Friday, May 20, 2016

House Republicans Take A Stand: For Bigotry Against LGBT Families


Paul Ryan needs to understand bigotry is not wonky

Sean Patrick Maloney, a New Dem from New York's Lower Hudson Valley (parts of Orange, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties) has two functions in Congress: to slavishly serve the interests of the Wall Street banksters and to push LGBT equality; he's a gay conservative. Generally speaking, he's one of the most right wing Democrats in Congress, except where it comes to bills relating to his own sexuality. Kyrsten Sinema is even worse, but Maloney is, in general, pond scum. Wednesday night around 1am, though, he was awesome... for him. He managed to trick the tired and weary Republicans into letting him add a last minute amendment to the Veterans and Military Construction Appropriations bill the House was debating.

The Republicans could have ruled it out of order but they missed the chance and it made it onto the schedule and got voted on Thursday morning. The purpose was be to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people and the vote was such a squeaker that the GOP almost had to drag Paul Ryan into voting. (He's trying to not vote like a bigot when he can get away with it and that's part of the prerogative of being Speaker.) After holding the amendment open way after it was within the rules of the House to do and twisting several Republican arms to switch votes-- Republican southerners were running round like their wigs were on fire and the world was ending, screeching how they had to defeat Maloney's amendment-- it finally went down. But it only lost BY ONE VOTE: 212-213. Whew... contractor bigots are safe to discriminate against the gays! Steny Hoyer's office exposed the Republicans who voted NO and then weakly switched their votes when they were pressured by the extremists: Jeff Denham (CA), David Valadao (CA), Mimi Waters (CA), Darrell Issa (CA), Greg Walden (OR), David Young (IA), and Bruce Poliquin (ME).

For once there were no Democrats joining the GOP on this-- 183 Democrats voted NO... and so did 29 Republicanos, many of them in blue and purple districts where their constituents don't go for the bigotry thing the way people in Mississippi and Alabama do. These are the Republicans who voted with the Democrats and against bigotry:
Justin Amash (MI)
• Mike Coffman (CO)
Ryan Costello (PA)
• Carlos Curbelo (FL)
Charlie Dent (PA)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL)
• Bob Dold (IL)
Dan Donovan (NY)
Tom Emmer (MN)
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)
Chris Gibson (NY)
Richard Hanna (NY)
• Joe Heck (NV)
• Will Hurd (TX)
• David Jolly (FL)
• John Katko (NY)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
• Tom MacArthur (NJ)
• Martha McSally (AZ)
• Pat Meehan (PA)
• Erik Paulsen (MN)
• Tom Reed (NY)
Dave Reichert (WA)
• Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL)
Elise Stefanik (NY)
• Fred Upton (MI)
• Lee Zeldin (NY)
The bolded names are vulnerable Republican incumbents who have relatively together opponents in November capable of making bigotry into an issue. Other vulnerable Republicans were just unable to get beyond the homophobia that's been ingrained in them for so long. Long Island Congressman Peter King represents a normal, decent area of Suffolk and Nassau where people are not prone to discriminate against groups of people. King's hate-filled vote yesterday isn't something DuWayne Gregory, his progressive opponent, is likely to let go unnoticed. Gregory was an Army officer who led a platoon of soldiers and prejudice isn't something that works in the military. This morning he told us, "My son, Julian, is gay so I understand the impact of today's vote all too well. For the life of me I can not understand how an elected member of Congress would vote to allow discrimination of any worker regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation to exist."

We asked Carol Shea Porter about Frank Guinta's vote to allow discrimination and bigotry in a state, New Hampshire, where people don't go for that kind of thing. This morning she told us "Congressman Frank Guinta can add still one more shameful and dscriminatory vote to his already very long record. Forcing people who don't hate to send their tax dollars to those who practice hate at work is disgusting and immoral."

Madison Congressman Mark Pocan told his constituents yesterday that after Maloney had initially secured enough votes for passage, the "GOP leadership cajoled several of their members to switch their votes to defeat the amendment. In an unprecedented move, House Republican Leadership refused to release the names of the individuals who switched their vote." He pointed out that Paul Ryan's "image of inclusion was shattered as he, not once but twice, led his majority to deliver bigoted votes against the LGBT community in America. Apparently, Ryan thinks it’s OK to fire someone simply for who they are or who they love. The actions this week show why the GOP majority under the leadership of Ryan and Donald Trump are clearly out of touch with the majority of American people. I personally was sad to see Ryan’s leadership show its true face. I’ve always had a cordial relationship with the Speaker, but when he so easily is willing to see people be discriminated against and fired simply because of who they are shows what Paul really thinks of me and so many of his own constituents. If he thought differently, he could have stopped the actions that occurred. The GOP majority’s willingness to so openly discriminate against the LGBT community underscores why the fight for equality in America is not over. We must continue to fight to ensure everyone can go through their daily lives without facing the threat of discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Antelope Valley Congressman Steve Knight represents a normal, suburban area of L.A. and Ventura counties where people are not prone to discriminate against groups of people. Knight's hate-filled vote today isn't something Lou Vince, his progressive opponent is likely to let go unnoticed. Vince was in the U.S. Marine Corp, where prejudice isn't something that functions well. This morning he told us that Knight's "vote is absolutely disgraceful. It's un-American to allow discrimination to take place in this country anymore, especially towards our LGBT brothers and sisters. Two of my three staff members are part of the LGBT community and it is simply wrong that we don't have a federal law protecting them from discrimination. This is one of the major reasons I decided to run-- Congressman Knight is so out-of-touch with our district, he consistently votes against common-sense measures that are supported by a majority of people here. One of the very first things I plan to do once elected is to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as Congressman Knight had promised to do when he was running in 2014. This is just one of the many empty promises Congressman Knight hasn't kept. It's time to get a progressive elected."

If you want to contribute to Mark's re-election campaign, you can do it here and you can contribute to our progressive challengers like Carol Shea Porter, Lou Vince and DuWayne Gregory at the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

UPDATE: From The Lone Star State

Lamar Smith represents a central Texas district that includes parts of Austin and San Antonio, areas where homophobia and bigotry don't go over all that well. Our new friend Tom Wakely, a Berniecrat running for the seat, doesn't countenance votes like the one Smith took yesterday. "Once again the majority of House Republicans are using social wedge issues to distract from the fact that their platform has all but evaporated," he told us. "Congressman Smith is more concerned with being on the wrong side of history than the right side of his constituents." 

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At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the more common derogations uttered by those not enamoured of Texas is that "no one lives there but steers and queers - an' you ain't got no horns, boy!" Yet no place else in the USA is more firmly opposed to coming out of the closet!


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