A year ago last night, I made a promise to you. I stood on the stage at our election night party and I said:
“I won’t just be your Senator, I will also be your champion.”
Every day that I’m in the United States Senate, I think about those words from my election night speech.
Yesterday, I gave a speech on the floor of the Senate about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – legislation that would finally protect LGBT Americans from discrimination in the workplace.
Equal marriage is now the law in 14 states. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have put in place laws to protect against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the Supreme Court has rejected the Defense of Marriage Act.
For many years, Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman Barney Frank led the fight in Congress to pass ENDA. I thought of them, and thought about how many of my friends and neighbors, how many people across this country, had worked so hard for this moment.
I felt a deep joy to be on the floor of the Senate today to hear the roll call and the bill finally pass. I thought to myself: We’re one step closer to a country where equal means equal.
Now we turn to the House Republicans. They seem ready to stop the bill in its tracks – to continue their fight against the promises of equality that define our country, to resist the will of the American people. If they resist, I’m ready to fight. We are not going back.
When I said I wanted to be your champion a year ago, I meant a champion for ALL of us. Students trying to get an education without going broke. Seniors trying to live with dignity on their Social Security benefits. Parents trying to make ends meet on a level playing field. And every American trying to work without fear of losing their job over who they are and who they love.
To everyone who shared your hopes and dreams with me during the campaign and put your faith in my ability to fight for you, know this: it’s been a year, but I’m still ready to fight.
Whether that means standing up to extreme Republicans in the House or demanding accountability for big banks that break the rules, I’m still ready to fight.
I’m still ready to fight because I believe as strongly as ever that when we fight, we can win.
Thank you for continuing to be a part of this. You have always had my back, and I will always have yours.