WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, an openly gay member of Congress introduced an amendment that would require any federal contractor to institute a policy refusing to “discriminate” against homosexuals or transgender individuals. Opponents say the measure would crush conscience rights of traditional Christian businessmen – but 43 Republicans voted to power the amendment to victory, anyway.
Rep. Sean Maloney, D-NY, attached his amendment, which would have codified President Barack Obama's 2014 executive order into law, to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, 2017.
“The application of President Obama's Executive Order could have punished faith-based contractors and pushed them out of doing business with the federal government, which ultimately would have meant a loss of jobs and services for the American people,” said David Christensen, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Center.
Yet the provision passed the House of Representatives last Wednesday night by a vote of 223-195.
However, the House proceeded to vote down the entire appropriations bill, largely due to the backlash over the Maloney amendment.
It was the second time his measure had stirred controversy. He appeared to have won a House vote to attach the amendment to a Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, until House Republican leaders extended the vote and convinced some Republicans to change their votes from “yea” to “nay.”
“With all time expired, it was clear as could be that equality had won the vote,” Maloney said. “But when the world watched, something else happened. Something shameful happened.”
Seven Republicans switched their votes: Reps. Jeff Denham, R-CA; Darrell Issa, R-CA ; Bruce Poliquin, R-ME; David Valadao, R-CA; Greg Walden, R-OR; Mimi Walters, R-CA; and David Young, R-IA.
All of them voted for Maloney's amendment a second time, without retracting their votes, last week.
One congressman, Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, said he voted for the amendment last Wednesday by accident. “I’ve consistently defended religious liberty and I always will,” he said. “I intended to vote nay.” Rep. Shimkus, a distinguished pro-life conservative, had previously voted against the Maloney amendment.
Some of the remaining 42 Republican congressmen – like Bob Dold of Illinois, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and Elise Stefanik of New York – have moderate-to-liberal records on social issues or have championed pieces of the LGBT activists' political agenda.
Others denied that the amendment would have the effect social conservatives say it will.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan tweeted: “They are mischaracterizing the amdt. It simply prohibits discrimination by VA/military construction contractors in hiring.” He later added, “Contrary to what some claim, this amendment preserves all existing religious liberty protections from the Bush administration.”
Maggie Gallagher wrote in National Review, “Amash’s defection represents the problem with bending over backward to avoid the Left’s charges of hatred and discrimination on all things LGBT: It puts liberals in control of what the conservative movement can do and say on basic issues of human rights and human decency.”
“If only one party is fighting, that party is going to win eventually,” she wrote.
Ryan Anderson, a policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, agreed the vote demanded fierce resistance.
“The appropriate response to Obama’s executive order, as I argued two years ago, is for Congress to reject the order, not ratify it in law,” he wrote.
Pro-family groups now intend to call out the 42 lawmakers who voted against conscience in supporting this amendment.
“We’re planning an intense, targeted online advertising campaign to educate the constituents of these 43 Republican members of Congress about their representative’s vote,” the National Organization for Marriage wrote in an e-mail to its supporters.
Concerned Women for America asked pro-family voters to take action immediately. “We must remember this vote where some chose to support the president’s radical agenda over women’s safety,” the group said in a statement. “If your congressman is on this list, he should hear from you.”
In alphabetical order, the remaining 42 congressmen who voted for the transgender amendment are:
Justin Amash, MI
Susan Brooks, IN
Mike Coffman, CO
Ryan Costello, PA
Carlos Curbelo, FL
Rodney Davis, IL
Jeff Denham, CA
Charlie Dent, PA
Mario Diaz-Balart, FL
Bob Dold, IL
Daniel Donovan, NY
Tom Emmer, MN
Michael Fitzpatrick, PA
Rodney Frelinghuysen, NJ
Chris Gibson, NY
Joe Heck, NV
Will Hurd, TX
Darrell Issa, CA
David Jolly, FL
John Katko, NY
Adam Kinzinger, IL
Leonard Lance, NJ
Frank LoBiondo, NJ
Tom MacArthur, NJ
Martha McSally, AZ
Pat Meehan, PA
Luke Messer, IN
Erik Paulsen, MN
Bruce Poliquin, ME
Tom Reed, NY
David Reichert, WA
Jim Renacci, OH
Tom Rooney, FL
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL
Elise Stefanik, NY
Fred Upton, MI
David Valadao, CA
Greg Walden, OR
Mimi Walters, CA
David Young, IA
Todd Young, IN
Lee Zeldin, NY
Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121.