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Public Statements

Issue Position: What Congressional Initiatives Are Necessary to Ensure Full Civil Rights for Women and Minorities?

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First, we need to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. This crucial piece of legislation is "very effective in protecting minority voters from both blatant and more subtle discriminatory techniques that deny or dilute minority participation in the political process," according to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Second, we must support affirmative action as a tool to move women and minorities forward in both the education and business worlds. Constitutionally valid affirmative action is as important now as it ever was, as women and people of color still face unfair obstacles in business and education. According to the National Organization for Women (NOW), "An astonishing 70% of schools are not in compliance with Title IX," the federal equal education opportunity law that Patsy Mink proposed and passed. For every dollar earned by men, women on a whole earn 74 cents, African American women earn 63 cents and Latina women earn 57 cents."

The Constitution should expand our rights and protections, not contract them. Bans on same sex marriage have no place in the Constitution. I was the highest ranking elected official to publicly oppose Hawaii's Constitutional amendment which resulted in the banning of same-sex marriage


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