Maria knows that the greatest responsibility of our government is to protect its citizens from the threat of terrorists and those who would do us harm. She also understands the critical need to balance that mission with respect to the rights and privacy of American citizens. That's why Maria has repeatedly voted against extending the Patriot Act, most recently in May 2011, when she voted against extending provisions to allow the government to continue the practice of roving wiretaps and confiscation of business records and library documents. Maria has also been outspoken against the NSA warrantless wiretapping program, and in 2008 she bucked her party and the majority of Congress to vote against giving legal immunity to the telecomm companies that cooperated with the Bush administration in carrying out the program.
Maria believes in equal protection for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability. She worked for and applauded passage of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal as well as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act that expanded the definition of a federal hate crime to include crimes motivated by a victim's gender or sexual orientation. Maria has firmly opposed attempts to pass a constitutional ban on same sex marriage and applauded the Obama administration's move in 2011 to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). She is also supporting legislation to repeal DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Additionally, Maria is a cosponsor of legislation to eliminate unfair tax treatment of health benefits for same-sex couples.
Maria strongly supports ending racial profiling by law enforcement and following the September 11 terrorist attacks, she stood up to protect the civil liberties of Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Sikh-Americans from discrimination.
Time and again, Maria has stepped up to defend a woman's right to choose. She has been a leader for women in the Senate in the fight against drastic cuts to women's health care services including access to contraceptives and allowing family planning coverage under Medicaid. She has also consistently supported comprehensive sexual education aimed at preventing teen pregnancies.