If Republicans regain the majority in Congress, people should expect an onslaught of bills attacking LGBTQ Americans’ rights.
That was one of the main messages from Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin at a roundtable last week with Iowa leaders who advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Axne was there to listen to what Iowa’s LGBTQ community needs from the federal level. She also said Republicans will not be the ones to meet those needs.
“Their core value is to not follow through on good things for this country,” Axne said. “But that actually do things for their favor that hurts other people.”
Pocan mentioned how Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) hung a transphobic sign outside her office targeting her across-the-hall neighbor, a Congresswoman who has a transgender child. Greene is a big opponent of LGBTQ rights and has promised to pass more laws to restrict them if Republicans regain the majority.
Greene and Reps. Roy, Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) are among the most extreme in the House and they have a lot of sway with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who likely would become House Majority Leader.
“When you say it, when you describe these folks, honestly folks, it’s like a ‘Mean Girls’ scene from the movie,” Axne said.
Pocan said their actions were little more than bullying of LGBTQ children and parents.
“But you’re going to see these bills and it’ll hurt the kids, it’ll hurt parents, it’ll hurt teachers, and hurt education,” he said. “It’s going to hurt a whole lot of people on a lot of fronts should they come back into the majority.”
The representatives also talked about what they’ve done while in the majority to support the LGBTQ community.
“Of course, we passed the Equality Act,” Axne said. “As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision this summer, we decided we need to get a little bit busier on some of the rights of Americans across this country. And after we voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act, of course, then we voted for the Respect for Marriage Act. So we have we on the House side have codified on our side of things the right to marry whomever the heck we want to marry.”
Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy for One Iowa, told them Iowans have already started seeing some of these discriminatory laws.
They pointed to the bill passed this year to ban transgender girls from playing on a girls’ sports team and proposed bills to remove gender identity and sexual orientation from Iowa’s civil rights code.
“Last year, we had to fight against 28 anti-LGBTQ bills,” they said. “They’re coming fast and furious.”
They said that’s why they’re grateful the US House has passed laws such as the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, employment, housing, and credit.
The bill has not yet come to the Senate because it’s unlikely enough Republicans would vote to pass it. On the House side, only three Republicans did, and they weren’t from Iowa.
In fact, House Republicans have been introducing a variety of anti-LGBTQ legislation already. None will go anywhere now, but it’s meant to signal what policies they would push for if elected.
Most recently, Republicans introduced a bill to ban any information about sexual orientation or transgender and nonbinary people from children. It’s modeled after a Florida bill best known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which has been widely criticized as censoring the existence of LGBTQ people, especially since it targets books and events at all federally-funded institutions.
That’s what Americans have to look forward to if Republicans regain the majority in the House, Axne and Pocan told the crowd. The solution? Make sure they don’t by voting for Democrats.
“This is what we mean,” Axne said. “Not only is this a very dangerous party for our country, is this kind of stuff is going on nonstop.”
But, she has hope too because of the young people she’s interacted with and seen get involved in politics.
“They’re the first time in this country where we’re seeing folks become adults who don’t care who you marry. Who don’t care how you want to define yourself,” Axne said. “They don’t care about what zip code you come from, what color your skin is.”
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