Marriage equality is very personal to me, as are all civil rights issues. Slavery, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese America citizens, the separation of troops by race in the military, and the assertion that a woman wearing tight jeans is asking to be raped are just some of the very unfortunate chapters in our nation's history that were corrected only by people using our democratic process to advance the cause of equality.
My record is quite clear on where I stand on the questions of whether gay and lesbian couples should be permitted to marry. I support full marriage equality and have done so very publicly and very vocally for more than a decade:
* I publicly opposed California's Proposition 22, which restricted marriage to opposite sex couples (2000).
* I had a 100% rating from Equality California as a result of my support for issues important to same-sex couples, including AB 25 (Migden), which expanded the rights of domestic partners (2001 & 2002).
* I supported same-sex marriage by co-authoring Assembly Joint Resolution 85 (Leno), which opposed any federal legislation restricting the rights of same-sex couples, including the right to marry (2004).
* I voted to support Assembly Bill 849 (Leno) to allow same-sex couples to marry in California (2005).
When gay marriage was temporarily legalized in California in 2008, I was honored to host the marriage of Dennis Mangers and Michael Sestak in the Secretary of State's auditorium. The Secretary of State's office is the home of the State Archives, and holding the ceremony in the building that documents the history of earlier struggles for human rights felt right -- and it's a message that was not lost on those in attendance that day. Later, I had the great privilege of officiating over the marriages of Reverend Lindi Ramsden and her partner Mary Helen Doherty, as well as that of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Zeke Zeidler and Jay Kohorn.
In short, I have been there early and very publicly arguing that same-sex couples should have the right to marry.I support marriage equality and have done so very publicly and very vocally for more than a decade
We often hear rhetoric about "special treatment" being demanded by same-sex couples; but this is not about special treatment, it is about equal treatment. Marriage equality, housing equality, and equality in employment are about equal treatment -- nothing more and nothing less.
Every great victory for civil rights began with a few people demanding equal rights. Effecting change is always possible and I have a record that shows I am not one to sit by and wait for things to change "spontaneously." I have no room for compromise on the core issues of human rights.
If I am elected to Congress, I will be a strong vote in favor of marriage equality and legislation like the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and against discriminatory policies such as the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.