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HRC Releases Scorecard of 113th Congress Showing Record Gains in Support for LGBT Equality

October 9, 2014
Filed under: Federal Advocacy

10/9/2014

WASHINGTON– The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today released its Congressional Scorecard measuring support for LGBT equality in the 113th Congress. Results show record gains in support for LGBT equality.

“We stand at a critical juncture in our fight for full LGBT equality,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “While we’ve made tremendous progress in gaining support from our elected officials in Congress, we certainly still have much to accomplish. In America today, the majority of voters—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike— support freedom and equality. It’s time all of our elected officials catch up with the opinions of those they were elected to represent.”

Members of Congress were scored based on their votes and co-sponsorships of pieces of legislation that are key indicators of support for LGBT equality, and for the first time ever, their public support for marriage equality.  A record number of members earned a perfect 100% score in this Congress. Out of 541 Members of Congress (including Delegates), 210 received a perfect rating, compared to 139 in the previous Congress. 

“The dramatic increase in support for LGBT equality in Congress is encouraging news,” added David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director. “With overwhelming support by Democrats, it’s vital that we continue to gain ground with fair-minded Republican elected officials to win the votes necessary for the passage of important policies and legislation.”

Democrats are clearly to credit for the giant leap this Congress in perfect scores. At a record-breaking 169 in the House and 39 in the Senate who received perfect scores, there is a clear indication that support for LGBT equality is becoming a crucial issue for Democrats. In comparison, two House Republicans and no Senate Republicans received a perfect score.

There is also an evident and important pattern of progress as 100% scores have dramatically continued to increase from the 109th through the 113th Congress. While in the 109th Congress, only 95 received a perfect score, that measurement has steadily increased from 106 in the 110th Congress, 110 in the 111th Congress, 139 in the 112th Congress, to today’s impressive 210 in the 113th Congress.

Members from the Northeast and West regions particularly stand out. From the Northeast, an impressive 65 of 96 members (68%) in the House and Senate combined earned 100% (all but one of whom are Democrats).  A sizeable majority of members from the West region also attained perfect scores: 72 out of 128 members (56%) in the House and Senate combined (all are Democrats).

Democrats in both the House and Senate earned an impressive average score of 96%. In contrast, House Republicans earned an average of 10% while Senate Republicans earned an average of 16%.

As previously announced, results show support for marriage equality in Congress is at an all-time high, with dramatic increases primarily due to major gains among Democrats--95% of Senate Democrats and 90% of House Democrats are in support. Among Republicans, eight Members in the House and Senate combined support marriage equality.

Key findings from the scorecard include:

·         A record number of Members from the 113th Congress earned perfect 100% scores on the HRC Congressional Scorecard

o   Out of 541 members of Congress (including Delegates), 210 earned the highest score possible.

o   This is a giant leap from the previous Congress where 139 earned 100%.

o   100% scores have steadily increased from the 109th Congress to the 113th.

·         Democrats earn record-breaking 100% scores, joined by two Republicans

o   In the Senate, 39 out of 55 Democrats (71%) received a 100% score.

o   In the House, 169 out of 205 Democrats (82%) received a 100% score.

o   100% scores for Democrats in both the House and Senate are the highest they have ever been.

o   In contrast, 2 House Republicans and no Senate Republicans received a 100% score

·         Northeast and West regions lead the equality-minded pack*

            In the House and Senate combined:

o   Northeast region: 65 out of 96 members (68%) earned a 100% (all but 1 are Democrats).

o   West region: 72 out of 128 members (56%) earned a 100% (all are Democrats)

o   South region: 39 out of 192 members (20%) earned a 100% (all but 1 are Democrats).

o   Midwest region: 33 out of 118 members (28%) earned a 100% (all are Democrats)

*Regions are broken down in the four standard Census Regions.

·         Democrats earn high average scores

o   While the average score in the entire 113th Congress is 56%, Democrats earned an impressive 96% average score in both the House and the Senate

o   In contrast, House Republicans earned an average of 10% while Senate Republicans earned an average of 16%

Methodology:  Members of Congress were scored based on their votes and co-sponsorships of pieces of legislation that are key indicators of support for LGBT equality, as well as their public support for marriage equality.

In the House of Representatives, this includes:

·         Voting against an amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (H.Amdt. 23 to S. 47) that would remove provisions prohibiting discrimination against victims based on sexual orientation or gender identity;

·         Voting in favor of an amendment to the FY2015 THUD Appropriations bill (H. Amdt. 790 to H.R. 4745) which would increase funding for the HIV/AIDS housing program, HOPWA;

·         Co-sponsorship of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1755);

·         Co-sponsorship of the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 2523);

·         Co-sponsorship of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 1199);

·         Co-sponsorship of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1652); and

·         Public support for marriage equality.

In the Senate, this includes:

·         Voting in favor of both cloture and final passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815);

·         Voting against an amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S. Amdt. 14 to S. 47) that would remove provisions prohibiting discrimination against victims based on sexual orientation or gender identity;

·         Voting in favor of cloture on the nomination of Chai Feldblum to serve a second term as a commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);

·         Voting in favor of cloture on the nominations of Staci Yandle and Darrin Gayles, both openly gay, to be U.S. District Judges;

·          Co-sponsorship of the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 1236);

·         Co-sponsorship of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (S. 403);

·         Co-sponsorship of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (S. 1088); and

·         Public support for marriage equality.

Because Delegates in the House are unable to vote, in addition to support for marriage equality, they were scored based upon whether or not they co-sponsored key bills.

The HRC Scorecard for the 113th Congress is available online at www.hrc.org/scorecard

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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