Republican Congressman David Young today voted for a measure that would have protected LGBT individuals from discrimination in government contracting. Well, until he switched his vote to a “No,” that is. Why? Because it looked like the amendment might actually pass.
A amendment to a Veterans Affairs spending bill would have prevented government contracts from going to companies that discriminated against the LGBT community. That was a response to language in the original bill that would have protected companies “religious liberty,” which many thought could be used to discriminate against gay people. The original vote stood at 217 to 206 and seemed poised to pass, despite most Republicans opposing it.
The vote was supposed to only take two minutes, but was kept open for over seven and a half minutes while Republican leadership apparently convinced some of their members to switch their vote. The House descended into chaos with Democrats chanting “shame” and even some Republicans saying it was one of the ugliest episodes they’d witnessed. The final vote was 212-213.
David Young was one of seven Republicans who changed their vote to kill the amendment on LGBT protections. Young’s reelection race is looking increasingly difficult as Democrats are about to choose their candidate to take him on next month.
Republicans in Young’s district also put forward some rather anti-LGBT language in their platform planks at their 3rd District convention.
In a released statement, Iowa leaders took Young to task for the flip-flop.
“David Young’s cowardly vote switch on a measure that would protect LGBTQ individuals from being outed and fired is an appalling act of political gamesmanship,” Nate Monson of the Iowa Safe Schools organization said. “Iowa has a proud history of being on the forefront of expanding rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. Young’s actions do not reflect the will of his constituents and will anger many across the 3rd Congressional District.”
“It’s outrageous that David Young would so blatantly abandon his LGBTQ constituents,” added Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa. “Young may have set a record for the speed of a political flip-flop in changing his vote over a matter of minutes while Republican leadership held open the vote while they pressured their members. Young’s capitulation to the far right leaders in DC calls into question whether he really believes in anything at all.”
Young’s potential Democratic challengers added on as well:
“Today David Young voted to allow continued discrimination against the LGBT community,” Jim Mowrer said in a statement. “This type of extreme partisanship is something we should expect from someone who has never held a job outside of Congress. David Young changed his vote after being pressured by his party to vote against the LGBT community. This is why we need new representation in Congress and why I believe so strongly in putting service to Iowans ahead of politics.”
“Congressman Young’s cowardly vote to discriminate against LGBT Americans today was shameful and Iowans deserve much better,” said Mike Sherzan. “In Congress, I’ll fight to make sure all Iowans, no matter who they love, are treated equally.”
by Pat Rynard
[An earlier version said that six Republicans switched their votes. Later reports from D.C. listed seven.]