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Al Franken on Civil Rights

DFL Jr Senator (MN)


Apologized for comic routines that offended women

The convention's controversies brought to a head Franken's weakness among women voters. As he won the DFL nomination, he told the delegates, "It kills me that things I said and wrote sent a message, that they can't count on me to be a champion for women, for all Minnesotans. I'm sorry for that. Because that's not who I am. I wrote a lot of jokes. Some of them weren't funny. Some of them weren't appropriate. Some of them were downright offensive. I understand that."

As the real head-to-head battle with Coleman was set to begin, all of Franken's previous writings, satirical, hysterical, whimsical or not, were now political problems that especially turned off women voters.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 75 , Sep 16, 2010

Apologizes for stigmatizing hermaphrodites & conjoined twins

On Wednesday’s segment, I falsely claimed that Sean Hannity was born a hermaphroditic conjoined twin, and that the doctor who delivered him reacted in horror. I would like to apologize to members of the intersexed and conjoined-twin communities for furthering the unjustified stigma attached to these conditions. An estimated one in 2000 people are born with atypical genitalia, which, like conjoinment, is a naturally-occurring bodily variation. I am sorry for the ill-considered joke.
Source: Press release, “Apology”, from “O’Franken Factor” show , Jun 5, 2008

Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Franken says, "Franken (D-MN)"

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill S. 47 ; vote number 13-SV019 on Feb 12, 2013

ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays.

Franken signed H.R.3017&S.1584

Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Prohibits related retaliation.

    Makes this Act inapplicable to:
  1. religious organizations; and
  2. the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces.
Source: Employment Non-Discrimination Act 09-HR3017 on Jun 24, 2009

Sponsored bill prohibiting sexual-identity discrimination.

Franken sponsored Student Non-Discrimination Act

Source: HR.998&S.555 11-S0555 on Mar 10, 2011

Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.

Franken co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
  2. Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
  3. The existence of such pay disparities depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet; and undermines women's retirement security.
  4. Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These barriers have resulted because the Equal Pay Act has not worked as Congress originally intended.
  5. The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have important and unique responsibilities to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
  6. The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
  7. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
  8. With a stronger commitment [to enforcement], increased information on wage data and more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights.
  9. Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-S0084 on Jan 23, 2013

Sponsored enforcing against anti-gay discrimination in public schools.

Franken sponsored Student Non-Discrimination Act

Congressional Summary: