News (USA)

GOP response to Orlando shootings: block LGBTQ protections

Barely 48 hours after the Pulse nightclub shooting, House Republicans — who organized a very public moment of silence for the victims — swatted away legislation proposed by a gay congressman that would ensure federal contractors cannot discriminate against their workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The House Rules Committee decided in tandem with the GOP leadership that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s amendment to a Defense Department spending bill should not voted upon Tuesday, according to The Hill.

It’s the third strike for Maloney’s LGBT amendment, but the New York Democrat is not giving up. Last month, Republicans killed the original legislation, attached to a Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, despite winning enough votes to pass, by strong-arming members to switch their votes, after the voting deadline, to defeat the measure. “Shame! Shame! Shame!” was the chant by stunned Democrats on the House floor.

The folllowing day, Maloney tried again with an amendment to a bill on energy and water spending. That, too, was defeated.

Maloney had high hopes the day after the Orlando massacre, telling The Hill, passage would send the LGBTQ community a a message of solidarity.

“It’s hard to imagine that any act that is so horrific could lead to anything positive. But if we were going to do anything, it would be a very positive step to say that discrimination has no place in our law and to reaffirm the president’s actions in this area,” Maloney told The Hill. “Seems to me a pretty basic thing to do.”

But House Speaker Paul Ryan was unmoved. He decided to limit the number of amendments attached to House legislation, which is effectively the death knell for Maloney’s bill.

In defense of the indefensible, Ryan accused Democrats of politicizing the shootings to advance an agenda and of attempting to circumvent House rules, which he himself keeps changing. “Well, what we just learned today is that the Democrats weren’t looking to advance an issue,” Ryan told reporters. “They were looking to sabotage the appropriations process.”

Despite the grim outlook, Maloney told MSNBC’s out anchor Thomas Roberts that he is undeterred.

“We need to write discrimination out of our law right away. There can be no better tribute to these innocent victims in Florida than to say we as a country are going to make ourselves more perfect as a union by ending LGBT discrimination.”

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