Metro Weekly

Equality California backs Sen. Dianne Feinstein in re-election bid

California's senior senator faces challenge from former State Senate President Kevin de Leon, who alleges she's too moderate

Dianne Feinstein – Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen, via Wikimedia.

California’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, is endorsing U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in her re-election bid.

Feinstein earned a 100 percent rating on Equality California’s 2017 federal Legislative Scorecard for supporting pro-LGBTQ legislation in Congress, even as the Trump administration seeks to roll back some federal protections for LGBTQ people. She has voted to include LGBTQ protections in federal hate crimes laws, repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and fought for greater federal funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. She was an original cosponsor of the Equality Act and was the lead sponsor of legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

“From her time serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with Harvey Milk to her ongoing battle to protect transgender service members and enact long overdue gun safety reform, Senator Dianne Feinstein has been a champion for LGBTQ equality and social justice,” Rick Zbur, the executive director of Equality California, said in a statement.

“Senator Feinstein stood with our community back when few others did; she fought for funding to combat the AIDS crisis when many elected officials looked away; and there’s no doubt that she will continue to serve as the fighter California’s LGBTQ community needs in Washington during these trying times,” Zbur concluded.

Feinstein thanked Equality California for its support in a statement issued by her campaign team.

“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of Equality California, a powerful advocate for LGBTQ civil rights in our state,” Feinstein said. “Together, in this campaign and in the U.S. Senate, we will continue fighting for progress and equality for the LGBTQ community in California and across the United States.”

Feinstein, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, is facing one of her toughest challenges this year from former State Senate President Kevin de León, who has galvanized the progressive wing of the Democratic Party by alleging that Feinstein is insufficiently liberal. He has also accused the incumbent senator for failing to sufficiently stand up to the Trump administration, and for favoring an incremental approach to politics, rather than pushing for radical, more sweeping changes.

In California’s “top-two” primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election. That means that, in a year when Democrats are enthusiastic to turn out to vote against the Trump administration in a Democratic-leaning state, Feinstein and de León could potentially end up advancing to the general election against one another.

With that in mind, Equality California also praised de León for his leadership as President of the State Senate, calling him an ally and praising him for “leading the way toward a more equal and more just future for our community and all Californians. Equality California also noted that it has given de León a 100% on its Legislative Scorecard every year he’s served in the State Senate.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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