Civil Rights

Congressman Kennedy believes government has no greater responsibility than to keep the fundamental promise that every American – and human being – is created equal.

LGBTQIA+ Equality

As Chair of the Congressional LGBT Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force, Kennedy is a leader in Washington for LGBTQIA+ rights. He is a proud supporter of the Equality Act and introduced legislation to ban the so-called ‘Gay and Trans Panic’ defense, as well as a resolution recognizing a national Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Kennedy is also the author of the Do No Harm Act, which would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to ensure that religious freedom cannot be used to justify denying civil rights.  This landmark legislation is supported by over 50 leading civil rights and social justice groups across the country.

He has spearheaded efforts in Washington to stop the ban on transgender troops, defend non-discrimination protections for transgender students and ensure access to necessary health care for every transgender American. He was on the frontlines of Massachusetts’ efforts to expand transgender non-discrimination protections to public spaces.

Gender Equity

From the #MeToo movement to reproductive rights and economic access, Kennedy has fought against persistent gender inequities and injustices.

He supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and Equal Rights Amendment, two proposals to help address the wage gap and workplace discrimination. He is an advocate for universal childcare and guaranteed paid family leave, to remedy the increasingly untenable economic balance that young families and disproportionately women, are forced to strike.

Kennedy is a steadfast advocate for reproductive justice and women’s access to health care. He believes the right to choose is a fundamental liberty and opposes any effort to undermine Roe v. Wade. He supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, which limits federal funding for abortion access, as well as making birth control available over the counter. He has worked with his colleagues to protect Planned Parenthood, expand mental health care for pregnant women and address maternal mortality rates, particularly for women of color.

Kennedy is proud to be an ally of the #MeToo movement and believes government must do everything in its power to root out the scourge of sexual assault, violence and harassment. He authored legislation, now signed into law, to improve access to legal services for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and supported efforts to address sexual harassment in Congress and on Capitol Hill.

Racial Justice

From immigration and indigenous rights to addressing the racial wealth gap and ending disparities in maternal mortality rates, Kennedy has supported expansive efforts to dismantle structural racism.

With the rights and dignity of communities of color under renewed assault by the Trump Administration, he has joined Congressional efforts to block attacks on affordable housing, fair wages, public education and access to health care, all of which can disproportionately target black and brown families. He is the proud co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, Vote by Mail Act and Automatic Voter Registration Act, which would counteract the ongoing campaign of voter suppression targeted at minority communities across the country.

Kennedy supports broad criminal justice reform, including an overhaul of mandatory minimums, cash bail and punitive court fees that penalize poverty, as well as rectifying failed drug policies and dramatically expanding access to counsel.

He has co-sponsored legislation to support minority-owned businesses, undo the legacy of redlining in housing, and study reparations for African-American families. He has worked to stop the Administration’s racist Muslim ban and block immigration enforcement and detention policies targeted at immigrants of color. In both Massachusetts and Washington, he has defended the sovereignty of native people and their land and has worked closely with colleagues across the aisle to address devastating inequities in funding for the Indian Health Services.

Read more from Joe:

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HERALD NEWS: Our unfinished march towards equality for LGBT Americans

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