It’s no secret that the vast majority of the Republican party opposes equality for the LGBT community. While there’s been some evolution on this issue, many within the GOP are still so beholden to the far-right base to win primary elections that they frequently continue to embrace this discriminatory bigotry to appease some of the most ignorant among us.
Yet another great example of this was seen today in the House, where Republicans used some shady maneuvering to defeat an amendment that would have continued protections put in place by President Obama that prevented members of the LGBT community from being discriminated against by federal contractors.
As reported by Talking Points Memo:
The procedural maneuvering is a little complicated but here’s the gist: Late Wednesday, the House had passed defense legislation which included language that undermines an executive order from President Obama that prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) then offered an amendment that would have reversed the anti-LGBT provision in the defense bill.
That’s when things got interesting.
Initially, it looked like Maloney’s amendment would pass in a Thursday morning vote. At the end of the two minutes allotted to members for casting votes, there were 217 votes in favor of the amendment, with 206 votes against.
But Republicans held the vote open for about another six minutes, and slowly a handful of the “yea” votes from Republicans switched to “nea.”
As the vote remained open, shouts of “Regular order!” could be heard on the House floor. And as Republicans came closer to defeating the bill, people began chanting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
Shortly after there were enough votes to defeat the amendment, the voting was closed, and the amendment ultimately failed 213-212.
To put it in another way, House Republican leadership kept the vote open just long enough to have a few Republicans switch their votes at the last second from “yea” to “nea” in order to defeat the amendment by one vote.
However, that’s not the entire story. Apparently the Republicans who switched their votes didn’t even walk up to the desk to do so, as has been standard protocol.
“I saw no one come to the desk to change their vote,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said. “Not one of those members who apparently changed their vote because it kept changing on the board – came to this well and had the courage to change from green to red, or red to green. How is that possible?”
While they don’t technically have to walk up to the desk, it’s a common practice in the House to do so if you’re switching your vote on something. Call it the, “I’m not too much of a coward to let people know I’m switching my vote” move. So the fact that apparently none of the Republicans who switched their vote had the courage to do so in front of the rest of the House shows how spineless these people truly are.
Naturally, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan played dumb about the whole ordeal, saying he didn’t “know the answer” when he was asked about these Republicans changing their votes on the amendment.
Hoyer then accused Republicans of initially voting “yea” because they assumed the amendment would fail. Once they realized the amendment would pass, they kept voting open for six extra minutes until enough Republicans could switch their vote, ultimately leading to a one vote defeat.
Rep. Maloney had plenty to say after his amendment was defeated.
“In the past day, House Republicans have gone out of their way to rig votes and block bills that prevent discrimination against LGBT people,” Maloney said. “When they break their our own rules to make sure taxpayer dollars can go to folks who discriminate, they showed who they truly are – bigots and cowards.”
Couldn’t have said it any better myself.
It really is unbelievable to think, in 2016, we’re still having a “debate” over whether or not someone can be discriminated against based on who they love. It’s absolutely and completely absurd. Imagine for a moment the outrage we would see in this country if your employer could fire you for being in an interracial marriage, having a child out-of-wedlock or getting a divorce. But they can’t, because doing so would be completely illegal.
However, it’s still legal in many places for someone to be fired for simply being a member of the LGBT community.
It’s stunts like this that should wake up rational people all over this country to get their asses out to vote this November. Because if we don’t, all we’re doing is empowering Republicans to continue their long and cowardly tradition of supporting ignorance and bigotry.