I'm a proud supporter of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. I firmly believe our LGBT friends and neighbors deserve the right to visit their partners in hospitals, the right to spousal benefits, the right to serve openly in our nation's Armed Forces, and the right to marry.
As the Vice Chair of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, and through my own work in Congress, I have advocated extensively on behalf of the LGBT community. For example, in the 111th Congress, I helped repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which barred openly gay soldiers from serving our nation. I actively worked with the Palm Center, formerly part of UC Santa Barbara, to educate my colleagues in Congress that this policy did nothing to make our military stronger, or our nation safer.
I am also continuing to work to secure necessary resources for community health centers to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our minority communities, secure domestic partnership benefits for federal employees, repeal the federal "Defense of Marriage Act," and extend health benefits to all those in legal partnerships. And, commemorating the National Day of Silence in honor of LGBT youth, like Larry King who tragically died at his Oxnard Middle School, remains a top priority for me.
I look forward to continued progress on behalf of LGBT Americans in the 112th Congress and value every opportunity to work for equal rights for all Americans.