Civil and Constitutional Rights

Congressman Blumenauer, a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, is a strong advocate for human rights and democracy. While there are limits to our ability to impact what goes on in other countries, he believes it is particularly important that the United States always model and advocate our deepest held values.

Blumenauer is a staunch opponent of torture, whether committed by the United States or despotic regimes across the globe. He strongly supports the Geneva Conventions and the obligations of the laws of war. He has regularly led the charge to prohibit torture and close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Questions remain about how to prosecute individuals accused of plotting or attempting to attack the United States.  There are legitimate concerns about the viability of holding these trials in civilian courts.  Yet the Congressman believes that doing so would also be a step forward in confronting both our alleged attackers and the treatment they subsequently received at our hands.  Now is the time to recommit to, not shy away from, the rule of law.

 

Defending women's rights

The advancement and protection of women’s rights is a priority for Congressman Blumenauer. He consistently supports policies relating to women’s health, economic equity, education, domestic violence, childcare, child support, sexual harassment and international human rights.

Congressman Blumenauer has worked hard in Congress to protect a woman’s right to reproductive choice, prohibit sex discrimination in employment and wages, encourage comprehensive sexuality education, protect international family planning efforts, provide assistance to victims of domestic violence, and advance the status of women and girls in poor countries. In a time when women’s rights are being used as a political punching bag, Blumenauer strongly supports Title X, the protection of victims of domestic violence, and continuation of funding to Planned Parenthood for comprehensive sex education and medical services.

 

Fighting for LGBT Equality 

All Americans have a fundamental right to feel safe in their communities. Congressman Blumenauer is a steadfast advocate for policies to combat discrimination, inequity, and injustice.

Congressman Blumenauer is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which will amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination.

 

Schools

Blumenauer believes that all children should feel comfortable in their learning environment and free to participate in school activities with their peers, no matter their gender, race, religion or sexual identity. Blumenauer is a cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit exclusion of public school students from federally-assisted programs on the basis of their sexual orientation. Harassment of an individual based on their characteristics, be it race, religion, sexual identity, or any other, is deplorable and unacceptable.  These two pieces of legislation are an important part of our nation’s struggle to make our country more equitable, just, and fair, so that every child has the opportunity to pursue their dreams in a safe and accepting environment. 

 

Millitary

 The United States should support and honor the sacrifice all Americans make who serve in our military, no matter their race, gender, or sexual identity. At the end of the 111th Congress, Blumenauer was proud to join his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in voting to end the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy.

Passing this legislation is a major victory for members of the LGBT community who championed this issue, and for the thousands of brave men and women in uniform who will receive – as they should have all along – the same rights and be judged on the same merits as everyone else in the armed services.

This discrimination should have ended years ago. He is a cosponsor of the Restore Honor to Service Members Act, which would require military correction boards to review past discharges, which were made on the basis of sexual orientation, and change them to an honorable discharge if they weren’t so already.

 

Social Security

Blumenauer is a cosponsor of the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act, which would ensure that the Social Security benefits of same-sex couples are properly protected.

 

Restoring privacy 

Congressman Blumenauer has opposed the Patriot Act since the original, bipartisan version of the bill was undermined by the Bush administration and significantly expanded without safeguards for the rights of ordinary Americans.  This is why it has been consistently opposed by thoughtful members of Congress from both parties. 

In a country that prides itself on civil rights and freedom of speech, Blumenauer believes that we must maintain a system with checks and balances to ensure that our government works for citizens in a transparent way.  We can keep America safe without compromising our liberties.  The legislation is overdue for a comprehensive review that balances individual privacy with national defense.

One of the many provisions in need of reform is that which leaves library patrons and their library and business records unprotected.   The burden should be on the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation.

After a decade, it is past time to review and refine the Patriot Act.  The intelligence community already has the tools necessary to keep us safe without compromising our privacy. 

 

 

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