Bernie Sanders on Civil Rights
Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)
SANDERS: Well, I have the feeling the vast majority of the people who protested did vote. Mr. Trump lost the popular vote by almost three million votes. But I think the point yesterday, at rallies all over this country, all over the world, what people were saying to Mr. Trump, women are not going backward. They are not going to become second-class citizens. Listen to the needs of women. Listen to the needs of the immigrant community. Listen to the needs of workers. Listen to what is going on with regard to climate change. Modify your positions. Let's work together to try to save this planet and protect the middle class.
My disagreements with the Clintons' centrist approach were based not only on policy, as important as that was, but on politics--how you bring about real change in the country. What kind of party should the Democratic Party be? The Clintons, over the years, received huge campaign contributions and speaking fees from powerful financial interests and corporate America. Whether it was on the campaign trail or in their private lives, they spent an enormous amount of time raising money from the wealthy and the powerful. In fact, in some circles they became known as Clinton, Inc.
To me, a very basic political principle is that you cannot take on the establishment when you take their money.
A: Unfortunately many LGBTQ people still feel uncomfortable or even unsafe coming out in their workplaces. And they can't be blamed--they're paid less and have fewer employment opportunities than non-LGBTQ Americans. Bernie voted in favor of the Employment Discrimination Act in 2009 to prohibit workplace discrimination as a result of sexual orientation. He commended Pres. Obama last year after he prohibited discrimination against gay and transgender federal employees saying:
"We've got to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace. Vermont did this 22 years ago when it passed one of the first state laws in the country protecting lesbian and gay workers. Congress should have acted long ago, House Republicans won't even allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] that the Senate passed last year. That's why Pres. Obama's executive order is an important step in the right direction."
SANDERS: I don't know that I would go there. Now, you know, we have religious freedom. And I respect people who have different points of view. But my view is that people have a right to love each other, regardless of one's sexual orientation. I voted against the DOMA act, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, way back in 1996 that was signed by President Clinton, because I think, if people are in love, they should be able to get married in this country in 50 states in America. And I strongly support what the Supreme Court recently said.
I do not live in South Carolina. But I do believe that the time is long overdue for the people of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from the state house grounds in Columbia.
That flag is a relic of our nation's stained racial history. It should come down. Frankly, the Confederate flag does not belong on state house grounds. It belongs in a museum.
Sanders says it’s important to conduct effective anti terrorism programs, but he says these programs must be conducted within the limits of the law. Sanders says, “We want a vigorous investigation of anybody that the government or the FBI believes is involved in terrorist activity. But you can’t just have a situation where the government can go after anybody for any reason without any probable cause, without going to getting a court warrant. I think that that is a very dangerous precedent.”
A vision which says that we judge people not by their color, their gender, their sexual orientation, their nation of birth-- but by the quality of their character, and that we will never accept sexism, racism, or homophobia.
SANDERS: You know, a lot about Donald Trump sickens me, but maybe at the top of the list is his very intentional effort to try to divide us up based on the color of our skin or where we were born or our religion or our sexual orientation, even our gender. As you know, before Trump became president, he was a leader of the so-called Birther movement. Remember that? This was a disgusting effort to try to delegitimize the first African-American president in the history of our country, Barack Obama. And clearly one of the main priorities of a Sanders administration is to do everything humanly possible to end racism in America, to end sexism in America, to end homophobia in America. As Dr. Martin Luther King reminded us, we judge people based on their character. And that is the goal of my administration.
Sanders had been less committed to the idea of reparations in the form of payment when asked about it on ABC's "The View." "I think that right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check," he said at the time.
Sanders: "Yeah--but not if it means just a cash payment or a check to families. I would not support that. I am sympathetic to an idea brought forth by Congressman Jim Clyburn. And he has what he calls a 10-20-30 plan, which says that 10 percent of federal resources should go to communities that have had 20 percent levels of poverty for 30 years. In other words, the most distressed communities in America."
