Senate Judiciary Republicans Will Use “Women” to Justify Attacks on Trans People, But a Brief Review of GOP’s Radical Opposition to Women’s Equality Reveals their Real Motivations and Hypocrisy

by HRC staff

Post submitted by Lucas Acosta (he/him), former Deputy Director of Communications, Politics

As Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are expected to use today’s hearing on the Equality Act to attack trans people (and to justify their opposition to expanding anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people as a defense of women), a brief audit of their records reveal some of the most radical, extreme opposition to women’s equality. No current Senate Judiciary Committee members voted for Violence Against Women Act reauthorization (2013), not one Republican co-sponsored the Senate Athletics Fair Pay Act (2019), and several committee members voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2013), and the Paycheck Fairness Act (2014) that would advance equal pay for women.

Below is a brief overview detailing the troubling records Senate Judiciary Republicans have on women’s issues, highlighting the hypocrisy of Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee now using “concern for women” as justification to attack, punish, and dehumanize trans kids.

1. Not a single Republican member of the Senate cosponsored the Senate Athletics Fair Pay Act (2019) despite talking about their support for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team.

2. Not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee supported the Violence Against Women Act.

  • Sens. Cornyn, Cruz, Graham, Grassley and Lee voted against it in the Senate. Blackburn and Cotton voted against VAWA in the House. [Roll Call Vote 113th Congress - 1st Session, 2/7/13]

3. Republican Senators have instead taken actions to codify discrimination against women and young people.

  • Sens. John Cornyn and Chuck Grassley supported an alternative proposal to The Violence Against Women Act that excluded LGBTQ people, Native Americans And immigrants. [Huffington Post, 2/7/13; VAWA S. 47, S. Amdt. 14, 2/7/13]
  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn voted against the 2009 Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a landmark bill for women’s rights in the workplace that would make it easier for women to file wage discrimination suits against employers. She also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2009. [Huffington Post, 6/3/13]
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed an amendment to the $1.9T American Rescue Plan that would ban transgender girls from playing sports. [Athlete Ally Press Release, 3/6/21]
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham on the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett: "I want every young woman to know there's a place for you in America if you are pro-life, if you embrace your religion, and you follow a traditional family structure — that you can go anywhere, young lady." [Business Insider, 11/1/20]

4. The two anti-equality hearing witnesses — Mary Rice Hasson and Abigail Shrier — have long, radical records of discriminating against young people.

  • Hasson Said The Equality Act Means We Can “No Longer Be Able To Say Out Loud That A Person Is Male Or Female.” “This is the future the Equality Act promises. We will no longer be able to say out loud that a person is male or female, if that person self-defines as another ‘gender identity.’ We will no longer be able to teach our children—publicly at least—that biological sex has meaning, and that the truth is impervious to our feelings. And we will no longer be free to organize our lives around the beliefs that sex matters, that males can never be "women" and that females have sex-based rights to privacy and safe spaces where males are not welcome.” [Newsweek, Hasson Opinion, 2/24/21]
  • Shrier Said “Teen Transgender Medicine” Changed Her View On American Exceptionalism, And People Were Too Intimidated Into Silence By Brats Calling Them “Transphobes” And “Bigots.” “The burgeoning medical scandal that goes by ‘teen transgender medicine,’ which I've been investigating for the last year, has changed my view on American exceptionalism. I am, and will always be, extremely proud to be an American...But the UK press has been willing to take a hard look at the evidence of an epidemic of teen girls suddenly transitioning for reasons other than gender dysphoria. The US legacy media has not...And here we are, Land of the Brave...intimidated into silence by a generation of brats who fling around terms like "transphobe" and "bigot," turning our genuine abhorrence at those things against us. ” [@AbigailShrier Twitter, 12/17/20]
  • Shrier has described some best-practice health care for trans kids as “child abuse” and said some parents who affirm their trans kids “have Munchausen syndrome-by-proxy: people who are passing on diseases to their children.” [Media Matters for America, Brianna January, 11/23/20]

About the Equality Act

The Equality Act, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under federal civil rights law, will – for the first-time – advance in the U.S. Senate. The legislation would also extend protections to millions of women who aren’t covered under some existing federal anti-discrimination laws and expand the public spaces and services that can’t discriminate against people of color, and people of all faiths.

Despite significant steps forward, the patchwork nature of our nation’s civil rights laws means that the majority of states — 29 states in total — do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The Equality Act will ensure that LGBTQ people cannot be refused housing or evicted from their homes, kicked out of a business that’s open to the public, denied health care, or denied government services in a majority of states simply because of who they are.

The Equality Act is supported by an overwhelming 70 percent of bipartisan voters; hundreds of members of Congress; and more than 600 organizations, including civil rights, education, health care, and faith-based organizations.

The Equality Act has had unprecedented support among business and corporate leaders, which includes more than 60 business associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — and has been endorsed by nearly 400 major companies, including dozens of Fortune 500 companies such as The Coca-Cola Co., Dow Chemical Co., Gap Inc., IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Co., Marriott International Inc., Microsoft Corp., Target Corp., among others. Collectively, these companies employ more than 12.3 million people across the United States and oversee operations in all 50 states, generating a collective revenue of $5.7 trillion.

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