House Descends Into Chaos As Republicans Whip Up Votes For LGBT Discrimination


A chaotic scene unfolded on the floor of the U.S. House on Thursday as a measure to ensure federal contractors can’t discriminate against LGBT people was defeated by a single vote.

It initially appeared that the measure — an amendment to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies bill that would’ve narrowed a “religious liberty” provision allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees — had enough support to pass. But Republican leaders persuaded a handful of members to switch from yay to nay, which resulted in the LGBT protection ultimately being defeated by a single vote.

House GOP Refuses To Budge On Anti-LGBT Amendment In Defense Budget BillLGBT by CREDIT: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki Republican leaders in Congress have quashed a bipartisan attempt to remove the so…thinkprogress.orgAs you can see in the clip below, Democrats could be heard booing and chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as seven Republicans changed their votes.

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Following the fiasco, the author of the amendment, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), released a statement saying Republicans “literally snatched discrimination from the jaws of equality.”


“In the past day, House Republicans have gone out of their way to rig votes and block bills that prevent discrimination against LGBT people,” he added. “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.”

Maloney, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and the first openly gay member of Congress from New York, also sounded off on Twitter:

House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement saying, “House Republicans are so committed to discriminating against LGBT Americans, that they broke regular order to force their Members to reverse their votes and support Republicans’ bigotry.”


“Evidently Speaker Ryan’s promises of regular order mean nothing, when regular order means a majority of the House standing up to protect LGBT Americans from bigotry,” she added. “House Republicans’ outrageous and cowardly actions today utterly expose the reality of their hateful agenda. The American people will not forget how hard Republicans worked to target LGBT Americans for discrimination.”

One of Pelosi’s California colleagues, Rep. Jackie Speier, compared the tactics employed House Republicans to what Soviet leadership would’ve done.

Asked about whether Republican leadership indeed pressured members to change their votes, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) pleaded ignorance, according to a report published by The Hill.


“I don’t know the answer. I don’t even know,” Ryan said. “This is federalism; the states should do this. The federal government shouldn’t stick its nose in its business.”

Maloney’s amendment was a response to an amendment Republicans attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) gutting protections President Obama had extended to LGBT employees of federal contractors. That bill passed the House on a party-line vote Wednesday night, but the White House has indicated it would veto the NDAA as it’s currently written in part because of its endorsement of discrimination.

“This Administration is committed to promoting equal employment opportunities for all Americans regardless of who they are or who they love while at the same time preserving longstanding safeguards in the law for religious liberty, including the religious exemption codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” the Obama administration’s statement said.