Diane Watson on Civil Rights
Democratic Representative (CA-33)
Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
HR3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated. Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Inapplicable to associations that are exempt from religious discrimination provisions.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. CASTOR: The march towards equality under the law for all of our citizens has sometimes been slow, but it has been steady. Over time, Congress has outlawed discrimination in the workplace, based upon a person's race, gender, age, national origin, religion and disability, because when it comes to employment, these decisions are rightly based upon a person's qualifications and job performance. This legislation that outlaws job discrimination based upon
sexual orientation was first introduced over 30 years ago. A broad coalition of businesses and community organizations strongly support this landmark civil rights legislation, including the Human Rights Campaign; the Anti-Defamation League; and the NAACP.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. HASTINGS: Federal law bans job discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or gender. In addition, 19 States have passed laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I strongly oppose discrimination in the workplace. However, I do not think it is the place of the Federal Government to legislate how each and every workplace operates. A number of States have enacted State laws in this area. That is their right. Many businesses have chosen to adopt their own policies. That is appropriate as well. This bill as written would expand Federal law into a realm where PERCEPTION would be a measure under discrimination law [which I consider inappropriate].
Reference: Employment Non-Discrimination Act;
; vote number 2007-1057
on Nov 13, 2007
Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution stating: "Marriage in the US shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."
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.
Reference: Marriage Protection Amendment;
Bill H J RES 88
; vote number 2006-378
on Jul 18, 2006
Voted NO on making the PATRIOT Act permanent.
To extend and modify authorities needed to combat terrorism, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act;
Bill HR 3199
; vote number 2005-627
on Dec 14, 2005
- Assigning three judges to hear individuals' petitions concerning improper requests by the FBI for library circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, book customer lists, and other records
- Reporting every year the number of library records orders that are granted, modified, or denied
- Allows Internet service providers to disclose their subscribers information and the contents of their communications to a government entity, if they believe there is �immediate danger of death or serious physical injury�
- Requires that any court that allows a �roving wiretap� under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) must describe in great detail the intended target whose identity is not known
- Allows individuals and businesses to seek legal counsel if they have received a National Security Letter from the FBI requiring them to disclose financial information and records
Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Marriage Protection Amendment - Declares that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Prohibits the Constitution or any State constitution from being construed to require that marital status or its legal incidents be conferred upon any union other than that of a man and a woman.
Reference: Constitutional Amendment sponsored by Rep Musgrave [R, CO-4];
; vote number 2004-484
on Sep 30, 2004
Voted NO on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Pledge Protection Act: Amends the Federal judicial code to deny jurisdiction to any Federal court, and appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance or its validity under the Constitution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Todd Akin [R, MO-2];
; vote number 2004-467
on Sep 23, 2004
Voted NO on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration.
Desecration of Flag resolution: Vote to pass the joint resolution to put forward a Constitutional amendment to state that Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. Note: A two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting (284 in this case) is required to pass a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution.
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Thomas, R-CA;
; vote number 2003-234
on Jun 3, 2003
Supports reparations for slavery.
Watson signed the CBC statement on the UN World Conference Against Racism
Reparations is a serious issue that should be seriously discussed. Not only can we not deny African-Americans the opportunity to discuss the issue on the world stage, we cannot deny the rest of the world the opportunity to discuss the issue with America. It is sad that the forces of the status quo have suffocated the attempts of Rep. John Conyers to have a simple hearing on a bill to authorize a study regarding reparations. It is sadder still that they are now trying to suffocate the voices of the entire world [at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa] . The damages suffered by families as a result of the slave trade are physical, mental and financial. They have long term consequences. If the world is to be a just one, we must engage in a real discussion about the resources that many people feel their ancestors were denied. Only when this is accomplished can we ever truly move beyond the wounds to focus on healing.
Source: CBC Statement on the UN World Conference Against Racism 01-CBC1 on Aug 31, 2001
Ending racial profiling is part of fight for justice.
Watson adopted the CBC principles:
At the core of the Congressional Black Caucus priorities is its historical fight for civil rights and justice. Among other values, the CBC stresses federal emphasis on the following areas:
Source: Congressional Black Caucus press release 01-CBC8 on Jan 6, 2001
- Equal Justice. The CBC is committed to stopping racial discrimination in all aspects of our lives. We will continue efforts to end immediately the unjust practice of racial profiling, and the racial disparities in sentencing for both drug offenses and death penalty cases.
