Press Releases

Currently showing only: Human and Civil Rights
June 1, 2012
For LGBT Americans and their families, this year’s Pride Month comes at a particularly hopeful moment for LGBT equality in America.  From support for same-sex marriage growing across the country, to this week’s federal circuit court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, to the end of the military’s discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy last year, there is a real and tangible sense that our nation is moving closer to full equality.
May 10, 2012
“I opposed this appropriations bill for several reasons, chief among them that it is not consistent with the bipartisan agreement reached in August on spending levels.  Breaking that agreement is just one more sign that this House Republican conference is simply unwilling to compromise or work with Democrats to find solutions to our challenges.
May 10, 2012
"One of the first votes I cast as a member of the Maryland State Senate in 1967 was to repeal the anti-miscegenation statute that remained Maryland law.  It was a legacy of a discriminatory history of prejudice and segregation. It was my feeling then and now that individuals have a right to choose their partners, and society must accord them that freedom.
April 17, 2012
Today, on Equal Pay Day, we pause to consider that to earn the same wages as a man in 2011, a woman would have had to work from January 1, 2011 until April 17, 2012.  It should be unacceptable in America today that women still earn only 77 cents to the dollar of a man’s wages for the same job.  This is why Democrats enacted the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 – the first piece of legislation signed by President Obama – and it’s why we continue to push for measures that will close the gender gap in wages and bring greater economic opportunities for women.  It’s also why I am proud to be a co-sponsor, along with 177 other Democratic Members of Congress, of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
March 30, 2012
Today I join in celebrating the life and legacy of César Chávez, whose co-founding and leadership of the United Farm Workers helped raise the voices of millions of Latino agricultural workers.  He fought for their rights and stood up for the dignity of their work.  Over the course of his journey, Chávez marched, fasted, wrote, and spoke truth to power to win safe and fair working conditions, better pay, freedom from discrimination, and wider opportunities for all workers to achieve the American Dream.  As one of our civil rights giants, he continues to be a role model for young Latinos and all Americans who, when faced with adversity and wanting to improve their communities, draw strength from his example and legacy.
March 1, 2012
On March 7, 1965, our friend and esteemed colleague from Georgia, John Lewis, was among the leaders of that march. He was the leader – he and Hosea Williams. Two by two they walked, some 600 with John and Hosea at the front of the line. That day, in an extraordinary practice of nonviolence, he and other marchers were brutally beaten while trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. They were on their way to Montgomery, the state capital, to protest the murder of a young man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, who had been shot and killed while protecting his mother during a voting rights rally. And they were marching to Montgomery to say in a nonviolent way every American deserves the right to be able to register and to vote.
November 3, 2011
A year from now, millions of Americans will head to the polls to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote. Unfortunately, in states across the country, partisan measures have been adopted that would make it more difficult for nearly five million voters, particularly the poor, young people, the elderly, and minorities, to register and vote,” said Whip Hoyer. “Voter suppression has no place in our country. That’s why Democrats are sending a letter to Secretaries of State urging them to oppose these partisan efforts to hinder access to the ballot and urging them to work in a bipartisan way to ensure all Americans can exercise their constitutional right to be heard.
November 3, 2011
We are just about a year away from a pivotal election. Just as important as the choice we will make is ensuring that all who are eligible can participate in making that choice. The right to vote is fundamental to our entire system of government and the ability of every American to have his or her voice heard in Washington and in their statehouses and city halls.
November 2, 2011
 Mr. Speaker, we are a year away from an election – one that will shape the course of our nation for several years ahead. The choice we make will be pivotal, and in order to make certain that it reflects the direction our people want to take, we ought to do everything we can to ensure that all who have the right to cast a ballot can do so. Equal access to the ballot is the most fundamental right we all have as Americans. It is what preserves our democracy and instills confidence in our system of government. Some of our greatest national struggles have been over suffrage – from votes for African Americans and women to votes for the young people who risk their lives for us in uniform.
September 20, 2011
For the thousands of service men and women discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the countless others who have sacrificed their integrity all these long years, today is a day long awaited. The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was a rebuke not only to those gay and lesbian Americans who wished to serve under our flag and risk their lives for it but also to the principles of inclusion and equality that we as a nation hold dear. I was proud to help lead the effort last year to repeal this discriminatory policy once and for all. With this step, our military is surely strengthened at a time when we face great threats to our security and continued demands on our troops. Every American has a share in marking this civil rights milestone, because we all benefit from a strong and capable military that reflects our values.
August 29, 2011
Yesterday marked the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when more than a quarter million people came to our nation’s capital to demand equality for all Americans, regardless of race, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his landmark ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech. Armed with the power of nonviolence, their efforts helped end a system of racial discrimination. Let us mark this anniversary by honoring the legacy of these civil rights activists who pursued justice for all Americans and rededicate ourselves to equality and fairness. While we have come a long way in achieving racial equality since the March 48 years ago, disparities in employment and opportunity still exist today. Democrats are committed to closing that gap and promoting equality and opportunity through our Make It In America plan, an effort to create well-paying, middle-class jobs so that every American has the chance to succeed.
