Senator Menendez believes our nation is built upon the fundamental values of liberty and democracy and that we must ensure those values are the bedrock of our society. Every person – regardless of race, gender, country of origin, religion or sexual orientation – is equal and should be treated as such. Anything less undermines the fundamental values upon which our country was founded.
Senator Menendez has worked to provide equal rights for all Americans from fighting to end racial profiling, to ensuring that all citizens have a right to vote in free and fair elections, to helping guarantee equal pay for equal work. He will continue his efforts to ensure our nation fulfills its obligation to provide an equal opportunity for all.
- Combating Hate Crimes. Co-sponsored the The Matthew Shepard Act, the landmark 2009 law to combat hate crimes. Under the law, federal law enforcement has greater authority to investigate and prosecute suspected hate crimes.
- Ending Discrimination. Co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that would end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender including the Respect for Marriage Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Domestic Partnership and Obligations Act. Senator Menendez also supported repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and urged the Supreme Court to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.
- Ending Racial Profiling. Original cosponsor of the End Racial Profiling Act which prohibits racial profiling and creates a private right of action for victims of racial profiling. It would also require federal law enforcement officers to be trained in receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints, and would condition federal aid to states on their adoption of effective policies to prohibit racial profiling.
- Ensuring Equal Rights For Women. Lead Senate sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment for the past several years which would make women’s equality a fundamental right under the Constitution. Women have made tremendous advancements in our society, but Senator Menendez believes that we must continue to advance women’s rights by bringing our laws in line with 21st Century values.
- Providing Equal Pay For Equal Work. Co-sponsored the The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps end pay discrimination and was enacted into law in 2009. The law makes it illegal to discriminate in wages based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability and strengthens the legal recourse available to those who are subject to such discrimination. Senator Menendez also cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act which further builds off the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act with more protections for women in the workforce.
- Supporting LGBT Rights. Applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Senator Menendez said the decision marked a great day for Americans who love the blessings of freedom and equality that are guaranteed in this country and he called the decision an affirmation of the right to equal protection under law for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
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