WASHINGTON (AP) — The House reversed itself late Wednesday and approved a measure aimed at upholding an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors.
More than 40 Republicans helped Democrats power the gay rights measure over the opposition of GOP conservatives who dominate the chamber.
Conservatives did prevail in a separate vote designed to make sure federal funding isn’t taken away from the state of North Carolina over its controversial bathroom law for transgender people.
Wednesday night’s 223-195 tally reverses a vote last week on the gay rights measure. Then, GOP leaders twisted arms to defeat the legislation, causing several supporters to switch their vote, leading Democrats to erupt in protest.
Openly gay New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney returned to attach the measure to a funding bill for the Energy Department.
This time, GOP leaders let members vote as they wished; about a dozen Republicans, including several from California, rethought their opposition and Maloney’s amendment made it through fairly easily.
It would prohibit agencies funded by the bill to award taxpayer dollars to federal contractors that violate President Barack Obama’s executive order barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“It says you do not take taxpayer dollars and fire people just for being gay,” Maloney said.
Maloney said last week’s vote “snatched discrimination from the jaws of equality.”
Earlier, the House voted 227-192 to block several federal agencies from retaliating against North Carolina over its law requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of their original sex.