The Rights Of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Americans
"LGBT Americans are entitled to equal respect and dignity under our laws. Discrimination is morally wrong. All Americans should have the same freedoms and the same responsibilities." -- John Edwards
Equal Rights for Same-Sex Couples
Edwards believes that all couples in committed, long-term relationships should have the same rights, benefits, and responsibilities, whether they are straight couples or same-sex couples. He supports civil unions to guarantee gay and lesbian couples the same rights as straight couples, including inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, equal pension and health care benefits, and all of the 1,100 other legal protections government affords married couples. Edwards supports the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act provision that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships. He also believes same-sex families should be treated in the same manner as other families by our immigration laws. Gay marriage is an issue he feels internal conflict about and continues to struggle with it. However, Edwards believes the right president could lead the country toward consensus around equal rights and benefits for all couples in committed, long-term relationships and he opposes divisive Constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriages.
Workers should be judged by the quality of their performance, not their sexual orientation or gender identity. While in the Senate, Edwards cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also believes that stronger enforcement is necessary to prevent employment discrimination by federal agencies.
Edwards opposes the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays and lesbians serving in our military. The military ought to treat all service members equally and in a way that promotes national security, without regard to their sexual orientation.
Edwards believes that gay and lesbian parents should be able to adopt children just like any other parents. There are over 120,000 children waiting for homes in our nation's foster care system. Adoption placements should be decided by judges and adoption agencies based upon the best interests of the children. Both members of a same-sex couple raising children together should be able to form a legal relationship with their children.
Everyone is entitled to live in dignity without fear of violence. We should strengthen the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. While in the Senate, Edwards cosponsored legislation to give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
HIV and AIDS
There is an urgent need for more resources in the fight against HIV/AIDS, both domestically and internationally. As a member of the U.S. Senate, Edwards was proud to fight for greater funding for the battle against HIV/AIDS, and co-sponsored the Ryan White CARE Act. As president, Edwards will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS through funding for this program, Medicaid, and other critical programs.