Over and over again, we have heard about the supposed demise of the Religious Right and how the Republican Party will stop focusing on issues like LGBT equality and abortion rights, especially in the age of Donald Trump.
As Ari noted last week, these claims come at a time when women’s “access to birth control is still a matter of public debate and gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals can still face discrimination across wide swaths of our country in the workplace, in housing, and even when attempting to access basic services.”
Trump, the candidate hailed by some pundits for minimizing such social issues, just put out a list of anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, ultraconservative jurists he would pick from when choosing his Supreme Court nominees.
The release of the list comes after Trump has made repeated vows to use the judicial nomination process to challenge the Roe v. Wade and Obergefell rulings, the landmark decisions on abortion and marriage equality, respectively.
Indeed, anyone paying attention to the actions of House Republicans over the last few days can see that the party is still committed to undermining LGBT rights.
“During debate on a military spending bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to nullify a provision in a separate bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that the House passed late Wednesday,” Jennifer Bendery of the Huffington Post writes today. “The provision opens the door to government contractors citing religious liberty as grounds for firing or harassing employees who are LGBT.”
The vote was 213-212. President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., had offered an amendment to a spending bill that would have prohibited using taxpayer dollars to violate the order.
The vote for Maloney’s amendment peaked at 217, one short of the majority needed for passage, before it began a slow, sporadic decline. Members of the Republican whip team, whose job is to round up needed votes, were stalking the House chamber’s aisles where GOP lawmakers seat, openly pleading for support.
“Need two more votes,” Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., one of the GOP whips, said loudly as he prowled among Republicans.
Russell was the same congressman who introduced the anti-LGBT amendment that, according to the Advocate, allows groups “doing business with the U.S. government to fire or punish any employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity” under the guise of religious freedom.
Also this week, Oklahoma Republican lawmakers passed “a bill that would make it a felony to perform abortions” and Texas Republicans expanded their already firm opposition to LGBT rights.
But remember, the culture wars are dead!
House Democrats shout “shame” at Republican colleagues after a vote on an LGBT amendment https://t.co/JvMdaKSypk
— POLITICO (@politico) May 19, 2016