In advance of today’s nomination vote for the new Speaker of the House, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, released the Congressional Scorecards of all the candidates. Today, House Republicans will nominate a new presiding officer of the House of Representatives who will be second in line to the presidency and have the ultimate say over which bills are debated on the House floor — and which ones won’t see the light of day.
All three of the Republican candidates — Rep. McCarthy (CA-23), Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-3) — have received scores of zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard since taking office. HRC has long scored members of Congress based on their votes and sponsorship of key legislation to advance LGBT equality, including nondiscrimination protections; protections from bias-motivated violence and domestic violence; support of marriage equality; and anti-bullying legislation.
In addition, Reps. McCarthy, Webster, and Chaffetz have all refused to support crucial legislation, including the Equality Act (H.R. 3185/S. 1858), Global Respect Act (H.R. 2368), Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 197/S. 29), the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2902/S. 311) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 846/S. 439).
“The reality is that today, the majority of the American people, and a majority of Republicans, stand on the side of equality,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “Kevin McCarthy, Daniel Webster or Jason Chaffetz, however, have long individual track records of opposing legislation and protections for the LGBT community. If the next Speaker simply listened to the pro-equality Republican majority outside of Congress instead of doubling down on discrimination, they could finally move their party — and our nation — into the 21st Century. Unfortunately, if past is prologue we can expect any of the contenders for House Speaker to continue John Boehner’s long history of blocking pro-equality legislation.”
The top three Republican contenders for House Speaker include:
Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the presumed frontrunner, and though he rarely talks about LGBT issue, his poor record is loud and clear. He voted twice against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. He voted against adding protections from anti-LGBT violence to our nation’s hate crime laws because “such legislation has the potential to further perpetuate various racial, religious and other social tensions, because of the perception of unequal punishment for committing the same crime.” McCarthy was part of the House Republican Leadership that spent millions of taxpayer dollars on private lawyers to unsuccessfully defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
Representative Daniel Webster (FL-10)
A long-shot candidate, Webster is a cosponsor of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), bill that essentially advocates state-sanctioned discrimination. Previously, he supported legislative amendments that endorsed the Defense of Marriage Act, and in 2013, a week before oral arguments in United States v. Windsor, he also made a statement on the House floor in support of the so-called “March for Marriage.”
Representative Jason Chaffetz (UT-3)
Chaffetz is nothing if not consistent. He voted twice against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and against hate crimes protections. Also a cosponsor of FADA, Chaffetz supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage equality. He even tried to use the appropriations bill that provides funds to the District of Columbia to block the implementation of marriage equality in Washington D.C. in 2009. And, he voted against protections for LGBT survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
For more on these candidates’ anti-equality records, visit hrc.org/scorecard.
Photo By United States House of Representatives (http://republicanleader.house.gov/Bio/) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons