HRC Blog

HRC Statement on Nomination of Tom Perez for Labor Secretary

Today President Obama announced Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez as his nominee to be the next Secretary of Labor.  Perez currently leads Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and oversaw implementation of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from bias-motivated violence.

“The President made a strong choice for the next labor secretary by nominating Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “Perez has been a longtime advocate for LGBT equality.  As assistant attorney general, he has worked to protect the community from hate crimes and has testified before Congress on the importance of passing legislation protecting LGBT individuals from workplace discrimination.  We hope the senate moves forward in a bipartisan manner and without delay to confirm Perez as the next labor secretary.”

Since the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act, Perez’s Civil Right Division, along with the Community Relations Service and FBI, have conducted dozens of trainings on the law across the country, including the states that lack state-based hate crimes protections.  The Division has also worked to ensure that schools are complying with their Title IX obligations to protect LGBT and gender non-conforming youth from harassment and discrimination based on sex.  In 2009, Perez provided senate committee testimony supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect LGBT people from employment discrimination.

“As a longtime advocate for the LGBT community, we look forward to the confirmation of Tom Perez,” continued Griffin.  “We also thank former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis for her leadership and advocacy in support of LGBT equality, including ensuring that same-sex parents have equal access to leave in order to care for their children under the Family and Medical Leave Act.”

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