As millions of people around the country and around the world came together to celebrate Pride, it’s important that we remember the struggle and sacrifices of the activists who spent decades fighting for civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
Just two presidential elections ago, it would have been hard to imagine a candidate who boldly stood up for the LGBTQ+ community. However, before it became a politically expedient thing to do, Kamala Harris was on the frontlines of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
Harris, the daughter of an Indian American mother and an African-American father, understood from a young age that love is something to be celebrated and that no one should have to apologize for who they love. It’s why she has consistently shown herself to be a true progressive champion when it comes to fighting for LGBTQ+ rights as San Francisco District Attorney, as California’s Attorney General, and as a United States Senator.
In 2004, as District Attorney, Harris established an LGBT hate crimes unit, which included a Victim Advocacy Unit, as well as a Sexual Assault Awareness Program. At the time, these were some of the first programs to combat hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community in the country. While progress nationally was lagging, and crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity were not recognized as federal hate crimes, Kamala Harris led the fight to abolish the use of gay and transgender “panic defenses” in criminal trials, which were often used to defend violence against LGBTQ+ people.
Furthermore, when most Democrats supported civil unions, Harris demonstrated her commitment to the LGBTQ+ community by officiating some of the first marriages between same-sex couples.
Kamala didn’t stop fighting for the LGBTQ+ community with her early efforts in San Francisco. As California’s Attorney General, Harris successfully defended a California law banning conversion therapy. Later, when Proposition 8, which only recognized marriages between a man and woman as valid in the State of California, landed on her desk, Harris refused to defend it, and filed briefs in support of marriage equality. She even pushed the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its ban on blood donations from gay men.
As a senator, Harris has sponsored landmark legislation such as the Do No Harm Act, which would ensure that religion cannot be used to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Kamala Harris is also a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris has aggressively questioned appointees and nominees put forward by the Trump administration. She asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross about his decision to direct the Census to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity in the upcoming Census and later introduced the Census Equality Act to ensure that members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t go uncounted in the future.
Few if any candidates in the large 2020 presidential field can match Sen. Harris’ deep commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Time and again, she has demonstrated her strong support of the LGBTQ+ community and her willingness to buck political trends to do the right thing.
A Kamala Harris presidency would give the LGBTQ+ community a fierce advocate in the White House, with an unparalleled commitment to equal rights.
That is why I am supporting Kamala Harris for president of the United States of America. She embodies the kind of energy and spirit we need in the White House to ensure that people in the LGBTQ+ community don’t go unseen, unheard, or uncared about here at home or around the world. We should proudly stand behind a candidate who is committed to dignity, acceptance, and equal rights and who has the skills to make those ideals a reality for everyone.