I will continue to stand up for equal rights and equal respect for all Americans, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Every person deserves a safe workplace and equal employment opportunities and no one should be discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. My efforts are reflected in the Equality Texas "Spirit of Texas" Lifetime Achievement Award for my work fighting for equality and against discrimination. I am also a member of the House LGBT Caucus, the largest LGBT Equality Caucus in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Combating Sexual and Domestic Violence
I strongly believe that sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence are inexcusable, no matter whom the perpetrator is. Regardless of who is accused, all allegations of sexual violence must be taken seriously. I admire the brave people who have had the courage to share their stories, and I stand with the many who have not done so, knowing that this is a personal and difficult matter.
As a longtime advocate for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence, this behavior must end wherever it occurs. I am an original cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act, which would build upon the success of VAWA by expanding programs to address gun violence, dating violence, bullying, and housing discrimination. Of particular importance, this legislation would prevent individuals subject to restraining orders for domestic violence or stalking from possessing a firearm. Repeatedly, gun violence incidents have been linked to domestic violence, including in our neighboring communities of Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe. It is critical that we pass reasonable gun safety laws, including the provisions in the VAWA Reauthorization Act.
Before there was a Texas Council on Family Violence, I first got involved as a young Texas State Senator in helping a group of committed Central Texas women secure state funds to launch what was then the Center for Battered Women.