HRC Blog

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley’s Stellar Record on LGBT Rights

Senator Jeff MerkleyYesterday, Oregonians learned who would challenge U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the fall. But even before the Republican primary votes were tallied, the choice for the November election was clear. Merkley has been a champion for equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.  Merkley is a vocal supporter of marriage equality, workplace fairness, and other key issues affecting LGBT Oregonians. 

As the lead sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), Merkley led the successful Senate passage of the bill in November 2013.  He worked closely with Democrats like Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), but also reached across the aisle to work with Republicans Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Senators Merkley’s leadership resulted in a strong bipartisan vote, with 10 Republicans Senators joining every Democratic Senator in supporting the bill, which bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.  

Merkley honed his skills steering tough legislation in the Oregon legislature, and immediately put them to use upon arriving in the nation’s capital.  In just his first term, Senator Merkley also played key roles in the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Protection Act, and overturning the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy allowing gay service members to serve openly and honestly. 

Merkley displays his commitment to fundamental fairness through actions, not sound bites. In a single term, Senator Jeff Merkley’s has become a true leader in elevating issues of equality from discussion to action.

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Jeff Merkley for Oregon.
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