A Vice-Chair and founding member of the House Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equality Caucus, and the first from New York’s congressional delegation to openly support marriage equality, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-12) has been an original co-sponsor of every major piece of LGBT civil rights legislation for the last twenty-plus years. He personally authored the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the Father Mychal Judge Act, and the Equal Access to Social Security Act, marking his place as a central architect of LGBT legislative strategy in Congress. He led the fight in the House against the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment and continues to oppose anti-gay efforts as they emerge in Congress. Additionally, Rep. Nadler authored and led the Congressional amicus briefs in the two most significant marriage equality-related cases to go to the Supreme Court—both Windsor and Obergefell—and procured the first-ever non-AIDS related House appropriation for a LGBT organization -- New York’s LGBT Center. He was also one of only six members of the House Democratic Caucus to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act when it failed to protect members of the transgender community. Former Representative Barney Frank has praised Rep. Nadler’s record, saying: "Jerry Nadler has been a vigorous, unyielding, active supporter of fairness for gay men and lesbians on every relevant issue since he came to Congress."
"Jerry Nadler is at the forefront of the movement to protect reproductive freedom, fighting every day against anti-choice leaders in Congress." -- Kate Michaelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America
Congressman Nadler has played a significant role in the fight for women’s rights, serving as a central figure in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the author of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. In recognition of his leadership in the area of equal pay, Rep. Nadler was invited to join President Obama at the White House for the signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Representative Nadler is nationally recognized as a staunch defender of women’s health, including a woman’s constitutional right to access an abortion. As a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee and a leader in the House Pro-Choice Caucus, he has often taken a central role in standing up to conservative attacks against every American’s right to make personal decisions about reproductive health, including devising the strategy to defeat countless anti-choice bills and carrying the movement’s signature piece of legislation -- the Freedom of Choice Act. Because of his strong voice defending such rights, in 2015 Rep. Nadler was named by Leader Nancy Pelosi as one of six Democratic Members (and the only male Member) chosen to serve on the Republicans’ Select Committee shamefully set up to attack women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood, which provides lifesaving reproductive health services to millions of women and families across the country.
Rep. Nadler has also been a life-long advocate for the differently-abled, shepherding the Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration Act of 2007 through the House.
Even early in his career in the State Assembly, Rep. Nadler was a major civil rights voice. He passed the first bills protecting People with AIDS (PWAs) from discrimination and served as a key women’s rights advocate, garnering the New York State Chapter of the National Organization for Women’s "Legislator of the Year" Award, the first and one of only two men to ever receive this honor.