KENNEDY STATEMENT ON LGBT AMENDMENT TO HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS BILL
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today released the following statement in response to continued efforts by House Republicans to attach anti-LGBT policies to the major appropriations and policy bills being considered in Congress this week.
“The costs of codified, legalized discrimination define the most painful chapters of American history. In 2016, we should know better. Allowing entities that receive federal tax dollars to violate basic civil and legal rights amounts to a government endorsement of prejudice and inequality. That’s what my Republican colleagues voted for today.”
This week, House Republicans included a provision in the annual National Defense Authorization Act that would allow federal contractors to cite religious belief in discriminating against LGBT employees. Bipartisan efforts to have that language removed were struck down. In response, Democrats today offered an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Act that would prohibit any federal contractor that receives federal funds from discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation. After several Republicans joined with Democrats to support the amendment, Republican Leadership kept the vote open long after time had expired to convince just enough of their colleagues to change their votes and defeat the bill. The pro-equality amendment ultimately failed 212-213.
Congressman Kennedy has helped lead efforts in Congress and at home in Massachusetts to expand anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Yesterday, he introduced the Do No Harm Act, which would clarify that no one can seek religious exemptions from laws that protect basic civil and legal rights. Read more about the Do No Harm Act here.