Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Representing the 13th District of California

LGBT

Rep. Lee at No H8 Photoshoot Congresswoman Lee is a founding member and vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. She is proud to stand with 113 bipartisan members to continue the work of ensuring that every American is treated equally under the law, no matter their race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8, Congresswoman Lee welcomed marriage equality back to California by officiating same-sex weddings in front of Oakland City Hall.

Priorities:

  • Equality for Same-Sex Families: Congresswoman Lee believes that loving and committed same-sex couples should have the right to get married in every state. Congresswoman Lee strongly believes that same-sex couples should have equal opportunity to adopt and provide a loving home to children who may otherwise be left in foster care systems.
  • Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Congresswoman Lee supports legislation that would prohibit the discrimination of LGBT individuals in the workplace. She is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, HR 1755.
  • LGBT Pride Month: Congresswoman Lee is proud to be a cosponsor of H. Res 416, which recognizes the month of June as LGBT Pride Month. June is an important month in the LGBT community – this bill honors the legacy of the historic Stonewall riots, as well as the annual gay and lesbian pride parades that happen in cities around the world every June.  
  • Supporting the Goals and Ideals of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT): Congresswoman Lee has introduced legislation, H. Res 221, promoting healthcare, education, and funding efforts to support the health and wellbeing of LGBT people.
  • Real Education for Healthy Youth Act: Congresswoman Lee firmly believes that all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, should have access to potentially lifesaving health and sex education programs. That’s why she’s introduced H.R. 725, legislation that would authorize grants for comprehensive sex-education programs that are inclusive of LGBT youth. Specifically, it would require comprehensive and medically accurate sex education to cover sensitive and respectful discussions of gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, among other topics.
  • Combatting Homophobic and Transphobic Policies Around the World: Congresswoman Lee strongly opposes efforts by the governments of other nations to marginalize and persecute their LGBT citizens.

Rep. Lee Officiating a WeddingAccomplishments:

  • Military Service: Congresswoman Lee was a leading advocate for repealing the discriminatory and outdated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. This policy, which forced gay and lesbian service members to choose between serving their country and embracing their identity, dishonored the military and all the brave men and women risking their lives. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a long overdue restoration of fundamental civil liberties to our gay and lesbian service members.
  • Hate Crimes Prevention Act: Congresswoman Lee was a cosponsor of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the federal definition of hate crimes to include gender and sexual orientation. The law also increased funds for police forces investigating hate crimes.
  • Violence Against Women Act: When extremists attempted to gut protections for LGBT individuals in the Violence Against Women Act, Congresswoman Lee refused to accept their watered-down bill. Today, the Violence Against Women Act includes protections for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 
  • Discriminatory Blood Donation Policies: While U.S. hospitals face serious shortages in donated blood, the Department of Health and Human Services continues to use an outdated policy banning those classified as men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating. This prejudiced policy flies in the face of established science; the MSM ban has been denounced by the American Medical Association, the American Association of Blood Banks, and the Red Cross. In 2013, Congresswoman Lee coauthored a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on the department’s efforts to re-evaluate the MSM blood donation ban. The bipartisan letter was signed by 82 members of Congress. 
  • Founding Member and Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus: In 2008, Congresswoman Lee helped to found the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. This bipartisan caucus now totals 113 members pursuing legislation to help the LGBT community. As a vice chair of the caucus, Congresswoman Lee considers furthering equality and strengthening protections for LGBT individuals among her top priorities.

More on LGBT

Mar 18, 2014
In The News

WASHINGTON — Nearly all Senate Democrats and roughly three-quarters of House Democrats are sending a letter to President Obama calling on him to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.

Mar 4, 2014
In The News

It should be THE party of the state Democratic convention Saturday, when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom joins with Equality California in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the “Winter of Love” when gay and lesbian couples were first allowed to marry at San Francisco City Hall.

Wilson Phillips and other “surprise guests” will be on hand with Newsom at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles for the shingdig, being held during this weekend’s Democratic event there.

Mar 4, 2014
In The News

It should be THE party of the state Democratic convention Saturday, when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom joins with Equality California  in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the “Winter of Love” when gay and lesbian couples were first allowed to marry at San Francisco City Hall.

Wilson Phillips and other “surprise guests” will be on hand with Newsom at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles for the shingdig, being held during this weekend’s Democratic event there.

Feb 28, 2014
Press Release
Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement regarding the future of US relations with Uganda in light of discriminatory, anti-LGBT legislation signed into Ugandan law this week.
Dec 23, 2013
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2013
Contact: Carrie Adams (202) 225-2661

Nov 7, 2013
Press Release
Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement today upon the Senate’s passage of S.815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 64 to 32. ENDA prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Aug 2, 2013
Press Release
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on the ongoing efforts by HHS to reevaluate blood donation criteria for men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM are currently deferred from donating blood for life while other high-risk donors are not.
Jun 26, 2013
Press Release
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a founding member and vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, released the following statement today as the Supreme Court handed down their rulings in the case of United States v. Windsor, a challenge to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, a challenge to California’s Proposition 8:
Jun 26, 2013
In The News

Following Wednesday's historic U.S. Supreme Court decisions repealing parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the high court's decision on Proposition 8 effectively allowing county clerks to soon issue marriage licenses to all, elected officials in the East Bay had much to say as the LGBT community, and the region at-large, celebrated.

May 17, 2013
Press Release
Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced a House resolution recognizing the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The resolution highlights the estimated nine million Americans who identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), including the 2.5 million who are school-aged youth. The resolution also outlines the specific effects of homophobia and transphobia, including that anti-LGBT violence is the third most frequent bias crime in the United States.