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Public Statements

Issue Position: Equal Rights And Opportunity

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Martha Coakley believes our democracy is based on the promise that government must work for everyone.

Despite tremendous progress, there is still much to be done to end discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age and disability.

Martha believes that our differences and diversity make us stronger -- and that our government must ensure equal access to opportunities and fair treatment for all.

Martha has been a national leader in promoting and protecting civil rights. As Attorney General, Martha investigated and pursued cases related to housing discrimination, disability rights, fair lending, public accommodation, equal marriage, health care disparities, and hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Throughout her career, Martha has also been a forceful advocate for legislation designed to protect and advance civil rights, and has successfully worked with the Legislature to craft and pass laws that promote equal rights and opportunity.

Protecting Reproductive Rights

As Middlesex District Attorney and Attorney General, Martha successfully advocated for and defended legislation to create and expand buffer zones around reproductive health care facilities to ensure the safety of patients and staff members.

Earlier this year, Martha filed a lawsuit challenging Bush Administration provider conscience regulations that jeopardized a woman's ability to access reproductive health care from her doctor. Her office worked with the Obama administration, which then moved to rescind those regulations.

In the Senate, Martha will be a leader who will always fight to ensure that women are able to access safe reproductive health care. She has been and will continue to be a steadfast champion of Roe v. Wade and its embodiment of fundamental liberty and privacy interests.

Repealing DOMA

Martha has stood as a national leader in defending same-sex couples and their right to marriage. Martha is the only Attorney General in the country to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, which unfairly excludes married same-sex couples and their families from critically important rights and protections.

In Washington, Martha Coakley will continue this fight and will lead the effort to repeal DOMA.

Ensuring Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Martha Coakley has fought tirelessly to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities. As Attorney General, Martha has worked to ensure that new technology keeps pace with the needs of people with disabilities. She reached an agreement with Apple, Inc. requiring that iTunes software be made accessible to blind consumers and students worldwide, as well as an agreement with the nation's largest ATM maker to ensure ATMs are accessible to blind consumers.

In Washington, Martha will fight to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to housing, education, health care, and employment opportunities.

Combating Hate Crimes and Protecting Victims

As Attorney General, Martha has aggressively prosecuted individuals who commit hate crimes and obtained rulings for victims who were assaulted or harassed based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. Martha has been recognized by civil rights organizations and community groups for her efforts in responding to and addressing bias-motivated conduct.

In Washington, Martha will continue to protect the dignity and safety of all persons and actively support efforts to improve hate crime enforcement, police training, and support for victims and their communities.

Fighting Discriminatory Lending and Unfair Financial Services Practices

Martha Coakley has championed the fight against predatory mortgage lenders, banks and brokers that sold unfair loans. Martha was the first Attorney General to file civil rights claims against subprime mortgage lenders for targeting African-American and Latino borrowers with risky loan products and charging them more for loans. Martha has also testified before Congress on unfair and discriminatory lending practices.

In Washington, Martha will continue to take action to end discriminatory practices and ensure that banks, lenders and financial institutions play by the rules, and treat customers fairly and equally.

Ending Housing Discrimination

Martha Coakley has successfully pursued hundreds of landlords and companies that discriminated against people seeking housing. As Attorney General, she has recovered damages for victims of housing discrimination, assisted tenants in foreclosed properties in finding housing, and required property owners to clean up lead paint hazards to make housing units safer for children.

In Washington, Martha will continue to pursue policies and action to end housing discrimination and to find ways to increase safe, affordable housing.

Opposing the Death Penalty

Martha is a strong opponent of the death penalty. In 2005, when Governor Mitt Romney made a major push to reinstate capital punishment, Martha testified against his bill House 3834, An Act Reinstating Capital Punishment in the Commonwealth. She also testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary against capital punishment in 2007. In recognition of her anti-death penalty advocacy the Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty awarded Martha the annual Herbert and Sara Ehrmann Award in 2008. Other recipients of this distinguished award include Senator John Kerry (1985) and Senator Ted Kennedy (1990).

In Washington, Martha will continue her strong opposition to the death penalty.

Read More

Learn more about Attorney General Coakley's work:

* Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Files Constitutional Challenge to Federal Defense of Marriage Act

* First Circuit Appeals Court Upholds Buffer Zone Law; ttorney General's Office successfully defends constitutionality of statute

* Attorney General Martha Coakley and the National Federation of the Blind Reach Agreement with Apple, Inc. to Improve Accessibility of iTunes®

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Obtains Preliminary Injunction Against Option One and H&R Block, Accused of Deceptive and Discriminatory Lending Practices

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Reaches Settlement with Dedham Real Estate Company Resolving Allegations of Unlawful Real Estate Broker Practices

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Settles with Cambridge Real Estate Company That Discriminated Against Family with Young Child

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