I believe that all men and women are created equal, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. I oppose any attempt to limit rights of Americans through a Constitutional Amendment. As a legislator I believe it is my duty to uphold the rights and protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and amendments to the Constitution, and to extend rights to those groups who have traditionally been denied rights.
In November 2003 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court acknowledged that same-sex marriages is a fundamental piece of equality. In previous legislative sessions, I have opposed amending the Massachusetts Constitution to reverse this decision and ban same-sex marriage, and will continue to do so should this matter be raised again.
I support the Governor's proposed initiative to create an Office of Health Equity. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians face disproportionately higher rates of chronic illness and mortality than residents of the state as a whole. These populations have worse health outcomes than the majority population on a variety of key health indicators. People of color are overrepresented in key morbidity and mortality statistics, despite gains that the majority population has made in health outcomes in recent years. This inequality persists regardless of socioeconomic position or health insurance status and therefore requires a comprehensive solution that addresses more than just health care access. The Office of Health Equity is a crucial piece of the solution.
Despite federal and state law that bans discrimination in pay, wage differentials persist between women and men, and between minorities and non-minorities in the same jobs. Women who work fulltime earn 77 cent for every dollar earned by men and that number goes down to 72 cents when looking at African American women and 60 cents for Latinas. Currently there is no definition of comparable work in Massachusetts General Law. I support legislation that would address the causes of unequal pay and requires equal pay for equivalent work.
I support legislation that would make Massachusetts the 14th state to protect transgender persons. People who are transgender face widespread prejudice, yet there are currently no explicit protections under Massachusetts General Law. Gender identity and expression should be added to the state’s non-discrimination statue and added to existing hate crime laws. Boston, Cambridge and Northampton already have regulations protecting transgender persons. House bill 1722 should be passed to do the same across the Commonwealth.
I am in favor of passing legislation necessary to ensure that veterans and their same-sex spouses have access to benefits entitled to them under Massachusetts General Law regardless of their sexual orientation. I support the passage of H.3725 that will ensure military veterans have full access to their state benefits.