Democrats have a long and proud history of defending Civil Rights and expanding opportunity for all Americans. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, Democrats have fought to end discrimination in all forms—including discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability. We believe in the essential American ideal that no one should be constrained by the circumstances of their birth, and that each of us should have the opportunity to make of our lives what we will.
Civil Rights are not just abstract principles. They represent nothing less than our ability to provide for ourselves and our families and to live free from discrimination or persecution. For decades, Democrats have fought for these values, working to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to fully participate in our society—to live in a place where there are no second-class citizens, where each of us can go about our lives without fear of discrimination.
For too many though, this ideal is still far from a reality. Democrats are committed to:
- Strengthening the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to better protect voting rights;
Enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which includes measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security;
Ensuring civil unions and equal federal rights for LGBT couples, as well as fully repealing the Defense of Marriage Act;
Ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling; and
Building a fair and more equitable criminal justice system that provides non-violent offenders a second chance at a rehabilitated life.
From local neighborhoods and city councils, to state house chambers and the halls of Congress, men and women, from one generation to the next, have taken up the cause of civil rights and have helped lay the foundation of freedom that we know today.
Democrats believe that we all have a part to play in promoting equality and protecting Americans against discrimination, and we continue to work vigorously toward greater freedom and equality in America.