Last Friday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, called on House Speaker John Boehner to remove Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ) as subcommittee chair in the House Financial Services Committee over his hateful anti-LGBT objections to supporting his party’s congressional campaign committee because, according to Politico, it “actively recruited gay candidates and supported homosexuals in primaries.” Media reports indicate that Rep. Garrett’s office has refused to apologise for the discriminatory remark, and has declined to respond to questions about why he is opposed to LGBT people serving in elected office.
“Rep. Garrett has been given a position of responsibility as Chairman of a very important subcommittee. Just as the voters in New Jersey will need to decide if Rep. Garrett should continue to represent them given his anti-LGBT voting record and his desire to arbitrarily pick and choose who should be his colleagues in Congress, Speaker Boehner and House Republican leaders face the same choice,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “In 2015, Rep. Garrett’s narrow-minded objections to LGBT people serving in Congress disqualify him from a leadership position in the House of Representatives. Speaker Boehner should remove Rep. Garrett as a subcommittee chairman and then in November 2016, so should the voters of New Jersey’s 5th District.”
According to the report, the startling revelation developed in a closed committee meeting of Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee when Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) told Rep. Garrett he was expected to pay dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). As reported by Politico, Rep. Garrett “stunned the room with this explanation: He had not supported the NRCC in the past, he said, because it actively recruited gay candidates and supported homosexuals in primaries.”
Rep. Garrett’s push for the exclusion of openly LGBT candidates goes hand in hand with his record opposing basic fairness and equality for LGBT people. Garrett voted against hate crimes protections for LGBT people, against the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, refused to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and he twice voted in favour of writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution by banning marriage equality.
Photo By United States House of Representatives (http://republicanleader.house.gov/Bio/) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons