Joe Lieberman to retire in 2012

January 20, 2011

US Senator Joe Lieberman announced he will not run for re-election when his term is up in 2012. Mr. Lieberman recently made headlines by championing the senate bill to repeal the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law signed by President Clinton in 1993 that codified into law discrimination against gay and lesbian personnel in the US military. But Senator Lieberman has a mixed record on gay rights.

Senator Lieberman opposed “gay marriages” and voted in favor of the 1996 so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” which then-President Clinton signed into law, and which remains in effect today, resulting in discrimination against married gay and lesbian couples at the federal level. This law also permits states to refuse to recognize legal marriages between people of the same sex performed in other states.

Senator Lieberman did not support the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” (ENDA), which would have prevented job discrimination against gay and lesbian people nationwide. Current law in many states permits gay and lesbian people to be fired simply because they are gay. Vermont outlawed this kind of discrimination in 1992.

On the other hand, Senator Lieberman supported expanding the federal “Hate Crimes” law to include gender, sexual orientation, and disability.

Senator Lieberman ran as an independent in 2006 after losing the Democratic Party primary. He has championed bills allowing government spying on citizens, voiced his outrage over Wikileaks and attempted to curtail the freedom of the press.