Through these organizations, I learned to look at politics in a new way. It wasn't just that racism, war, poverty, and other social evils must be opposed. It was that there was a cause-and-effect dynamic and an interconnectedness between all aspects of society. Things didn't just happen by accident. There was a relationship between wealth, power, and the perpetuation of capitalism.
Hillary CLINTON: Absolutely. If Michigan won't do it, there have to be ways that we can begin to move, and then make them pay for it.
SANDERS: The Secretary described the situation appropriately. I did ask for the resignation of Governor Snyder because his irresponsibility was so outrageous. What we are talking about are children being poisoned. The idea that there has not been a dramatic response is beyond comprehension. When you have significant public health crisis, of course the federal government comes in. One wonders if this were a white suburban community what kind of response there would have been. Flint is a poor community. It is disproportionately African-American and minority. And what has happened there is absolutely unacceptable.
A: Black lives matter. The African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and three days later she's dead in jail. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major reforms in a broken criminal justice system. I intend to make sure people have education and jobs rather than jail cells.
SANDERS: No, I didn't have a confrontation. I was there to speak about immigration reform. And some people thought of disrupting the meeting. And the issue that they raised was, in fact, a very important issue, about Black Lives Matter, in this case of Sandra Bland, about black people getting yanked out of an automobile, thrown to the ground, and ended up dead three days later because of a minor traffic violation.
Q: Well, I guess there were some people who felt that you were being too dismissive of the protesters.
SANDERS: Well, I'm not dismissive. I've been involved in the Civil Rights movement all of my life. And I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism. But we have to deal with the reality that 50% of young black kids are unemployed. That we have massive poverty in the America, in our country, and we an unsustainable level of income and wealth inequality.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.
Proponents support voting YES because:
The overwhelming majority of the American people support traditional marriage, marriage between a man and a woman. The people have a right to know whether their elected Representatives agree with them about protecting traditional marriage.
Every child deserves both a father and a mother. Studies demonstrate the utmost importance of the presence of a child's biological parents in a child's happiness, health and future achievements. If we chip away at the institution which binds these parents and the family together, the institution of marriage, you begin to chip away at the future success of that child.
Opponents support voting NO because:
This amendment does not belong in our Constitution. It is unworthy of our great Nation. We have amended the Constitution only 27 times. Constitutional amendments have always been used to enhance and expand the rights of citizens, not to restrict them. Now we are being asked to amend the Constitution again, to single out a single group and to say to them for all time, you cannot even attempt to win the right to marry.
From what precisely would this amendment protect marriage? From divorce? From adultery? No. Evidently, the threat to marriage is the fact that there are millions of people in this country who very much believe in marriage, who very much want to marry but who are not permitted to marry. I believe firmly that in the not-too-distant future people will look back on these debates with the incredulity with which we now view the segregationist debates of years past.
Title: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. Summary: States that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:
The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of more than 700,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
Ever since its founding in 1980, HRC has led the way in promoting fairness for GLBT Americans. HRC is a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 NAACP scores as follows:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has worked over the years to support and promote our country's civil rights agenda. Since its founding in 1909, the NAACP has worked tirelessly to end racial discrimination while also ensuring the political, social, and economic equality of all people. The Association will continue this mission through its policy initiatives and advocacy programs at the local, state, and national levels. From the ballot box to the classroom, the dedicated workers, organizers, and leaders who forged this great organization and maintain its status as a champion of social justice, fought long and hard to ensure that the voices of African Americans would be heard. For nearly one hundred years, it has been the talent and tenacity of NAACP members that has saved lives and changed many negative aspects of American society.
A resolution recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day and expressing that history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future.
Recognizes the historical significance to the nation, and supports the continued celebration, of Juneteenth Independence Day (June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved African Americans were free). Declares the sense of Congress that:
Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Prohibits related retaliation.
The Feminist Majority endorses candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition to the stronger "endorsement," the organization also determines "preferred" candidates in races where they do not endorse. Their mission statement:
"Our mission is to empower feminists, who are the majority, and to win equality for women at the decision-making tables of the state, nation, and the world. The Feminist Majority promotes non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, age, marital status, nation of origin, size or disability. The purpose of Feminist Majority is to promote equality for women and men, non-violence, reproductive health, peace, social justice and economic development and to enhance feminist participation in public policy. Feminist Majority supports workers’ collective bargaining, pay equity, and end of sweatshops. We encourage programs directed at the preservation of the environment."
