Dems Mad As Hell Over Failed LGBT Rights Amendment, Not Gonna Take It Anymore

House Democrats were in an uproar on Thursday when Republicans sneakily scrambled to keep their anti-LGBT bill intact. Republican lawmakers defeated an amendment that would have protected LGBT employees of government contractors from discrimination.

Late Wednesday night, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a $602 billion veterans and military construction spending bill that includes “religious freedom” language — which could potentially allow government contractors to cite religious liberty as grounds for firing or discriminating against LGBT employees. Democrats and some Republicans tried to keep the language out of the NDAA but were unsuccessful. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who is openly gay, put up an amendment to nullify the anti-LGBT provision on a different bill.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., speaks at a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to express support for the Supreme Court's ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and the court's declining to rule on California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Initially, Maloney’s amendment had enough bipartisan support and “yes” votes to pass the amendment. When the clock ran out, the tally was 217-206. But the vote isn’t officially counted until the gavel comes down. In a seriously devious move, House Republican leaders held the vote open for several more minutes as they urged enough GOP members to flip their votes from “yes” to “no”.

Lawmakers began shouting, “Shame! Shame!” and “regular order!”, meaning the gavel should have come down when the clock ran out. The vote shifted, the gavel came down and the voted ended at 212-213. In the end, seven Republicans switched their votes under pressure from their party.

All 183 Democrats who voted backed the amendment and were joined by 29 Republicans. All 213 votes against the amendment were Republicans — big shocker.

“House Republicans are so committed to discriminating against LGBT Americans, that they broke regular order to force their members to reverse their votes and support Republicans’ bigotry,” Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, said in a statement.

You can see the vote breakdown here. Watch the vote unfold below.

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.


  1. Fucking republicans, they will support pedophiles, and Catholic priests who agree with them, but they will refuse to give their citizens basic human rights.

  2. What a f*©<ed up way to "govern."

    I suspect in the coming days, the White House will issue a veto threat and the anti-LGBT language will be stripped out by the Senate or in conference…

  3. I’m getting so sick of this crap everywhere. When did religious freedom change from “freedom to practice any religion of my choice” to “freedom from having to be exposed to people I don’t agree with”?

  4. From what I’ve read, when Roger Williams (a preacher and devout man) declared freedom of religion, he was trying to prevent his faith from getting its pure-and-godly self sullied in the civic arena, as he had seen in Massachusetts. He proposed the separation of church and state because he wanted religion to be free of the corruption of politics. But then there was a particularly horrible and bloody war in which colonists pretty much wiped out the dwindling groups of the local indigenous Americans, and Roger ended up agreeing to sell the prisoners of war into slavery, which he had opposed as a matter of conscience until then. Presumably so he wouldn’t have to find another way to deal with them. Even the guy who came up with the idea of freedom of religion (in the US) had trouble living it.

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