From Pink News:
Democratic lawmaker Barney Frank had served as a member of the US House
of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013.
He made history as the first out congressman to be re-elected after
opening up about his sexuality in the 1980s, and battled for equality
through successive homophobic administrations.
Given his decades of service, you might think that Frank could take a
well-earned break – but it turns out he still has to go back to
congress to tell off some of the dumb-ass newbies who are trying to pass
the same old tired homophobic nonsense.
The retired lawmaker came to Congress to testify against the
Republican-backed ‘First Amendment Defense Act’, which aims to water
down anti-discrimination laws and guarantee the right to discriminate
based on sexuality on the grounds of religion.
Sitting before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the
ex-congressman spared no blushes as he meticulously tore the bill and
its proponents apart, argument-by-argument and clause-by-clause.
Responding to the bill’s proponent claiming that the bill would not
water down LGBT rights protection, Frank hit out at the “meaningless”
He said: “There is no federal legislation, and in many states no
other legislation, that protects [LGBT people] against discrimination.
So the argument, ‘Oh, you don’t have to worry, because existing statutes
aren’t pre-empted’ is irrelevant to many, many Americans who live in
places where there is no such statute.”
Demolishing a claim that it couldn’t impact LGBT people looking for
homes, he cited specific lines and clauses in the bill that would ban
the federal government from refusing funds to developers that plans to
exclude same-sex married couples from tenancy on the grounds of religion
unless they remain celibate.
When one Republican lawmaker appeared lost at his rapid-fire
rebuttal, Frank hit out: “I’m not making this up. I’m reading your bill.
So don’t tell me it’s not there.
“If you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, I guess you can
move in there if you can prove you’re celibate? That’s an interesting
form I’d want to see people fill out.”
He added: “I appreciate this telling us that we should all be nice… I
would reciprocate by saying, ‘Yeah, OK, how about being nice to me?’
“This is a legislative enactment that essentially says that the fact
that I live in a loving, committed marriage with another man, it somehow
affects other people’s freedom. And the Congress has to single that out
to act against it.”
JoDee Winterhof of the Human Rights Campaign said: “Members of
Congress should hang their heads in shame for attempting to advance this
reckless and irresponsible bill that embraces taxpayer-funded
discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“On any given day, this hearing would be wrong but it is especially
deplorable to be considering this legislation on a day that marks just
one month since our nation’s deadliest mass shooting left 49 families
and friends of LGBTQ people and allies in mourning.
“Meanwhile, these same House leaders refuse to hold hearings on the
Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive non-discrimination
protections to protect LGBTQ people, or on addressing common-sense gun
violence prevention measures.
“This hearing on FADA is not an exercise. It’s a frightening preview
of how LGBTQ people would be targeted for discrimination in our federal
government if Donald Trump is elected.”
HRC warns: “FADA is tantamount to state-sanctioned discrimination. On
its face, this legislation purports to prohibit discrimination by the
federal government based on individual beliefs about marriage between
loving, same-sex couples. In reality, it would allow individuals, many
businesses, and nonprofit organizations — even nonprofit organizations
and businesses contracting with the federal government — to circumvent
critical federal protections designed to protect LGBTQ families from