- Juvenile Justice. We must work with our children before they come in contact with our criminal justice system. The CBC supports conflict resolution and open communication initiatives that serve as preventive measures to violence. It is also the goal of this Caucus to properly address mandatory sentencing guidelines and racial sentencing disparities.
Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender.
Watson co-sponsored a Constitutional Amendment:
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.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HJR40 on Mar 22, 2001
Require "Privacy Impact Statement" on new federal rules.
Watson co-sponsored requiring "Privacy Impact Statement" on new federal rules
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: It is clear that this bill's many cosponsors do not agree on every issue. The same can be said of the bill's noncongressional supporters, which include groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The sphere of privacy, which Justice Brandeis eloquently described as the ''right to be let alone,'' is not only rapidly diminishing, it is increasingly penetrable. The Federal Agency Protection of Privacy Act takes the first--necessary--step toward protecting the privacy of information collected by the federal government, by requiring that rules noticed for public comment by federal agencies be accompanied by an assessment of the rule's impact on personal privacy interests, including the extent to which the proposed rule provides notice of the collection of personally identifiable information, what information will be obtained, and how this informational will be collected, protected,
maintained, used and disclosed.
I want to emphasize H.R. 4561 will not unduly burden regulators nor will it hinder law enforcement. This bill will apply the best antiseptic--sunshine--to the federal rulemaking process by securing the public's right to know about how rules will affect their personal privacy.
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
- Requires Federal agencies, when promulgating a rule, to publish a privacy impact analysis.
- Requires an agency promulgating a rule that may have a significant privacy impact on individuals to use specified techniques to assure that individuals have been given an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking.
- Requires each agency to carry out a periodic review of promulgated rules that have privacy impact, every ten years after the rule was published.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Passed House on a voice vote; sent to Senate on Oct. 8, 2002; never called to vote in Senate.
Source: Federal Agency Protection of Privacy Act (H.R.4561) 02-HR4561 on Apr 24, 2002
Rated 91% by the ACLU, indicating a pro-civil rights voting record.
Watson scores 91% by the ACLU on civil rights issues
The mission of the ACLU is to preserve protections and guarantees America�s original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights:
We work also to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor. If the rights of society�s most vulnerable members are denied, everybody�s rights are imperiled.
- Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
- Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
- Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.
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.
Source: ACLU website 02n-ACLU on Dec 31, 2002
Issue a commemorative postage stamp of Rosa Parks.
Watson co-sponsored issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rosa Parks
EXCERPTS OF RESOLUTION:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; never came to a vote.
Source: Rosa Parks Stamp (S.2154/H.R.4343) 05-S2154 on Dec 20, 2005
- Whereas in 1955, Rosa Parks's quiet, courageous act changed the United States and its view of African Americans, and redirected the course of history;
- Whereas at that time, in Montgomery, Alabama, as in other cities in the Deep South, the treatment of African Americans on public buses had long been a source of resentment within the African American community;
- Whereas White busdrivers, who were invested with police powers, frequently harassed African Americans;
- Whereas on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks took her seat in the front of the 'Colored' section of a Montgomery bus, but was asked, along with 3 other African Americans, to relinquish her seat to a White passenger;
- Whereas although the 3 other African American passengers relinquished their seats, Rosa Parks refused to do so, and was arrested for that refusal;
Whereas because Rosa Parks's act of disobedience launched the Montgomery bus boycott, which lasted for 381 days and propelled the civil rights movement into the national consciousness, she is widely known as the mother of the civil rights movement; and
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved that it is the sense of Congress that the United States Postal Service should issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring the late Rosa Parks.
Rated 100% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance.
Watson scores 100% by the HRC on gay rights
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:
About the HRC (from their website, www.hrc.org):
- 0% - 20%: opposes gay rights (approx. 207 members)
- 20% - 70%: mixed record on gay rights (approx. 84 members)
- 70%-100%: supports gay rights (approx. 177 members)
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.
Source: HRC website 06n-HRC on Dec 31, 2006
Rated 92% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance.
Watson scores 92% by the NAACP on affirmative action
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 NAACP scores as follows:
About the NAACP (from their website, www.naacp.org):
- 0% - 33%: anti-affirmative-action stance (approx. 177 members)
- 34% - 84%: mixed record on affirmative-action (approx. 96 members)
- 85%-100%: pro-affirmative-action stance (approx. 190 members)
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.
Source: NAACP website 06n-NAACP on Dec 31, 2006
Re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment.
