The cornerstone of Democrat principles is the a belief in equality and the protection of civil rights and liberties. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.
The bill was called for by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963, in which he asked for legislation “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments,” as well as “greater protection for the right to vote.”
After Kennedy’s assassination Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and the Democratically led Senate and House Passed the historic Law. In calling for its passage Johnson noted, “No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.”
While this law has long been in place to protect Americans from discrimination, application and enforcement of these societal values and standards is a continual struggle. In Broward County, Democrats understand that there are strides to be made to ensure our fellow citizens are afforded the same rights, freedoms, and protections of laws free of discrimination.
As a Member of Congress, I believe that we must carry in our hearts the resolve to strive for a nation without violence – where all people, regardless of race, religion, or creed – may live together free from the burdens of persecution and hate.
We continue to see society progress to expand Civil Rights Protections for groups that have long endured discrimination. Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions made in June of 2013 affirmed civil rights for many LGBT couples. The Court ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and allowed same-sex marriages in California, by declining to decide a case from that State. In Florida, same sex marriage is still against the law, and it is still legal to fire someone or deny them access to housing or public accommodations because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Many same sex couples are denied domestic partnership benefits, and LGBT youth continue to endure the effects of discrimination and bullying. Democrats are committed to protecting and enforcing the civil rights of the LGBT community.
Criminal Justice System
The Democratic Party recognizes the racial disparity in the implementation of the criminal justice system in Broward County and across our Nation. The judicial system must apply laws equally and sensibly across all ethnic and class groups. The right of criminal defendants to be represented by an attorney should provide for competent and adequate representation. The U.S. criminal justice system is intended to protect both the the victims and defendants through speedy and a fair trial process that seeks equitable justice through prudent application.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Digital Rights Protections
The digital landscape we live in continues to evolve at speeds which outpace development of societal rules and legal protections. Democrats support the protections of digital rights and privacy against unwanted or illegal gathering of data and communications by private entities or the government without proper permissions or warrants. Democrats support net neutrality and the principles of an open internet to ensure equal and fair access to content.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Broward County Human Rights Section
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Civil Rights Digital Library
American Civil Liberties Union
ACLU of Florida
JFK Library: Civil Rights
It Gets Better Project