House Finally Passes LGBT Anti-Discrimination Measure

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2016

Remember that amendment that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) tried to attach to veterans spending bill last week that would uphold President Obama’s Executive Order requiring federal contractors to maintain anti-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity? Remember that he tried to attach that amendment because Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) had inserted a provision that would have overturned Obama’s Executive Order? And remember how House GOP leaders went through extra lengths — even going so far as to openly break their own House rules to do it — to see Maloney’s amendment defeated?

Well, the House has approved Maloney’s measure as an amendment to an Energy Department appropriations bill. The vote was 223-195 late Wednesday night. Forty-three Republicans joined all voting Democrats to support the amendment. According to The Hill:

Republicans were more prepared this time for Maloney’s amendment since it was clear ahead of time that it would come up for a vote. Last week’s vote, meanwhile, came with little warning, which resulted in GOP leaders partaking in the last-minute arm-twisting.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) offered a counter-amendment so that Maloney’s proposal would be modified by stating that no funds could be used in contravention of the LGBT executive order except as “required by the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution.”

“Does anyone in this chamber seriously oppose Article I of the constitution, the First Amendment, or the 14th Amendment?” Pitts asked.

Maloney allowed Pitts’s amendment to pass by voice vote, saying that he had no objection to simply stating adherence to the Constitution.

“What do you say we abide by the whole Constitution? The part that tries to make it more progressive, more inclusive of people like me, of people of color, of women, of people who were shut out when it was written. How about we include the whole Constitution? Can we do that?” Maloney said.

All seven Republicans who switched their vote last week wound up voting for Maloney’s amendment.

Earlier that evening, the House approved an amendment from Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) which prohibits the Obama administration from revoking Title IX funds previously appropriated for North Carolina over the state’s anti-trans bathroom bill.

The whole bill goes before the House on Thursday, and will need to be reconciled with the Senate version which does not include Maloney’s amendment.

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