The most anti-gay member of Congress has been freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). As the author of his state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and civil unions, during his previous tenure as a state senator, his anti-gay fervor in Washington is not unexpected. In his first 18 months, he has authored an amendment to ban a directive that allows military chaplains to voluntarily solemnize same-sex unions, an amendment to “prohibit the use of funds to be used in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act,” and a bill to ban the use of military facilities for any same-sex unions. He also co-sponsored three measures to criticize the Obama administration for not defending the Defense of Marriage Act, to direct the Speaker of the House to defend the law instead, and to delay implementation of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal.
Six other House Republicans have each put their name on at least five anti-gay proposals, putting them just behind Huelskamp:
- Rep. W. Todd Akin (R-MO), a sixth-term Congressman who warned in 2006 that “anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived.”
- Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), a fifteenth-term Congressman who is retiring at the end of 2012 and who has previously opined that “Marriage between a man and a woman has been the foundation of human civilization for thousands of years all around the world.”
- Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a fifth-term Congressman who has cited God as his reason for supporting an anti-gay constitutional amendment and who said in May “I don’t like the secularism that’s occurring in this country one bit and I think it is incumbent upon those of us [that] stand strong, to stand very strong, in regard to that and say ‘look, [my wife] and I believe that marriage is a sacrament.’”
- Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), a first-term Congresswoman who was spokeswoman for the anti-gay constitutional amendment effort in Missouri and has compared same-sex marriage to pedophilia and letting three-year-olds drive cars.
- Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), a third-term Republican who came under fire for racially insensitive comments that associating with President Obama was like “touching a tar-baby.”
- Rep. Donald A. Manzullo (R-IL), a tenth-term Congressman who recently lost renomination after reportedly telling House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (VA) that the devout Jew was not “saved.”
Fourteen more House Republicans sponsored or co-sponsored at least four of the proposals. Just one Democrat co-sponsored any of the anti-gay measures — Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC), who co-sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment to anti-gay marriage. The other 143 anti-gay activists were all Republicans.
The House Republican leadership has also committed $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. While Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has downplayed his party’s focus on social issues, preferring to talk about jobs, it’s clear where he and his caucus are really focused.