David Iliff, Wikipedia Commons
David Iliff, Wikipedia Commons

Minnesota’s DFL members of Congress are well represented in bills aimed at addressing LGBT inequities.

As of May 21, in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Keith Ellison has attached his name to 12 bills and Rep. Betty McCollum has signed on to 11 bills that are specific to LGBT equity. Rep. Tim Walz is co-sponsor on six bills, and Rep. Rick Nolan has signed on to two. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson has not signed on to support any, nor have Minnesota’s Republican members of Congress, Reps. Tom Emmer, Erik Paulsen, and John Kline.

In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Al Franken has authored one bill for LGBT equity, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and has co-sponsored seven others, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar has signed on to four.

Bills in the Senate range from Sen. Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act to international LGBT rights to equity for LGBT veterans. Bills in the House range from fixing loopholes that block equality for same-sex couples to school safety bills to resolutions against conversion therapy and in support of LGBT youth.

Here’s a list of current legislation pending in Congress and the Minnesota Congress members who have signed on to support each piece of legislation:

U.S. Senate

S.439, the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2015, would prevent discrimination against LGBT students in public schools, and beefs up federal anti-bullying laws as they relate to LGBT students.

Sen. Al Franken is the author of the bill and introduced it in the Senate. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a co-sponsor.

S.270, Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2015, would change language relating to veteran benefits. Specifically, it would change the word “spouse” to be inclusive of same-sex couples, and consider the word “spouse” to include same-sex couples who were legally married under the law of any state.

Sen. Al Franken is a co-sponsor.

S.23, the Copyright and Marriage Equality Act, would change language around “widow” and “widower” to be inclusive of married same-sex couples and allow the transfer of copyrights to a surviving same-sex spouse.

Sen. Al Franken is a co-sponsor.

S.302, the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015, would create a Special Enjoy at the State Department to monitor and advocate for the right of LGBT people abroad.

Sen. Al Franken is a co-sponsor.

S.753, the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act would ensure that states do not deny married same-sex couples access to each others’ Social Security benefits even if the state does not recognize the marriage.

Sen. Al Franken is a co-sponsor.

S.262, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, would prevent anti-LGBT discrimination in services for homeless youth. It passed the Senate in late April with Sens. Franken and Klobuchar voting for it. Franken and Klobuchar are also co-sponsors.

S.773, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2015, is named after a college student who took his own life after anti-LGBT harassment and bullying. The bill would direct the Department of Education to provide grants and reporting to reduce harassment at colleges and universities, including anti-LGBT harassment.

Sen. Al Franken is a co-sponsor.

S.29, the Respect for Marriage Act, would repeal the remaining provisions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. It would ensure that same-sex marriages remain valid when couples move to a jurisdiction that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and it changes language that defines “spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are co-sponsors.

S.590, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, would work to combat sexual violence on college and university campuses, in part by developing a training through the Department of Education that includes “information on particular types of conduct that would constitute sexual violence, regardless of gender, including same-sex sexual violence.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a co-sponsor.

U.S. House of Representatives

H.R.1404, the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act would ensure that states do not deny married same-sex couples access to each others’ Social Security benefits even if the state does not recognize the marriage.

Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz are co-sponsors.

H.R.197, the Respect for Marriage Act, would repeal the remaining provisions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. It would ensure that same-sex marriages remain valid when couples move to a jurisdiction that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and it changes language that defines “spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, and Tim Walz are co-sponsors.

H.R.238, the Copyright and Marriage Equality Act, would change language around “widow” and “widower” to be inclusive of married same-sex couples and allow the transfer of copyrights to a surviving same-sex spouse.

Rep. Betty McCollum is a cosponsor.

H.R.1598, the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, changes the definition of “spouse” to include married same-sex couples, and authorizes the Department of Veteran Affairs to recognize same-sex marriage even if the jurisdiction the VA operates in does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Rep. Tim Walz is a co-sponsor.

H.R.2025, the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act of 2015, would close loopholes in Social Security and Medicare that affect married same-sex couples.

Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are co-sponsors.

H.Con.Res.36, the Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution of 2015, is a resolution condemning conversion therapy efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are co-sponsors.

H.R.846, the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2015, would prevent discrimination against LGBT students in public schools, and beefs up federal anti-bullying laws as they relate to LGBT students.

Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, and Tim Walz are co-sponsors.

H.Con.Res.38, the Supporting the goals and ideals of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) National Day of Silence Resolution, would honor the National Day of Silence.

Rep. Betty McCollum is a co-sponsor.

H.Res.208, the Equality for All Resolution of 2015, “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are valuable, contributing members of society who deserve equal treatment under the law” and encourages states to enact non-discrimination laws.

Rep. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are co-sponsors.

H.R.590, the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015, would create a Special Enjoy at the State Department to monitor and advocate for the right of LGBT people abroad.

Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are co-sponsors.

H.R.915, the Voices for Veterans Act, would expand the membership of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans to include veterans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, and Tim Walz are co-sponsors.

H.R.258, the Half in Ten Act of 2015, would create a Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Poverty which would look at “reducing the racial, ethnic, age, gender, and sexual orientation or sexual identity based disparities in the rates of poverty”

Rep. Keith Ellison is a co-sponsor.

H.R.1933, the End Racial Profiling Act of 2015, would work to eliminate racial profiling, and expands police profiling to include “the practice of a law enforcement agent or agency relying, to any degree, on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation in selecting which individual to subject to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities or in deciding upon the scope and substance of law enforcement activity following the initial investigatory procedure.”

Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are co-sponsors.

H.R.1161, the American Civil Rights Cities Act, would designate annual American Civil Rights Cities based on “contributions of the city to protect civil rights by preventing discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or disability; and efforts by the city to highlight the struggle of the United States to secure civil rights and liberties through preservation and celebration, including the establishment of historical organizations or museums and recognition of civil rights leaders.”

Rep. Keith Ellison is a co-sponsor.

H.R.1779, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015, would prevent anti-LGBT discrimination in services for homeless youth.

Rep. Tim Walz is a co-sponsor.

H.R.1706, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2015, would enact comprehensive sexual health education including topics such as “the prevention of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, through abstinence and contraception; gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation; and protection from dating violence, sexual assault, bullying, and harassment” and ensures that curricula “are gender and gender identity-sensitive, emphasizing the importance of equality and the social environment for achieving sexual and reproductive health and overall well-being.”

Rep. Keith Ellison is a co-sponsor.

H.R.1421, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2015, is named after a college student who took his own life after anti-LGBT harassment and bullying. The bill would direct the Department of Education to provide grants and reporting to reduce harassment at colleges and universities, including anti-LGBT harassment.

Rep. Betty McCollum is a co-sponsor.

The Column is a community-supported non-profit news, arts, and media organization. We depend on community support to continue the work of solid LGBT-centric journalism. If you like this article, consider visiting Give MN to make a contribution today.
SHARE
Previous articleArts and Culture Calendar for May 20-26
Next articleSpotlight On the Arts: Kevin “Kaoz” Moore
Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

1 COMMENT

  1. FYI : Keith Ellison is a co-sponsor of H.R.2450 – To prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, commercial sexual orientation conversion therapy, and for other purposes.

LEAVE A REPLY