Kyrsten Sinema

Remarks at 2015 HRC Gala - March 14, 2015

Kyrsten Sinema
March 14, 2015— Phoenix, Arizona
2015 HRC Gala
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You guys are so sweet, all those people standing work for me. Thanks guys. Raises for everyone! Just kidding, I work for the federal government. Raises for no one.

Wow, you all look fabulous. I am so excited to be here. Not because it’s HRC, I’m just so excited to be home in Arizona. It’s wonderful.

Many of you probably know this but we saved the government yesterday. Don’t get too excited it’s only for 6 days. But I’m so glad we did, because all night last night I was like, “no seriously guys, we need to solve this problem, I have an HRC gala to get to.”

So we fixed it last night, I got on the plane this morning, I was just so excited to come home. And when I got to the Airport, the TSA guy was like “you can’t take that hummus on the plane,” and I was like “no, no, no dude, I voted yes”. I voted yes on that bill. But he still took the hummus. Six days from now I’m getting that hummus back, just watch.

You all look so amazing. Everyone is so beautiful. You can tell I’ve been in D.C. for a week, because in D.C. they think that navy is like a fashion forward choice. You all just look so beautiful. I’m so glad to be here with all of you this evening.

Let me start by just saying congratulations to all of tonight’s honorees. You guys rock. I love coming to the HRC gala because you can talk about social policy but also slip right into fashion talk and it’s totally okay.

So a lot of you probably remember that when I was at the dinner in 2013, I wore pink that night too, that was a good night. Anyways, when I was here in 2013, I got to stand on this stage and talk about how far we’ve come, but how much work we still had left to do. I’m so happy to say that all we do is win. Right? It’s awesome.

Who would have thought that just a year and a half ago, that we would be at this dinner celebrating the fact that all of you can get married? [inaudible] the pressure’s on you two, right there. Katie’s really excited now. What an incredible victory. Marriage equality, in Arizona! Right? It’s exciting, we beat Mississippi. Every time we beat them it’s a victory.

Sorry if you’re from Mississippi, no for real, sorry. No it’s okay, they’re nice, and they’re nice. It’s a nice place, they have water or something. Anyways, marriage equality, hurray!

I was hoping I could come tonight and say hurray we won everything! But we still have some work to do. So my congressional update is to tell you about the work that’s left to do, on the fight for equality. I’m not going to talk about the work we have left to do for the rest of the country, because we don’t have all night people. Right? And you don’t have enough wine.

So I’m going to skip the part about the crazy dysfunction, and the inability to run the government in a fashion that would be fit of a major country. I’m going to skip that part, and just talk about what we have to do for equality, because we still have work to do.

So first, we have got to pass an employee nondiscrimination act in this country. It is absolutely ridiculous that in 23 states in this country, including right here in Arizona, you can be fired, refused to be promoted, refused to be hired, or even demoted for being lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgendered.

I don’t know why anyone would get rid of someone who is LGBT, because clearly, it’s superior, no offense straight people. No, no, no we like you, can’t help it! But in 23 states it happens. And right here in Arizona, even after individuals who are in loving, gay relationships, have a right to get married, if they take that wedding photo to work and put it on their desk, they could still get fired. There’s something wrong with that.

So in Congress, we’re reintroducing legislation to pass employee nondiscrimination act that would be across this entire country. Now it would help if we had a better congress to like get it done and stuff, so that’s totally up to y’all. This district is fine though, we’re good, just hold on to here.

So, I’m a co-chair of the equality caucus, we have six members of the US congress who are openly gay or bisexual. So our caucus is not just made up of those who are out, but also our allies. So we expect to introduce a bipartisan bill again, that would pass employee non-discrimination across this country. And when that happens, when we introduce that bill, we will be asking you to reach out to your member of congress if it’s not me. Because not everyone can, I know I’m sorry. You can move if you want to though. The registration deadline isn’t until October 16th.

If you happen to live in a different district, I’m sorry. You can reach out to your member of congress and ask him or her to support the employee non-discrimination act. If you’re not sure who your member of congress is, just go to, and sign up for the newsletter, because they’ll tell you, and they’ll also tell you what to do, just click and do what they say, it’s easy, and you give some money, it’s no problem. Right, exactly, it’s easy.

Aright, so we’ve gotten through ENDA, that’s still some work to do, but I’ve got some good news to report from this last week, that doesn’t involve Homeland Security, the good news is just this week, the Department of Labor announced some new regulations and rules. And they’re good ones. They announced that the Family Medical Leave Act will now apply to all married families throughout the country. Even if that married family is living in a state that doesn’t yet recognize their marriage.

So from now until June, when the court is going to help take care of this whole thing once and for all. I know, that’s going to be awesome, there’s going to be a lot of partying in June. We’re going to be like, sorry Scalia, we win! From now until June, every family in the country will get access to Family Medical Leave Act. So they can take time off to care for a sick loved one, or partner, or care for a new baby. For those of you who are brave enough to do that.

So that’s really great news, that’s a great victory that we had. I do think we’re going to see a big victory this summer. I do think we’re going to see a great victory in June, when we have marriage equality all across the country. But even as we’re moving forward and advancing rights of LGBT people all across the country, there’s still work to do all across this world. And that’s why we introduced the bill called the International Human Rights Act of 2015. Because we’re taking our fight for equality, overseas.

As we know, there are brothers and sisters in the LGBT community in other countries, who are facing not just discrimination, but sometimes, punishment and even death, because of who they are. Our legislation would require the federal government to monitor human rights abuses, and to report them and assure that the President and the State Department not only know about these abuses, but take action to protect folks in other countries to the ability and the extend that our law allows us to do.

As we are moving forward in our right for equality, we have to remember that the folks who are just like all of us in other countries, have an even tougher road ahead of them, than the road that we have in front of us. So our work in congress will be to continue to highlight that and push it, and continue to protect those LGBT individuals all around the world.

So we’ve won a lot. We still have a lot of work left to do. And so my pledge to all of you is that I’ll continue to do all of that work in congress, as long as you let me stay there. So thank you for allowing me to be here with you tonight, it’s huge thanks to the people in this room that I even get to do this job, and wear this dress, so thank you. Because I was like, I’ve got to get on a plane, and get to HRC, plus that dress. Right? So here I am.

So, I’m just so grateful to be in this fight with each and every one of you. So let’s go and win it all! Thanks you guys!

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