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Bill Delahunt on Civil Rights

Democratic Representative (MA-10)


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.

Delahunt 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 85% by the ACLU, indicating a pro-civil rights voting record.

Delahunt scores 85% 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.

Delahunt 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.

Delahunt 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

ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays.

Delahunt signed 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:
  1. religious organizations; and
  2. the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces.
Source: Employment Non-Discrimination Act 09-HR3017 on Jun 24, 2009

Provide benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees.

Delahunt 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.

Delahunt 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

Give domestic partnership benefits to Federal employees.

Delahunt 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

      Recognize the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.

      Delahunt signed Recognizing the 40th anniversary of Stonewall

      • Whereas the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, was a bar primarily patronized by a diverse cross-section of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community;
      • Whereas at around 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, closing the bar and forcing patrons outside;
      • Whereas such raids were among the many ways in which government harassed and discriminated against members of the LGBT community during this period, which included, for example, prohibiting dancing with a person of the same sex, terminating one's employment, and using entrapment to arrest people;
      • Whereas thousands returned to the Stonewall Inn on the nights of June 28 and July 2, 1969, to express their support of basic freedoms, equality, and fair treatment for LGBT Americans, chanting such slogans as 'Gay Power', and 'Equality For Homosexuals';
      • Whereas the series of protests, often referred to as 'Stonewall', marked a watershed event in which LGBT Americans dramatically showed a growing determination to publicly resist government discrimination and harassment;
      • Whereas Stonewall sparked a remarkable increase in activism and action by LGBT Americans across the country to advocate for equal rights;
      • Whereas inspired by Stonewall, LGBT pride parades and festivals occur in cities across the country and the world every June;
      • Whereas a great deal of progress has been made in achieving equal rights for LGBT Americans since Stonewall occurred 40 years ago, but much work remains to be done:

        Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
      1. recognizes the 40th anniversary of Stonewall;
      2. honors those who participated during Stonewall and since that time in the civil rights struggle of LGBT Americans; and
      3. recommits itself to protecting and providing equal rights for all Americans, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
      Source: H. RES. 433 2009-HR433 on May 13, 2009

      2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Civil Rights: Bill Delahunt on other issues:
      MA Gubernatorial:
      Deval Patrick
      MA Senatorial:
      John Kerry
      Scott Brown

      Dem. Freshmen
      in 112th Congress:

      AL-7:Terri Sewell
      CA-33:Karen Bass
      DE-0:John Carney
      FL-17:Frederica Wilson
      HI-1:Colleen Hanabusa
      LA-2:Cedric Richmond
      MA-10:Bill Keating
      MI-13:Hansen Clarke
      RI-1:David Cicilline
      GOP Freshmen
      in 112th Congress:

      AL-2:Martha Roby
      AL-5:Mo Brooks
      AZ-1:Paul Gosar
      AZ-3:Ben Quayle
      AZ-5:David Schweikert
      AR-1:Rick Crawford
      AR-2:Tim Griffin
      AR-3:Steve Womack
      CA-19:Jeff Denham
      CO-3:Scott Tipton
      CO-4:Cory Gardner
      FL-12:Dennis Ross
      FL-2:Steve Southerland
      FL-21:Mario Diaz-Balart
      FL-22:Allen West
      FL-24:Sandy Adams
      FL-25:David Rivera
      FL-5:Rich Nugent
      FL-8:Dan Webster
      GA-2:Mike Keown
      GA-7:Rob Woodall
      GA-8:Austin Scott
      ID-1:Raul Labrador
      IL-8:Joe Walsh
      IL-10:Bob Dold
      IL-11:Adam Kinzinger
      IL-14:Randy Hultgren
      IL-17:Bobby Schilling
      IL-8:Joe Walsh
      IN-3:Marlin Stutzman
      IN-4:Todd Rokita
      IN-8:Larry Bucshon
      IN-9:Todd Young
      KS-1:Tim Huelskamp
      KS-3:Kevin Yoder
      KS-5:Mike Pompeo
      LA-3:Jeff Landry
      MD-1:Andy Harris
      MI-1:Dan Benishek
      MI-2:Bill Huizenga
      MI-3:Justin Amash
      MI-7:Tim Walberg
      MN-8:Chip Cravaack
      MO-4:Vicky Hartzler
      MO-7:Billy Long
      MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
      MS-4:Steven Palazzo
      GOP Freshmen
      in 111th Congress:

      NC-2:Renee Ellmers
      ND-0:Rick Berg
      NH-2:Charlie Bass
      NH-1:Frank Guinta
      NJ-3:Jon Runyan
      NM-2:Steve Pearce
      NV-3:Joe Heck
      NY-13:Michael Grimm
      NY-19:Nan Hayworth
      NY-20:Chris Gibson
      NY-24:Richard Hanna
      NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle
      NY-29:Tom Reed
      OH-1:Steve Chabot
      OH-15:Steve Stivers
      OH-16:Jim Renacci
      OH-18:Bob Gibbs
      OH-6:Bill Johnson
      OK-5:James Lankford
      PA-10:Tom Marino
      PA-11:Lou Barletta
      PA-3:Mike Kelly
      PA-7:Patrick Meehan
      PA-8:Mike Fitzpatrick
      SC-1:Tim Scott
      SC-3:Jeff Duncan
      SC-4:Trey Gowdy
      SC-5:Mick Mulvaney
      SD-0:Kristi Noem
      TN-3:Chuck Fleischmann
      TN-4:Scott DesJarlais
      TN-6:Diane Black
      TN-8:Stephen Fincher
      TX-17:Bill Flores
      TX-23:Quico Canseco
      TX-27:Blake Farenthold
      VA-2:Scott Rigell
      VA-5:Robert Hurt
      VA-9:Morgan Griffith
      WA-3:Jaime Herrera
      WI-7:Sean Duffy
      WI-8:Reid Ribble
      WV-1:David McKinley
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      Main Page
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      MA politicians

      Contact info:
      Email:
      william.delahunt@mail.house.gov
      Fax Number:
      202-225-5658
      Mailing Address:
      Rayburn HOB 2454, Washington, DC 20515
      Official Website:
      http://delahunt.house.gov
      Phone number:
      (202) 225-3111

      Page last updated: Mar 07, 2011