The fight for the rights of our fellow Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer, has been long and grueling. From my first years in Congress, I have been proud to stand up for all LGBTQ Americans. I voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, Since then, I am glad to say that we as a nation have moved in the right direction. The majority of all Americans support equality for the LGBTQ community, DOMA has been struck down, and many of my colleagues have joined me in our fight for ensuring true equality. The Supreme Court has also recognized the equal rights and equal dignity of same-sex couples across the country in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. These victories should be celebrated, protected and expanded upon.

No one should face discrimination because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. In many states, there are still no legal protections against work-place discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A same-sex couple could get married on a Saturday, then fired on Monday based on their sexual identity. This can’t stand. In these states, blatant LGBTQ discrimination is perfectly legal in real estate transactions, employment, banking, and a number of other areas, just as it once was with race and gender.

I am a proud original cosponsor of the Equality Act. This landmark legislation adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the civil rights laws already present in our Federal code. Under the Equality Act, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans would receive full protections under the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. I was pleased to speak in favor of, vote for, and help pass this critical legislation through the House this past May. The fight for same-sex marriage is won, but we are far from the just and equal society we seek and deserve.

Since 2002, I have introduced a resolution each year in support of GLESN’s National Day of Silence to recognize LGBTQ students who skip school due to fear of verbal, and physical harassment or abuse.No student should be mistreated, or made to feel inferior, because of who they are. Period. My resolution sends a powerful message to the Trump Administration that I, and my House colleagues, will not stand for their anti-LGBTQ policies, which serve no purpose beyond blatant discrimination.

The Trump Administration’s discriminatory LGBTQ policies also infamously extend to our military in the form of the President’s ban on transgender service members. I was proud to be an original cosponsor, and help pass H. Res 124, a resolution opposing the President’s transgender military ban earlier this year. The policy is an obvious insult to the brave Americans who volunteer to enter our nation’s armed forces. The President is wrong, and I will continue to oppose his horrible policies that alienate those who desire to serve our country.