Opponent's argument against bill:(by Cato Institute reported on Fox News): A bill in Congress that would prohibit discrimination in public schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity could stifle free speech and even lead to "homosexual indoctrination" in the nation's classrooms, critics say.
"The real danger is how this will be interpreted," said the associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute. "The definition of harassment could be broadly interpreted that anybody who expressed a totally legitimate opinion about homosexual behavior could be made illegal. That's a violation of those kids who want to express opposition to LGBT opinions or behavior. People have a legitimate reason to be concerned about this--not because they're 'haters' but because you're now trying to balance different rights."
Proponent's argument for bill: (Rep. Jared POLIS, House sponsor): "Hatred has no place in the classroom. Every student has the right to an education free from harassment and violence. This bill will protect the freedoms of our students and enshrine the values of equality and opportunity in the classroom."
Congressional Summary: Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to let states recognize same sex marriage. Defines "marriage" to provide that an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the state or country where the marriage was entered into. Removes the definition of "spouse" (currently, a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife).
Wikipedia and GLAAD history: In United States v. Windsor (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) struck down the act's provisions disallowing same-sex marriages to be performed under federal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court case did not challenge Section 2 of DOMA. Section 2 declares that all states have the right to deny recognition of the marriage of same sex couples that originated in states where they are legally recognized.
Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote NO: (3/20/2013): Americans respect marriage, not only as a crucial institution of civil society but the fundamental building block of all human civilization. This is why 41 states and the federal government affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman. The government isn't in the business of affirming our loves. Rather it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. And contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, and choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship. What's at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages--and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages.
Legislative outcome: Died in Committee (never came to a vote).
"Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act & the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, discrimination against women continues to permeate the workforce and many areas of the economy. Today, women earn about 77 cents for each dollar earned by men, and the gap is even greater for women of color. More than 60% of working women are still clustered in a narrow range of traditionally female, traditionally low-paying occupations, and female-headed households continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
"A stronger effort is clearly needed to finally live up to our commitment of full equality. The ERA alone cannot remedy all discrimination, but it will clearly strengthen the ongoing efforts of women across the country to obtain equal treatment.
"We know from the failed ratification experiences of the past that amending the Constitution to include the ERA will not be easy to achieve. But the women of America deserve no less."
|Other candidates on Civil Rights:||Bernie Sanders on other issues:|
Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
vs.Candidate Dan Whitfield(D)
AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D)
vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
vs.2018 Senate candidate James Bradley(R)
vs.State Rep. Jerome Horton(D)
CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
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IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
vs.State Rep Charles Booker(D)
LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
MO: Incumbent Roy Blunt(R)
vs.Eric Greitens(R) vs.Scott Sifton(D)
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vs.Tim Shepard(D) vs.Billy Long(R)
NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
Erica Smith(D) vs.Mark Walker(R)
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ND: Incumbent John Hoeven(R)
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NH: Incumbent Maggie Hassan(D)
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NV: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto(D)
NY: Incumbent Chuck Schumer(D)
OH: Incumbent Rob Portman(R,retiring)
Bernie Moreno(R) vs.Tim Ryan(D)
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OK: Incumbent James Lankford(R)
OR: Incumbent Ron Wyden(D)
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PA: Incumbent Pat Toomey(R,retiring)
vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R)
vs.Val Arkoosh(D) vs.Carla Sands(R)
vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D)
vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D)
vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R)
vs.Craig Snyder(R) vs.Mehmet Oz(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D)
vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
vs.Scott Milne(? R)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
WI: Incumbent Ron Johnson(R) vs.Tom Nelson(D)
vs.Sarah Godlewski(D) vs.Alex Lasry(D)
vs.Chris Larson(D) vs.Mandela Barnes(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)
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