Promoting Civil Liberties for All Americans


Senator Reed is dedicated to protecting the rights of Americans and promoting fairness and equal treatment under the law.

Rhode Island has a long, important tradition of tolerance and respect for others.  In keeping with that history, Senator Reed is committed to fighting discrimination, believing that no American should be discriminated against on account of race, gender, religion, identity, or sexual orientation.  

When the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prevented same-sex marriage, Senator Reed signed an amicus brief to the Court defending marriage equality and urging them to strike down the law as unconstitutional.  He also cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Senator Reed is a leader in the fight to enact the Paycheck Fairness Act, believing that everyone deserves equal pay for equal work.  He was also an original cosponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed into law in 2009.  This important legislation helps to fight wage discrimination in the workplace and promote equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender.


Key Priorities & Accomplishments

  • Reed supports the Paycheck Fairness Act that would help close the gender gap in wages by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, closing exploitation loopholes, creating strong incentives for employers, and strengthening federal outreach and enforcement efforts.
  • Senator Reed is a cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination against students in any federally-assisted education program.
  • Senator Reed is a cosponsor of ENDA, which would prohibit employers from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • To help combat harassment and discrimination of gay and lesbian students in public schools and federally-assisted education programs, Senator Reed is an original cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
  • Senator Reed supports updating the Voting Rights Act after a split Supreme Court decision drastically altered the landmark civil rights legislation that ensured Americans could exercise their fundamental right to vote free from racial discrimination.  No Americans should have their vote denied, abridged, or infringed based on their race, or for that matter, their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.  

Read more by visiting Senator Reed's Working for RI page.