Protecting the Civil Rights of our LGBTQ community members

Downtown Olympia decorate for Pride. Photo Courtesy of Leslie Wolff.Two weeks ago, I was delighted to wake up to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. LGBTQ people in the United States need no longer fear that their employers can fire them simply for who they are.

Washington State has been a leader in the fight to protect the civil rights of the LGBTQ community. Much of this progress would not have been possible without the advocacy and hard work by the late Senator Cal Anderson who blazed the trail for LGBTQ rights in Washington.  I was proud to call Cal a friend. 

Thanks to the advocacy of Cal and many others, Washington became one of the first states to recognize same sex civil unions and to pass same sex marriages, both of which I strongly supported. This year the legislature continued this important work by passing two pieces of legislation to protect LGBTQ rights.

I was proud to co-sponsor Senate Bill 5689, which requires school districts to adopt policies and procedures that protect transgender students from discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying.

In addition, I was a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 5356, which establishes the Washington State LGBTQ Commission.  The Commission will monitor legislation and state policies with the goal of eliminating barriers to economic and health equity for LGBTQ people.

I am committed to ensuring our LGBTQ friends, family, and community members are safe and welcomed in our state and I look forward to working with all of you to further this goal.