Mark Warner on Civil Rights

Democratic Jr Senator; previously Governor


Switched to supporting same-sex marriage in 2013

Gillespie reiterated his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, but he said it is a state issue: "I respect and love people for who they are," the Republican said. "I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. But I also believe that as a senator, it's not my role to legislate on that." Pressed, he said he would vote no if a statewide referendum came up to repeal the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Warner switched his position to endorse gay marriage in March 2013.

Source: Politico.com weblog on 2014 Virginia Senate debate , Jul 26, 2014

We still need affirmative action, for now

Q: Do you support affirmative action programs? Do you support any changes in those programs?

Gilmore: I do not support quotas, but all during my career I have worked to create opportunities for minorities.

Warner: I'd like to see an America where there's not a need for affirmative action, but for now, we need to make sure there is a level playing field for everyone to participate. I come from the business world, and I think most business people will tell you that they want to recruit employees who were educated in an environment where they were exposed to diverse people and ideas. As I have said many times in the past, I continue to be opposed to the use of quotas.

Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in The Virginian-Pilot , Oct 17, 2008

Let military leaders advise about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Q: What is your personal view on gays in the military? Do you support any changes in current policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", which allows gays to serve as long as they don't make known their sexual preference?

Warner: I will seek the advice of our military leaders as they begin a review of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. We also need to have appropriate recruitment and retention polices that will keep our military strong.

Gilmore: I do not support any changes in the current policy.

Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in The Virginian-Pilot , Oct 17, 2008

Eliminated Family Rule, so unrelated couples can buy homes

Throughout his term, Governor Warner demonstrated his commitment to fighting discrimination in Virginia in all forms. In 2002, he led the effort to eliminate the Family Rule, which had prevented thousands of unrelated borrowers (those unrelated by blood, marriage, or adoption) from accessing low-interest VHDA loans to become homeowners.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, markwarner2008.com, “Issues” , Mar 9, 2008

Project Genesis: faith-based African-American home program

In 2003, the Warner Administration launched Project Genesis--a faith-based, community education initiative designed to increase homeownership opportunities for African-Americans. The program enrolled 1,700 participants in the Richmond area alone.

The Governor also oversaw creation of the Virginia Fair Housing Board to help reduce housing discrimination and unfair housing practices in Virginia.

Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, markwarner2008.com, “Issues” , Mar 9, 2008

Promote minority-owned business

Virginia is a great place for minority-owned companies to do business. As the face of Virginia continues to change, Virginia should welcome the investment of Asian-, Hispanic-, and women-owned businesses and others as well. The state could do so much more to help minority-owned companies get off the ground and grow. As Governor, Mark Warner will increase the agency’s profile by appointing a leader with proven business experience to run the Department of Minority Business Enterprise. He’ll direct his Secretary of Commerce & Trade to work closely with the Department, and he’ll instruct the Department to work cooperatively with business groups and the private sector to develop a seamless web of growth opportunities for minority-owned businesses. He’ll also work to streamline the process for certification of minority-owned businesses and to make sure that agreements reached between majority- and minority-owned companies are actually carried out.
Source: Campaign web site, MarkWarner2001.org/issues , Nov 6, 2001

End racial profiling; more minority police

It’s just plain wrong for drivers to be stopped because of their appearance, the type of car they drive, or the color of their skin. Racial profiling hurts the effectiveness of police departments, which cannot effectively enforce the law without the full confidence of the citizens they serve. As Governor, Mark will put an end to racial profiling. First, he will order a continuing review of the frequency of racial profiling. Second, he’ll work to encourage the recruitment and hiring of more minority law enforcement officers. Third, he’ll strengthen Virginia’s commitment to community policing, in order to build trust between neighborhoods and law enforcement and prevent profiling from happening in the first place.
Source: Campaign web site, MarkWarner2001.org/issues , Nov 6, 2001

Extend hate crimes to include sexual orientation

There is no place for hate in Virginia. Mark supports Virginia’s hate crimes law, which provides tougher penalties for crimes where the individual was singled out and victimized because of race or religion. He supports expanding this law to cover individuals singled out because of sexual orientation or disability.
Source: Campaign web site, MarkWarner2001.org/issues , Nov 6, 2001

Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "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.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill S. 47 ; vote number 13-SV019 on Feb 12, 2013

Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.

Warner co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
  7. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
  8. 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.
  9. Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-S0084 on Jan 23, 2013

Let states recognize same sex marriage.

Warner signed Respect for Marriage Act

Congressional Summary: Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to let states recognize same sex marriage. Defines "marriage" to provide that an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the state or country where the marriage was entered into. Removes the definition of "spouse" (currently, a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife).

Wikipedia and GLAAD history: In United States v. Windsor (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) struck down the act's provisions disallowing same-sex marriages to be performed under federal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court case did not challenge Section 2 of DOMA. Section 2 declares that all states have the right to deny recognition of the marriage of same sex couples that originated in states where they are legally recognized.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote NO: (3/20/2013): Americans respect marriage, not only as a crucial institution of civil society but the fundamental building block of all human civilization. This is why 41 states and the federal government affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman. The government isn't in the business of affirming our loves. Rather it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. And contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, and choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship. What's at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages--and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages.

Legislative outcome: Died in Committee (never came to a vote).

Source: S.29 & H.197 17-S0029 on Jan 6, 2015

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Page last updated: Oct 27, 2021