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Issue Position: Fighting for LGBT Rights - Caring for Loved Ones

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Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, certain private and all public employees may take up to twelve weeks of unpaid medical leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition. Unfortunately, same-sex spouses or domestic partners do not currently enjoy the same right. Therefore, to care for a critically-ill partner, a same-sex spouse who needs to take time off from work must risk termination. Because every employee should have the right to take a reasonable amount of time from work to care for a seriously ill family member, last Congress I cosponsored the Family Medical Leave Inclusion Act (H.R. 2132). This bill would provide medical leave to care for a same- sex spouse or domestic partner. I look forward to joining with my colleagues in reintroducing this important piece of legislation soon. In 2009, we passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which imposes additional federal penalties for crimes motivated by hatred on the basis of race, religion, or actual or perceived sexual orientation. I hope that we are equally successful in pass the legislation documented above.


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