House Committee Rejects Vote on Amendment Safeguarding Critical LGBT Fed. Contracting Protections

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, blasted the House Republican Leadership for preventing a debate and vote on an amendment to remove an anti-LGBT provision from the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) offered the bipartisan amendment to strike the provision, which would allow, under the guise of religious liberty, taxpayer-funded discrimination in contracts and grants across the federal government.

The provision jeopardizes President Obama’s executive order prohibiting discrimination in federal contracting based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy released the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed that the House Republican Leadership has refused to allow a debate and vote on a bipartisan amendment to strike a discriminatory, harmful provision that undercuts protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors and grantees. The House is poised to join the ranks of North Carolina, Mississippi, Indiana and other states that are targeting LGBT Americans.”

“We are grateful to Reps. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) for leading the amendment, and to their strong bipartisan cosponsors--Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Scott Peters (D-CA). They understand that this House should be expanding protections for LGBT people rather than catering to the far right wing and taking our country backwards.”

The anti-LGBT provision, which originated as an amendment offered by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), was approved by a vote of 33-29 last month in the House Armed Services Committee. It would allow sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination in all federal agencies, not just the Department of Defense. The vaguely-written amendment could have far-reaching consequences, potentially even undermining existing federal nondiscrimination provisions protecting workers against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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