Today, HRC strongly condemned an amendment approved during the House Armed Services Committee markup of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Sponsored by anti-LGBT Representative Steve Russell (R-OK), the amendment would dismantle President Obama’s executive order prohibiting discrimination in federal contracting based on sexual orientation or gender identity, under the guise of religious liberty.
“Rep. Russell’s harmful amendment would strip away existing protections for LGBT workers by undermining President Obama’s executive order on LGBT non-discrimination protections in federal contracting,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “Evidently some House Republicans want to emulate their state legislative colleagues in undermining legal protections for LGBT Americans. House Republican Leadership must get this language out of the bill.”
The Russell amendment was approved by a vote of 33-29 early this morning. It would allow sweeping, taxpayer-funded discrimination in an attempt to promote anti-LGBT religious-based discrimination in the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. With far-reaching intended and unintended consequences, the vague amendment could even undermine existing nondiscrimination provisions that protect workers, and perhaps even beneficiaries, against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.