Anti-LGBT Amendment That Would Void Obama’s Non-Discrimination Executive Order Advances in U.S. Congress

By Adam Polaski • May 18, 2016 • 12:36 pm

Last night, May 17, lawmakers on the House Rules Committee in the United States Congress rejected a proposed fix to a discriminatory measure attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The measure, introduced by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), is a vaguely written amendment that would allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees, likely upending President Obama’s 2014 executive order extending LGBT nondiscrimination protections to employees of federal contractors.

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Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) led a bipartisan effort to defeat Rep. Russell’s amendment – but Dent’s proposal was ruled out of order late last night.

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“The Russell amendment is a sloppily written provision that is intended to roll back existing protections for LGBT people by undermining President Obama’s executive order. Americans overwhelmingly support protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Many will rightfully wonder why lawmakers in Congress are seeking not only to take us backwards, but to do so with an amendment attached to a bill that funds our military. This amendment does nothing to strengthen existing protections for religious freedom – its singular focus is to harm LGBT people.”

The amendment now must be addressed in conference committee. It would likely allow federal contractors that receive taxpayer dollars to discriminate in employment and services. This could impact a wide range of critical services, including but not limited to adoption services, homeless shelters, job training, counseling services, and health care support services.

The Russell Amendment to the NDAA isn’t the only piece of anti-LGBT legislation receiving attention in Congress at the moment. House lawmakers may soon hold a hearing on the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which also would allow for taxpayer-funded discrimination.

For more information on FADA, check out our resources at www.FirstAmendmentDefenseAct.org.


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