Watson co-sponsored re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment
A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women, which shall be part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4 of the States:Sen. KENNEDY. "It's a privilege to join my colleagues in reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The ERA is essential to guarantee that the freedoms protected by our Constitution apply equally to men and women. From the beginning of our history as a Nation, women have had to wage a constant, long and difficult battle to win the same basic rights granted to men. That battle goes on
today, since discrimination still continues in many ways.
- Section 1.Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
- Section 2.The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- Section 3.This article shall take effect 2 years after the date of ratification.
"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."
Source: Equal Rights Amendment (S.J.RES.10/H.J.RES.40) 2007-SJR10 on Mar 29, 2007
Honor the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.
Watson signed bill honoring the 100th anniversary of the NAACP
- Whereas the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, originally known as the National Negro Committee, was founded in New York City on February 12, 1909, the centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, by a multiracial group of activists who met in a national conference to discuss the civil and political rights of African-Americans;
- Whereas the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States;
- Whereas the mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination;
- Whereas the NAACP is committed to achieving its goals through nonviolence;
Whereas the NAACP advances its mission through reliance upon the press, the petition, the ballot, and the courts, and has been persistent in the use of legal and moral persuasion, even in the face of overt and violent racial hostility;
- Whereas the NAACP has used political pressure, marches, demonstrations, and effective lobbying to serve as the voice, as well as the shield, for minority Americans;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Congress
Source: SCR.3&HCR.35 2009-SCR3 on Jan 28, 2009
- Recognizes the 100th anniversary of the historic founding of the NAACP.
- Honors and praises the NAACP on the occasion of its anniversary for its work to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons.
Supported legislation on violence against women & safety.
Watson adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women�s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 1: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN/SAFETY ISSUES:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC1 on Jul 15, 1999
- HR764�Child Abuse & Prevention Enforcement (CAPE) Act�To reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect, and for other purposes. (Pryce) STATUS: Passed House, 10/5/99
- HR1248�Violence Against Women Act of 1999 (VAWA Reauthorization)�A bill to prevent violence against women. (Morella) STATUS: Hearing held, 9/29/99
- HR1352�Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims� Housing Act�A bill to provide housing assistance to domestic violence victims. (Schakowsky) STATUS: Amended version added to HR 1073 (Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act), which passed Banking Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, 4/15/99
- HR1869�Stalking Prevention and Victim Protection Act of 1999�A bill to expand the prohibition on stalking, and for other purposes.
(Kelly) STATUS: Hearing held, 9/29/99
- HR2130�Date-Rape Prevention Drug Act of 1999�A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to add gamma hydroxybutyric acid and ketamine to the schedules of control substances, to provide for a national awareness campaign, and for other purposes. (Upton/Stupak/Jackson-Lee/Bliley) STATUS: Passed House, 10/12/99
- Protection of Women in Prison Act of 1999�A bill to require that facilities receiving federal funding develop and implement policies to restrict the role of male staff with regard to female inmates, address the particular health needs of female inmates, prohibit the routine shackling of pregnant women and women in labor, and provide additional protections to female inmates who report violations in order to protect them from retaliation. (Waters)
- HR3083�The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 1999�A bill to provide protection for battered immigrant women. (Schakowsky/Morella/Jackson-Lee)
Supported funding for women's and disadvantaged businesses.
Watson adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women�s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 9: WOMEN IN BUSINESS:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC12 on Jul 15, 1999
- HR413�PRIME Act�Grant program. Authorizes qualified organizations to provide technical assistance and capacity building services to microenterprise development organizations and programs and to disadvantaged entrepreneurs using funds from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (Rush/Leach)
- HR1496�Small Business Access and Choice for Entrepreneurs (ACE) Act�A bill to help reduce the number of uninsured self-employed persons, and their employees, by giving them better access to affordable health care options. This bi-partisan bill includes Association Health Plans (AHPs) and 100% tax deductibility of health care costs for the self- employed. AHPs allow the small businesses to join together through their trade associations to obtain the purchasing clout and administrative efficiency that employees
of large employers currently enjoy. The ACE Act also includes a provision for 100% deductibility of health insurance costs for the self-employed. Currently, the self- employed are allowed only a 60% deduction, while large businesses enjoy a full 100% deduction. (Talent/Dooley)
- HR1497�Women�s Business Centers Sustainability Act of 1999�A bill to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the women�s business center program. (Udall-NM) H.RES. 15�A resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding Government procurement access for women-owned businesses. (Kelly)
- HR2334�Access to Contract Equity Act (ACE)�A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to extend and make improvements to the provisions relating to procurement contract goals for small disadvantaged businesses and certain institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. (Velazquez)
Page last updated: Sep 14, 2010