2000
Voted NO on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration.
The Senate voted on a resolution which would recommend a Constitutional Amendment banning flag desecration (not a vote on the Amendment itself). The resolution states:
- the flag of the US is a unique symbol of national unity...
- the Bill of Rights should not be amended in a manner that could be interpreted to restrict freedom...
- abuse of the flag causes more than pain and distress... and may amount to fighting words...
- destruction of the flag of the US can be intended to incite a violent response rather than make a political statement and such conduct is outside the protections afforded by the first amendment to the Constitution.
Proponents of the Resolution say:
- Fifty State legislatures have called on us to pass this amendment. This amendment simply says that "Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."
- In other words, in passing this amendment, we would give to
Congress the power that the Supreme Court took away in 1989.
- 48 States had anti-desecration measures on the books before 1989. It was then that five unelected judges told those 48 sovereign entities that they were wrong.
Opponents of the Resolution say:
Reference: Flag Desecration Amendment;
; vote number 2006-189
on Jun 27, 2006
- I am deeply offended when people burn or otherwise abuse this precious national symbol.
- I also believe that the values and beliefs that the American flag represents are more important than the cloth from which this symbol was created.
- Prominent among these beliefs are the right to voice views that are unpopular, and the right to protest.
- I oppose this amendment not because I condone desecration of our flag, but because I celebrate the values our flag represents. Flag burning is despicable. However, the issue is whether we should amend our great charter document, the Constitution, to proscribe it.
- Is this a problem needing such strong medicine? Are we facing an epidemic of flag burnings?
Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
Voting YES implies support for amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. This cloture motion to end debate requires a 3/5th majority. A constitutional amendment requires a 2/3rd majority. The proposed amendment is:
Marriage in the United States 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.
Reference: Marriage Protection Amendment;
Bill S. J. Res. 1
; vote number 2006-163
on Jun 7, 2006
Voted YES on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes.
Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 625; Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2001. The bill would expand the definition of hate crimes to incorporate acts committed because of a victim's sex, sexual orientation or disability and permit the federal government to help states prosecute hate crimes even if no federally protected action was implicated. If the cloture motion is agreed to, debate will be limited and a vote will occur. If the cloture motion is rejected debate could continue indefinitely and instead the bill is usually set aside. Hence a Yes vote supports the expansion of the definition of hate crimes, and a No vote keeps the existing definition. Three-fifths of the Senate, or 60 members, is required to invoke cloture.
; vote number 2002-147
on Jun 11, 2002
Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping.
Motion to table (kill) the amendment that would provide that in order to conduct roving surveillance, the person implementing the order must ascertain that the target of the surveillance is present in the house or is using the phone that has been tapped.
; vote number 2001-300
on Oct 11, 2001
Voted YES on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation.
Vote on an amendment that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include gender, sexual orientation and disability. The previous definition included only racial, religious or ethnic bias.
; vote number 2000-136
on Jun 20, 2000
Voted YES on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women.
Vote to table, or kill, an amendment to repeal the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise [DBE] Program, which requires no less than 10% of highway construction projects funded by the federal government to be contracted to 'disadvantaged business enterprises'
; vote number 1998-23
on Mar 6, 1998
Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business.
This legislation would have abolished a program that helps businesses owned by women or minorities compete for federally funded transportation.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)48; N)52
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture;
; vote number 1997-275
on Oct 23, 1997
Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): Vote to prohibit marriage between members of the same sex in federal law, and provide that no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Define 'marriage' as 'between one man and one woman.'
Bill HR 3396
; vote number 1996-280
on Sep 10, 1996
Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.
Would have prohibited job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Status: Bill Defeated Y)49; N)50; NV)1
Reference: Employment Non-Discrimination Act;
Bill S. 2056
; vote number 1996-281
on Sep 10, 1996
Voted NO on Amendment to prohibit flag burning.
Approval of a constitutional amendment which would prohibit desecration or burning of the U.S. flag.
Status: Joint Res. Defeated Y)63; N)36
Reference: Flag Desecration Bill;
Bill S. J. Res. 31
; vote number 1995-600
on Dec 12, 1995
Voted NO on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds.
Vote to disallow any funds in the Legislative Appropriations bill from being used to award, require, or encourage any Federal contract, if the contract is being awarded on the basis of the race, color, national origin, or gender of the contractor.
Bill HR 1854
; vote number 1995-317
on Jul 20, 1995
Increase subsidies for women-owned non-profit business.
Jeffords co-sponsored the Women's Business Center Safeguard Act
Amends the Small Business Act with respect to the women's business centers program to provide Small Business Administration funding authority for nonprofit organizations conducting projects for the benefit of small businesses owned and controlled by women. Increases from 30 to 54 the percentage of appropriated women's business center funds to be used during FY 2004 for sustained women's business center projects.
Source: Bill sponsored by 11 Senators 03-S2266 on Mar 31, 2004
Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009