We are privileged to live in one of the most diverse areas of the world. New York is a melting pot: Each of us comes from different countries, practices different religions, and is entitled to our own beliefs. I am dedicated to ensuring equality for everyone, regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.
I strongly believe that America's criminal laws should accurately reflect our country's enduring principles of freedom and personal liberty and our rejection of bigotry and hatred. I have long supported federal hate-crimes laws that enable our law-enforcement and the justice systems to prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes to the fullest possible extent. I was proud to recently cast my vote in favor of an expansion of federal hate-crimes laws to include gender and sexual orientation.
I also believe that it is long past time for our military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy to end. At a time when the United States is fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our military has discharged almost 800 mission-critical troops and nearly 70 Arabic and Farsi linguists in the last eight years because their superiors believed they were gay. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is a self-defeating, discriminatory policy and I am committed to ensuring equality among our servicemen and women regardless of sexual orientation.