WASHINGTON D.C. – In support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community during National LGBT Pride Month, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) in introducing The International Human Rights Defense Act. The legislation would direct the U.S. Department of State to promote and defend the human rights of LGBT individuals worldwide through the following efforts:
- Developing a global strategy to prioritize preventing and responding to the violence and discrimination facing the LGBT community;
- Coordinating efforts with governments, private sector institutions, multilateral organizations, and local advocacy groups;
- Appointing a “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT People” to coordinate inter-bureau and inter-agency efforts; and
- Continuing to report on LGBT international human rights in the annual State Department Report on Human Rights.
“The United States must work to become the leader in the fight to defend the human rights of the LGBT community,” Brown said. “All people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to live free from discrimination and violence.”
Brown continues to support the LGBT community and advocate for the civil rights of all Americans. In April 2014, Brown recorded a video applauding students participating in the National Day of Silence, and urged teachers to do all they can to protect LGBT students from bullying. In March 2014, Brown and more than 175 Senators and Representatives sent a letter to President Obama, calling on him to issue an executive order banning federal contracts from being awarded to contractors who do not have policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In November 2013, Brown voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), an effort to protect Americas from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Brown introduced the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act of 2013, a bill that would protect LGBT individuals from housing discrimination. His legislation would expand the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as personal characteristics that may not be used to determine access to housing or credit. Brown also is one of just a handful of sitting senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996.