Chaos Erupts in Congress As Republicans Block Measure That Would Protect LGBT Workers

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In a chaotic floor vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, an amendment to a defense authorization bill that would have blocked funding from anti-LGBT government contractors was rejected after a last minute rally from Republicans.

The amendment was put forth by openly gay Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. He initially had the votes to pass the measure until Republicans made a last ditch effort to block it, which they did narrowly by one vote.

 

The Hill reports: 

Initially, it appeared Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) amendment had enough votes to pass as “yes” votes piled up to 217 against 206 “no” votes.

But it eventually failed on a 212-213 vote after a number of Republican lawmakers changed their votes from “yes” to “no.”

GOP leaders held the vote open as they pressured members to change sides. Infuriating Democrats, they let lawmakers switch their votes without coming to the House floor.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” Democrats chanted as they watched the vote tally go from passage of Maloney’s amendment to narrow failure.

Twenty-nine Republicans voted for Maloney’s amendment to a spending bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction projects, along with all Democrats in the final roll call.

“This is one of the ugliest episodes I’ve experienced in my three-plus years as a member of this House,” Maloney, who is openly gay, said while offering his amendment.

The amendment would have effectively nullified a provision in the defense authorization that the House passed late Wednesday night. The language embedded in the defense bill states that religious corporations, associations and institutions that receive federal contracts can’t be discriminated against on the basis of religion.

Democrats warn that such a provision could potentially allow discrimination against the LGBT community in the name of religious freedom. Maloney’s amendment specifically would prohibit funds to implement contracts with any company that doesn’t comply with President Obama’s executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.

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The post Chaos Erupts in Congress As Republicans Block Measure That Would Protect LGBT Workers appeared first on Towleroad.

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