These are the bills we use as a reference to generate our House Scorecard on issues of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equality:
H.J. Res 37
The history of American liberty is expansive; over time we have come to recognize and respect the equality of citizens under the law to a greater degree, by treating non-whites as full citizens, by permitting women to vote, by ending Jim Crow segregation, by ending laws against interracial marriage, and by adding the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which mandates that all people shall receive "the equal protection of the laws."
H.J. Res 37 is a constitutional amendment that would reverse this American expansion of nondiscrimination. It would reverse the 14th Amendment by specifically mandating that same-sex couples be excluded from the right to marry everywhere in the United States. The amendment would also prevent same-sex couples from attaining the same legal status as married couples by an arrangement having a name other than marriage.
H.J. Res. 37, in short, writes discrimination back into the Constitution. That is a step backward.
Since the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s, successive Congresses have made it clear, either loudly or meekly, that there is no intention to give same-sex couples the right to marry at the federal level. H.R. 2517, also known as the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, would grant same-sex domestic partners of federal workers the same benefits as federal workers' different-sex spouses. For proponents of equality under law in America, this is a step forward for same-sex couples, albeit at a less ambitious scale than full-fledged same-sex marriage.
In mid-December of 2009, the government of Washington, DC voted to approve same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. H.R. 2608 seeks to overturn the local decision of DC government by imposing a congressional prohibition on same-sex marriage in Washington, DC. Dozens of members of Congress, none of whom hail from Washington DC, through their support of this bill, support the nullification of DC marriages and the reinstatement of discrimination.
Substantively, the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy weakens the strained U.S. military by kicking people out with good service records. There is a more formal problem with DADT as well: the policy to discriminate, to kick people out of the military because of their sexual orientation, is a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Donít Ask, Donít Tell Repeal Act of 2010 not only lends substantive benefit to the military and to lesbian and gay servicemembers, but also strengthens constitutional government.
It might seem that the USA is moving beyond discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transexuals. Yet, it's still legal for people to be fired from their jobs for no other reason than that they aren't heterosexual.
H.R. 3017 would make it illegal to engage in discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation.
H.R. 310, passed by the House of Representatives on September 8, 2009, is regressive in many senses. Environmentally, it hands over a public lands to an organization that seeks to develop them for its own private uses. The bill assaults the separation of church and state by doing special favors for an organization that discriminates against non-religious Americans, refusing them employment and membership. The bill is also a blow against equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, because the organization discriminates in hiring and membership against them as well. Finally, the bill is an insult to Native Americans, giving over public lands so that they can be used in the mock rituals of an organization that encourages young boys to dress up in cartoonish versions of Native American costumes and pretend to be Indians.
The discriminatory organization this bill was designed to assist: The Boy Scouts of America, which seems to believe that it can attack the civic values of equality and respect for diversity, and still claim that any politician who dares protest is unpatriotic. Only seven members of the House of Representatives had the courage not to vote for this bill to coddle discrimination, and they only had the courage to vote "present".
If passed, the Respect for Marriage Act of 2009 (H.R. 3567) would repeal DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. Enacted in the 1990s, DOMA removed the presumption (based in the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of the Constitution) that same-sex marriages carried out in one state would be recognized in other states or by the federal government. H.R. 3567 would restore cross-state and federal recognition, recognition that different-sex marriages continue to enjoy.
H.R. 636, also known as the Positive Alternatives Act, reroutes money allocated for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits, programs and services for poor Americans, reallocating that federal money to go instead to support the budgets of non-governmental groups that counsel poor people not to have abortions. During these hard times, taking money away from programs to help those down on their luck and diverting it into programs telling people what they should do with their own bodies seems especially callous and meddlesome.
Keep Your Elephant Out of My Bedroom T-Shirt
October 20 Purple Shirt Against Bullies
Rainbow Triangle Badge T-Shirt
My Mother is Not a Second Class Citizen Shirt
LGBT Equality Scorecard for the U.S. House of Representatives from That's My Congress
House Scorecards: Overall | Discrimination | Environment | Constitution | Economy | LGBT
Senate Scorecards: Overall | Discrimination | Environment | Constitution | Economy | LGBT
Equality under the law, promised by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, has been a long time coming for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. But equality is coming. Itís come to states like Iowa and Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Itís come to cities like Washington, DC. As generations change and minds open, equality in marriage, hiring, benefits and more is coming, but its final arrival is not guaranteed. That goal will be achieved when LGBT Americans are joined by their straight friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to stand up visibly and say that theyíve had enough of the anti-gay discrimination in this country. But that's not enough. Social movement work must be brought to fruition with the action of sympathetic (or just plain smart) legislators on Capitol Hill who place themselves on the side of equality in their votes on the floor and in committee. On this page, we track members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives as they slowly drift into the future, congratulating the equality-minded and chastising the 20th Century thinkers to hurry up already.
Members of Congress most Friendly to LGBT Americans on Capitol Hill
The following members of the House have the strongest record of support for LGBT equality, acting to support at least three of the major bills in the equality platform. Click on a representative's name to discover more about his or her voting and cosponsorship record.
Most Stridently Anti-Equality Members of the House
The following members of the House have thrown their weight behind at least five bills to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Americans in the 111th Congress of 2009-2010. Click on a representative's name to learn about his or her specific record of action and inaction in greater detail.
If you can't find your representative's name on either the honor roll or the dishonor roll, she or he belongs neither to the most open-minded nor the most bigoted wings of the House.
To find out more about your representative's record of voting and cosponsorship, access our overall rankings for the House of Representatives here.
News on the Constitution and Politics
Read below for the latest coverage of discrimination-related political developments from That's My Congress and Irregular Times: