In 1975, Congressman Waxman helped introduce one of the very first gay and lesbian civil rights bills considered by Congress. That bill, the Civil Rights Amendment of 1975, would have banned discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation, and is the basis for the Employee Non Discrimination Act today. As a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, he continues to do all he can to fight for the LGBT community and has cosponsored a number of bills to advance LGBT equality.
- H.R. 1116, the Respect for Marriage Act, would repeal Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between “one man and one woman as husband and wife” for the purposes of federal law.
- H.R. 1397, the Employment Non Discrimination Act, would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
- H.R. 3485, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, would require that all federal employees and their domestic partners be entitled to collect the same benefits available to married federal employees and their spouses.
- H.R. 1537, the Uniting American Families Act, would permit U.S. citizens and green card holders to sponsor permanent partners for permanent resident status according to the same rules that apply to spouses.
- H.R. 998, the Student Non Discrimination Act, would prohibit harassment or discrimination against students on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity in any federally-assisted educational program, and H.R. 1648, the Safe Schools Improvement Act would protect vulnerable youth populations, specifically gay and lesbian students, from ridicule and bullying by requiring elementary and secondary schools to establish bullying and harassment prevention programs.
In 1982, in the face the Reagan Administration’s failure to address the growing AIDS crisis, Congressman Waxman convened the first congressional hearings to investigate the epidemic and pressed for additional federal dollars for research, treatment, and prevention. Representative Waxman was the lead author of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 1990, which provided funding for health care and support services for more than half a million low-income people with HIV/AIDS in the United States. He was instrumental in getting the law reauthorized in 2006 and 2009 and continues to lead congressional efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and abroad.