Two of the Nation’s Most Anti-LGBT Lawmakers Toppled in Primary Battles

June 29, 2016 • 10:32 am

Voters in CO and UT also make history, handing victories to two transgender candidates for Congress 

WASHINGTON – Two of the nation’s most virulently anti-LGBT legislators lost their primary elections on Tuesday night.

South Carolina state Senator Lee Bright’s 52-48 loss in a runoff election with former Representative Scott Talley comes after he introduced legislation that largely mirrored North Carolina’s discriminatory and dangerous HB 2.  If passed, Bright’s measure, SB 1203, would have prohibited transgender people in the state from using the restroom that corresponded to their gender identity and also blocked local nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) South Carolinians.

Sen. Bright’s record on LGBT issues and the bill he sponsored were factors in the race, with groups like the SC Chamber and other businesses running ads highlighting Bright’s misplaced priorities and continued insistence on demonizing transgender people rather than focusing on the issues that mattered most to his constituents.

In Colorado, voters ousted state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, The Colorado Springs Republican made national headlines for his hateful comments directed at LGBT individuals. Klingenschmitt’s outlandish comments were so offensive that he was temporarily stripped of committee assignments, publicly asked to apologize by the state GOP, and mocked on The Daily Show.

Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement following Bright’s defeat:

“In red, purple and blue states, Americans want elected officials who will work to ensure that everyone is protected equally under the law.  South Carolina and Colorado voters made this point loud and clear when they defeated Sen. Bright, Rep. Klingenschmitt and their discriminatory agendas. Their losses should send a clear signal to legislators across the country that, even in Republican primaries, attacking LGBT Americans is a losing proposition.”

Transgender women in Colorado and Utah made history last night as well. Voters handed primary victories to Misty Plowright and Misty Snow – making both women the first two transgender candidates to run for Congress from a major political party. Plowright will now run as the Democratic seeking to represent Colorado’s Fifth District in the U.S. House, while Snow is challenging Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) for his Senate seat.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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