The Republican Party has again demonstrated that it is the party of Christian extremists, hate and anti-LGBT bigotry by defeating a measure that would have barred anti-LGBT employment discrimination by federal contractors. In the world of the GOP it remains perfectly fine to fire gays solely on the basis of the sexual orientation. It's an issue that upsets me immensely since I was fired for being gay over a decade ago. The financial consequences were ruinous for me and my family and it has taken years to recover from it. Of course the House Republicans acted no differently than what we see in the Virginia General Assembly literally every year where pro-LGBT bills are killed and anti-LGBT employment discrimination remains legal in Virginia. The situation is ironic since a Republican acquaintance has been trying to convince me to come to a fundraiser for a GOP candidate running for the Lt. Governor nomination that he and his wife are hosting. He wants me simply to talk with the candidate, no monetary contribution required whatsoever. With votes like this in the House, the question is why bother. When push comes to shove, it's a strong bet that Republicans will always defer to the "family values" hate groups that set the GOP's social agenda: anti-LGBT animus, racism, and bigotry. Politico looks at the events in the House. Here are excerpts:
The House erupted in chaos Thursday morning with Democrats crying foul after Republicans hastily persuaded a few of their own to switch their votes and narrowly block an amendment intended to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.
It was an unruly scene on the floor with Democrats chanting, "Shame!" after GOP leaders barely muscled up the votes to reject, 212-213, an amendment by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) that would have effectively barred federal contractors from getting government work if they discriminate against the LGBT community.
At one point, a monitor in the House gallery showed there were 217 votes supporting the legislation, eliciting cheers of joy from Democrats who thought the measure might actually pass. But over the course of about 10 minutes, those votes suddenly dropped one by one to 212 — and the amendment failed.
A number of lawmakers from western states, who originally voted yes, changed their votes. According to a list tweeted out an hour after the vote by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office, they included: California Reps. Darrell Issa, David Valadao, Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters, and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, Rep. David Yong of Iowa and Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine. Their offices have not yet responded to a request for comment.
Maloney, the amendment's author, was furious with Republicans for how they handled the floor fight over his offering. He singled out Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in particular for criticism, saying the No. 2 House Republican personally lobbied GOP members to change their votes when it looked like Maloney's proposal would pass.
"The leader [McCarthy] went around and twisted their arms, and they voted for discrimination," Maloney said. When Maloney complained directly to McCarthy, he said the majority leader told him "to get back on your own side."
"The members who switched are going to hold a very special place in American history as the people who didn't have the guts to stand up and support the will of the House," Maloney said off the chamber floor after the vote. "They literally snatched discrimination out of the jaws of equality."
The acrimony undermined a success for Ryan earlier that day regarding his commitment to regular order. Just moments before the LGBT vote, he’d shepherded the first House vote to bar the Confederate flag from flying in mass graves at federal cemeteries.
When the votes began shifting out of the 'aye' column on Maloney's measure, booing erupted in the chamber. Almost every Democrat was on his or her feet shouting and eventually they broke out in a chant, pointing their fingers at the other side of the chamber where the Republicans sit: “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
As the amendment was being voted down, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen appeared to shake her head in disappointment. The Florida Republican has a transgender son and is one of the few Republicans who has been outspoken in advocating for the LGBT community.
After the chair closed the vote, Democrats continued shouting in anger.
“I’ve been the majority leader. I’ve been the whip,” Hoyer said on the floor after the vote as he blamed GOP leadership for pushing lawmakers to switch their votes. But he again hit the seven Republicans who changed their positions. “They will have themselves to look at tonight in the mirror and explain to themselves whether their first vote was a principled one.”
Why would I want to attend an event for anyone in a political party that engages in such bigotry? Nothing I could say could outweigh the foul dictates coming down from The Family Foundation, Virginia's leading hate group.