Over the years, LGBTQ+ Nevadans have faced discrimination and bigotry. However, many Nevadans have also come together to create inclusive spaces for the community to feel safe and to grow, whether through the founding of Nevadans for Human Rights — the state’s first gay rights organization — in the 1970s or through our city’s inaugural PRIDE celebration in 1983.
From that first celebration to the present, Nevadans have also won hard-fought legal battles to reverse discriminatory policies, achieved important milestones like Las Vegas recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance, and secured freedoms like marriage equality across the state.
Progress relies on every American speaking up and calling out bigotry and discrimination wherever we see it. And it requires lawmakers to act and do the right thing, even when others may disagree.
At a time when attacks against the LGBTQ+ community are on the rise, we cannot stay silent. We must speak up, and we must commit ourselves to taking action.
This means continuing to defend freedoms for all Nevadans — including the freedom to marry the person you choose. Just last year, I helped pass the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act, which requires states to recognize all marriages, regardless of race, gender identity, or sexual orientation. With this law in place, marriage equality will remain the law of the land across the nation – even in states and localities that seek to tear down progress.
But we can, and we must, do more to defend the LGBTQ+ community against hate and unfair treatment.
It is appalling that some are attacking members of our LGBTQ+ community to score political points. These actions put our friends, family members, and neighbors at risk.
While Nevada has taken important steps to ensure protections for all who call our state home, at the national level, there are still no laws in place that prevent LGBTQ+ Americans from being fired from any job just because of who they love. That’s simply wrong, and it needs to change.
It’s why I’ve long supported the Equality Act, which would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Our legislation would finally make it clear that no American can be treated differently when it comes to numerous wide-ranging issues – including education, employment, and housing. No one should face discrimination just for being their authentic selves.
I won’t stop working until the Equality Act becomes the law of the land.
It’s up to all of us to remain vigilant against threats to the LGBTQ+ community, your rights, and your freedoms. As we celebrate 40 years of Pride in our city, I pledge my unwavering support and allyship as your Senator.