Equality and human rights must be guaranteed to every American citizen -- no matter their race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ensuring equal rights for women both in this country and abroad are essential to the continued development of our nation and well-being of people throughout the world. Despite much progress over the last century, women still do not get paid as much as men for the same jobs, they are too often victims of domestic and sexual violence, and women are not guaranteed equal rights even in our Constitution. Across the world, there are too many places where women are denied the right to vote, mothers are not permitted to work, and girls are barred from the classroom. As a Member of Congress, I will work hard to ensure that women are provided equality of pay and opportunity, and make certain that our criminal justice system is designed to end the epidemic of violence against women.
I have also long been an outspoken supporter of equal rights for lesbians and gays, including sponsoring legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, every year since being elected to the Florida Senate. I strongly believe that all citizens have the right to live their daily lives free from unwarranted government intrusion. Gays and lesbians should have the same rights as all American citizens including the rights to have committed same-sex relationships with the right of marriage and adoption, to share partner health care benefits, to serve openly as a member of our armed forces, and to be protected against hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.