In 2010, Kaine, as chair of the Democratic National Committee, took part in a three-and-a-half minute video to answer on questions on LGBTQ rights, outlining accomplishments already made under the Obama administration.
“We have a long way to go, but we’re already making progress for LGBT individuals,” Kaine says. “President Obama and congressional Democrats have already begun to address barriers to equality for LGBT Americans by guaranteeing these families the right to visit and make medical decisions for a partner in America’s hospitals, by enacting hate crimes legislation to protect LGBT Americans — to name just two significant accomplishments.”
Since his tenure as Virginia governor between 2006 and 2010, Kaine has taken action on behalf of LGBT rights. Upon taking office, Kaine signed an executive order barring anti-gay discrimination in the state workplace (the direction didn’t contain explicit protections on the basis of gender identity). His Republican successor, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell reversed the order, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, reinstated it and added protections for gender identity.
Upon election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Kaine generally hasn’t been at the forefront of initiatives advancing LGBT rights, but has rose to the occasion as needed. In the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent congressional scorecard, Kaine scored a “90” out of possible “100,” losing points for not co-sponsoring the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Kaine is an original co-sponsor of comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act. The senator also cast votes in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an amendment along the lines of the Student Non-Discrimination Act. However, he isn’t a co-sponsor of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which seeks to ban widely discredited “ex-gay” therapy nationwide by classifying it as fraud.
Kaine has signed amicus briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and state bans prohibiting same-sex marriage. More recently, Kaine signed a brief urging the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to find sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited under current law.