Civil Rights and Social Issues
Possibly the most elemental concept of our nation is that of equal protection under the law and freedom from discrimination.
The civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s brought about profound change and made our nation a better, more just place. Today, while our causes may have expanded, the fight continues. As a nation, we must always strive to protect civil rights and as long as I remain in Congress, I will work tirelessly to do just that.
The debate over the legal definition of marriage is a very emotional one and people of good conscience often disagree on the appropriate role of government in this matter. I have heard from southern Minnesotans who hold beliefs on all sides of this issue, and I respect the sincerity and good faith of each and every one of them whether or not I share their opinion.
According to current law, states may decide whether or not they will recognize or perform same-sex marriages. Many states have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman, while others allow same-sex marriages or civil unions. As you may know, the Supreme Court recently declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Section 3 used specific language to ensure that only heterosexual couples would receive recognition from the federal government. The federal government will now recognize same-sex marriages from states that have already passed legislation legalizing these marriages.
I am a strong supporter of marriage equality and legislation that provides civil rights protections for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. No one should be discriminated against because of who they love.
As a former teacher at Mankato West High School, I know that bullying is a serious problem in our schools and steps must be taken to eliminate it. No student deserves to feel ashamed or embarrassed about who they are and we must ensure that our children attend schools where they can concentrate on learning without being teased or harassed by others.
I strongly support the prevention of bullying and the work many organizations do to eliminate it. I have supported legislation such as H.R. 1652, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prevent any school program that receives federal funding from discriminating against students based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation. I am a co-sponsor of this legislation because I feel every student deserves to learn in a safe environment.
As technology evolves we must continue to safeguard our online activity from public scrutiny and private exploitation. As a proponent of civil rights, I understand the strong argument made for stronger privacy laws.
We must also remain vigilant to protect our nation from terrorists and those who wish to do us harm. Cyber security is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. Our entire critical infrastructure is in some way tied to cyber networks, including our financial institutions, power grids, or air traffic control systems. However, this increased interconnectivity increases the risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. Cyber-attacks have increased significantly over the last decade, with thousands of reported incidents of theft and compromised sensitive information from both government and private sector networks.
An effective response to cyber-attacks will require coordination among intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and private owners of critical cyber infrastructure. However, it is also imperative that we not sacrifice citizens’ privacy and civil liberties. I will continue to fight for measures that allow us to find the proper balance between national security and personal privacy.
More on Civil Rights and Social Issues
Washington, DC [6/26/15] – Today, Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges:
“I've always believed in marriage equality and applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling. Today’s decision makes clear that our LGBT brothers and sisters are entitled to the same rights as the rest of us; that the pursuit of happiness cannot be limited because of who you love. Yes, today is a landmark day in our nation’s history and I could not be more proud.”
Women in Minnesota Earn Only 80 Cents for Every Dollar Earned by Men
Washington, D.C. [4/14/15] – Today, as we mark Equal Pay Day on April 14, Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) stated that more needs to be done to close the wage gap that still exists between women and men – including passage of the critical Paycheck Fairness Act. Equal Pay Day acknowledges that it took an additional three-plus months into 2015 for women’s wages to finally catch up to wages earned by men in 2014.
According to statistics, between four and seven children die every day in the United States due to child abuse and neglect – one of the worst records of industrialized nations
Women in Southern Minnesota Earn Only 78 Cents for Every Dollar Earned by Men
Washington, D.C. [4/8/14] – Today, as we mark Equal Pay Day on April 8, Representative Walz stated that more needs to be done to close the wage gap that still exists between women and men – including passage of the critical Paycheck Fairness Act. Equal Pay Day symbolizes when, more than three months into 2014, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in 2013 alone.
Washington, DC [1/17/14] – Today, Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after President Obama announced new measures to increase the balance between national security and personal privacy.
Washington, DC [11/20/13] – Today, Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) introduced the bipartisan Protecting the Freedoms and Benefits for All Veterans Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Walz legislation would correct an injustice for LGBT veterans and their families to ensure that they receive equal treatment for equal service.