August 26, 2011
“Today, America marks Women’s Equality Day: the anniversary of the day women secured the right to vote through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment was only passed as a result of the work of generations of women, who struggled for a full and equal voice in our democracy...
July 26, 2011
Twenty-one years ago today, the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was proud to help write this important law and work for its passage through Congress. The ADA made our nation a world leader in the inclusion of people with disabilities, and it came about because Republicans and Democrats, disability advocates and business leaders, all realized that we gain as a nation when we help all of our people live up to their potential.
July 7, 2011
Last year, Congress voted to repeal the counterproductive and unjust policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ But despite overwhelming evidence that repeal will strengthen our military, despite strong support for repeal among our troops and the American people, despite support for repeal from military leaders like the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and despite a federal court order that the government stop enforcing DADT immediately, Republicans are still pushing to keep this shameful policy in place.
June 17, 2011
Nearly three years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger arrived at the city of Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to deliver news that the nation’s slaves were free. The announcement set off celebrations in the streets as freed slaves rejoiced. At last, the furthest reaches of the slaveholding states were feeling the effects of the abolition of slavery; and today, we celebrate that day of liberation as Juneteenth. Each year, we have the opportunity to reflect on the centuries-long struggle to achieve freedom, honor the legacy of civil rights activists who have pursued justice for all Americans, and celebrate the achievements and contributions of African-Americans throughout history. Let us pay tribute to the work and sacrifice of these Americans and recommit ourselves to ensuring freedom, equality, and opportunity for all.  
April 12, 2011
On Equal Pay Day we recognize the extra amount of time a woman must work – from January 1, 2010 to April 12, 2011 – for her wages to equal what a man could earn during 2010 alone. Today, women earn just 75% of what men earn, and the wage gap is even greater for minority women and older women. With women making a growing share of family income, this inequity is felt by families throughout the country. It is past time for this injustice to come to an end.
March 31, 2011
Today, America honors the pioneering labor leader César Chávez on what would have been his 84th birthday. Chávez spent his life fighting for the rights and dignity of Latino farmworkers and the underprivileged. He is rightly remembered as one of the greatest civil rights leaders of the 20th century. We can honor his legacy by carrying forward the principles for which he worked so hard: workers’ right to organize, fair and safe labor conditions, freedom from racial discrimination, and opportunity for all Americans.
March 24, 2011
As a lead co-sponsor of the ADA Amendments Act, I am pleased that the EEOC has issued final regulations today that will ensure all Americans with disabilities will be able to invoke the full protections provided under the ADA,” said Democratic Whip Hoyer. “The ADA Amendments Act restored the intent of the original ADA law to protect anyone with a disability, even if they take steps to mitigate their condition. The regulations issued today uphold the law and open the doors of opportunity to everyone."
March 9, 2011
Today, I attended a meeting of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which voted to intervene in litigation pertaining to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. I voted against this decision. I believe that the Administration is correct in concluding that DOMA is unconstitutional and discriminatory. There is ample precedent for the Justice Department’s decision not to defend this statute: since 1979, both Democratic and Republican Administrations have declined to defend acts of Congress on more than 50 occasions. In fact, it is rare for the House to intervene in defense of statutes that the Justice Department has declined to defend. I am disappointed in Republicans’ decision today.
March 4, 2011
The Speaker has indicated he is going to convene the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to decide whether to intervene in cases concerning the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe the Administration has correctly concluded that the statute is discriminatory and unconstitutional. I therefore will oppose intervening in cases regarding this Act.  
March 1, 2011
This month marks Women’s History Month, an opportunity to remember and celebrate generations of women who have made indelible contributions to our nation. Across all areas of society, women have made a real and lasting impact, which serves as an inspiration to all those that follow.
November 19, 2010
I am pleased that the Senate passed legislation today that would provide funding for settlement of both the Pigford and Cobell class action lawsuits – an important step toward finally correcting these blights on our Nation’s history...
October 28, 2010
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer released the following statement today in recognition of President Obama signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law one year ago:
October 12, 2010
“Today's ruling is another step toward equality for gays and lesbians in the military who serve our nation with great honor.  The ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ policy has already caused the dismissal of 13,500 servicemen and women, many with important skills and experiences that are needed to keep our military strong and our country safe..
October 8, 2010
“The promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act was to open the doors of opportunity in a country that prides itself on being the land of opportunity. Twenty years after the passage of the ADA, major advancements in technology now provide opportunities for greater accessibility – and pose new challenges - for individuals with hearing or visual impairments...