Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) released a statement marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, which is celebrated in June:
Happy Pride! This month we celebrate the LGBT community -- its diversity and history, their important contributions to our national life, and their resilience in the pursuit of equality under the law."
This is an important time in the history of LGBT Americans. While we've made great strides toward equal rights, including gaining President Obama's support for marriage and making inroads against DOMA in federal courts, there is still much more to do. We must work to make sure that no American can be legally fired simply for who they are, even if they can do the job. Also we must do better to make sure LGBT youth are protected and supported, in order to ensure their well-being and success. And, we must aggressively prosecute bias and hate-based violence, which we are still seeing far too much of. I pledge to continue fighting for these important civil and human rights issues to guarantee equality for every American."
In recognition of LGBT Pride Month, Congresswoman Capps released a video Public Service Message. Last year, she also recorded a video message for the "It Gets Better Project" to send a message of hope to young LGBT people who have been bullied and harassed. She believes that these messages, directly from a public official, are important to combat the often negative rhetoric so many LGBT youth receive on a daily basis, including from people in positions of authority. For example, in the recent "Growing Up LGBT in America" survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, 92% of LGBT youth said they hear negative messages about being LGBT, and 60% said that they hear negative messages from elected leaders.
Capps is a vocal, long-time supporter of equality for all Americans, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Congresswoman Capps supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and is an original co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act (ROMA), which would repeal provisions in DOMA that prevent same-sex couples who are married under state laws from receiving federal benefits. Capps also helped lead the congressional effort to repeal the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Capps supports full equality for LGBT Americans in key civil rights areas, including but not limited to: employment and housing discrimination, immigration status, federal benefits for families and creating safe schools for LGBT youth.