The Human Rights Campaign today inducted the inaugural class of the most anti-equality members of Congress into its Hall of Shame. Utah Sen. Mike Lee is among the 19 members in the list.
Lee was the author of the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which “Prohibits the federal government from taking an adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” It was introduced in the house on Sept. 19, 2013 and has sat in committee for 13 months.
He also voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as he believes equal protection does not apply to LGBT people.
This week, Lee decried the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to take Utah’s appeal of District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that the state’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
“Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” Lee said in a statement. “Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges. The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right.”
“If you want to understand why LGBT equality has hit a roadblock in Congress, you don’t need to look any further than these leaders of anti-LGBT obstruction and animus,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director. “These members go out of their way to oppose any step toward equal protection under the law or to protect LGBT Americans from violence, discrimination and harassment. They proactively work to undermine existing legal protections and promote anti-LGBT discrimination.”
Released in advance of the HRC Scorecard for the 113th Congress, HRC identified these elected officials as the most anti-equality members of Congress by looking at their voting records in this and previous Congresses, their introduction and co-sponsorships of anti-LGBT legislation, and their public statements. While there are other anti-LGBT members of Congress, these elected officials’ legislative actions, votes and anti-LGBT vitriol unfortunately marks them with a modern day scarlet letter.
The inductees into the inaugural class of HRC’s Hall of Shame are:
House (14): Senate (5):
Michele Bachmann (R-MN) Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Andy Harris (R-MD) James Inhofe (R-OK)
Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) Mike Lee (R-UT)
Jim Jordan (R-OH) Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Walter Jones (R-NC)
Mike Kelly (R- PA)
Steve King (R-IA)
Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Tim Walberg (R-MI)
Randy Weber (R-TX)
Each of these officials is a sponsor or cosponsor of some or all of the most anti-LGBT legislation that, if passed, would enshrine discrimination into our nation’s body of laws and our Constitution. In the U.S. House of Representatives, this includes the Federal Marriage Amendment, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, and the State Marriage Defense Act. In the U.S. Senate, this includes the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, and the State Marriage Defense Act.
Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — Retiring from Congress this year, Bachmann made sure her final term in Congress was just as bad as all of the rest. Who can forget how she expressed her love for her step-sister: “Any of you who have members of your family in the lifestyle, we have a member of our family that is [lesbian]. This is not funny. It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay.”
Louie Gohmert (R-TX) — Gohmert always has a bad thing to say about LGBT people. Not content to falsely blame gay men for pedophilia or state with certainty that same-sex marriage will lead to bestiality, his whopper this Congress was to compare LGBT advocates to Nazis.
Andy Harris (R-MD) — Harris defeated pro-LGBT Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest in a 2008 primary and then went on to lose the general election. Since he finally made it to Congress in 2010, Harris has gone out of his way to sponsor nearly every anti-LGBT bill introduced in the House.
Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) — Huelskamp rarely misses an opportunity to promote an anti-LGBT agenda. In the 113th Congress, he introduced both the Federal Marriage Amendment and the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act. Just last month, he was a ringleader in opposing an amendment for equal benefits for our nation’s same-sex married veterans.
Jim Jordan (R-OH) — Jordan led the fight to try to block the District of Columbia from recognizing same-sex marriages. As a leader of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), he’s made sure anti-LGBT issues remain on the RSC’s agenda.
Walter Jones (R-NC) — Jones is not new to anti-LGBT crusading. A decade ago, he was known for carrying a copy of the book King and King around to emphasize his opposition to kids even hearing about gay relationships. From “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal to same-sex marriage, Jones opposes LGBT equality every step of the way.
Mike Kelly (R- PA) — At first glance, Kelly appears to be a more moderate, reasonable kind of guy. Yet in the 113th Congress, in addition to cosponsoring anti-LGBT bills, he took the initiative to introduce one of the must hurtful and harmful anti-LGBT bills yet—the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. This bill would allow adoption and foster care providers to use their personal religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBT people seeking to provide a loving home to a child in need.
Steve King (R-IA) — During consideration of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, King claimed then-Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had an agenda of protecting pedophiles. He ridiculously claimed that sexual orientation “could include exhibitionism. It can include necrophilia. It could include … voyeurism. You see somebody spying on you changing clothes and you hit them, they’ve [sic] committed a misdemeanor.”
Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) — New to Congress in 2013, LaMalfa is singing from the anti-LGBT hymnal. He told National Journal: “If you open the floodgates to other ideas [about marriage], other concepts, you don’t know where it ends. Multiple marriages, same-sex marriage, there’s so many things that are not what the institution is supposed to be about. Indeed, an institution created by God and supposed to be held up and respected by men.” And he loves co-sponsoring anti-LGBT legislation.
Mike McIntyre (D-NC) — Most House Democrats are strongly pro-LGBT, which means McIntyre stands out even more starkly as the most anti-LGBT Democrat. He is one of only two Democrats to cosponsor the Federal Marriage Amendment. If there is a pro-equality vote opportunity, McIntyre can usually be counted on to vote no.
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) — Neugebauer’s claim to fame is yelling “baby killer” on the House floor during the debate on the Affordable Care Act. However, he also works to keep his far right supporters happy by cosponsoring all five of the most anti-LGBT bills introduced during the 113th Congress.
Steve Pearce (R-NM) — Pearce has been quick to sponsor anti-LGBT legislation. When a state judge found New Mexico’s marriage ban to be unconstitutional, he told The Hill: “The reckless actions of this judge acting on personal opinion and ignoring legislative procedure threatens serious confusion, frustration, and pain for those who are being led to believe that the law has changed.”
Tim Walberg (R-MI) — The former Bible salesman is quick with over the top rhetoric. He told a Family Research Council conference that Americans are “slaves” to “sexual perversion.” If you have an anti-LGBT bill that you want cosponsored, Walberg is an easy supporter to get.
Randy Weber (R-TX) — Weber wants to ensure that same-sex married couples who live in his home state of Texas, and the many other states without marriage equality, are denied any federal recognition or benefits. To try to achieve that end, he introduced the State Marriage Defense Act to stop federal agencies from recognizing these legal marriages.
Ted Cruz (R-TX) — Cruz likes to stand out in a crowd. As the author of the federal “State Marriage Defense Act” introduced in February, he collaborated with his Texas colleague Rep. Randy Weber to make sure his same-sex married constituents would have no federal protections. He is actively working to prevent marriage equality from becoming a reality for all Americans. Following the Supreme Court’s action on Monday to reject the appeals requests of five states with same-sex marriage bans ruled unconstitutional by lower courts, Senator Cruz announced he will introduce a constitutional amendment barring the federal government and the courts from overturning state marriage laws.
Michael Enzi (R-WY) — Enzi was able to avoid a primary challenge from Liz Cheney by arguing she was too pro-LGBT. To prove the point, he introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act—a bill that would allow adoption and foster care providers to use their personal religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBT people seeking to provide a loving home to a child in need.
James Inhofe (R-OK) — Don’t expect evolution from Inhofe. He has proudly boasted that “in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.” And he said he wouldn’t hire any LGBT staffers.
Mike Lee (R-UT) — Not content to vote against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Lee also believes equal protection does not apply to LGBT people. To top it off, he was the author of the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.
Jeff Sessions (R-AL) — A glimmer of enlightenment was on the horizon when Sessions said in 2009 that he might be able to support a nominee with “gay tendencies.” That light was quickly extinguished the next day when he said that a gay nominee would be a “huge concern.” His voting record and co-sponsorships leave little hope he’ll change anytime soon.