Kelly's Vote for Open Season on the LGBTQ Community

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     A 2019 Gallup poll found that more than 90 percent of Americans believe gays and lesbians should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. More than half of those polled believe new civil rights laws are needed to reduce discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

 

     Still, Kelly voted no.

 

     A Marquette Law School poll showed the public opposes the Supreme Court allowing business owners with a religious objection to LGBTQ people to deny them services, 57 percent to 34 percent.

 

     Still, Kelly voted no.

 

     A majority of people in every state support laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations, according to surveys from the Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI). This applies even in the most conservative states.

 

     Still, Kelly voted no.

 

     PRRI found majority support across all sorts of different groups, including about 79 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 56 percent of Republicans.

 

     Still, Kelly voted no.

 

     A majority in every age group, from millennials to the elderly, supports the law.

 

     Still, Kelly voted no.

 

     Even a majority of white evangelical Protestants, who are typically conservative on LGBTQ issues, and every other religious group tracked by PRRI, supported it.

 

     Still, Kelly voted no.

 

     Why?

 

     One of the reasons you get from Republicans is that such a law would violate individuals’ religious freedom. That argument falls apart when you realize that, while religious freedom is a cornerstone of our country, another cornerstone is equal protection under the law.

 

     It unravels even further when you understand that those objecting claim the pursuit of their religious beliefs includes being able to discriminate against those who pursue different beliefs.

 

     It becomes laughable when you see that those asserting their religious freedom is endangered are claiming to be victims who should be given the right to victimize those with different viewpoints.

 

     This all stems from the Religious Right’s hatred of the LGBTQ community and the work of Republican politicians to gin up that hate in hopes of gaining votes.

 

     Religious freedom is the right to practice and live your faith, such as praying and conducting services in your house of worship. It’s the right not to be discriminated against because of your faith, or your lack of faith.

 

     It’s not the right to discriminate against people who don’t adhere to the same beliefs as you. It’s not the right to make two sets of rules, one for people who pass your religious test and one for those who don’t.

 

     You’re not being persecuted when you’re told you can’t discriminate. You’re being told to follow the law. You’re being told to follow the tenants this country was founded on. You’re being told to exhibit basic human decency.

 

     One other thing for those concerned their religious freedom might be violated: You’re not the victims here. The victims are the people you want to shame, embarrass and treat as second-class citizens. The victims are the ones whose lives you believe are deserving of the de-legitimization, stigmatization and hate you expound, all in the name of God. The victims are the ones who you feel perfectly justified in your own self-righteousness to squeeze whatever happiness and dignity from their lives that you can.

 

     For the enemies of the LGBTQ community, Kelly’s no vote sent the message, “Go ahead and sic ‘em.”

 

     The Human Rights Campaign, in a Nov. 2, 2018, post on its Website titled, HRC Exposes Pennsylvania’s Anti-Equality Candidates, highlighted five Pennsylvania candidates and “their terrible records undermining LGBTQ rights and attempting to roll back our community’s progress.”

 

     Kelly was one of them. The post noted he had done the following:

 

     *Introduced legislation to allow child welfare and adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

 

     *Co-sponsored a resolution that proposed a Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.

 

     * Voted to strip transgender military service members of necessary healthcare.

 

     *Voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

 

     That was two years ago, and Kelly hasn’t stopped or even softened his disdain for the LGBTQ community, because for people like him it’s not enough to disapprove of their lifestyle. He also wants to mete out punishment and impose his beliefs on them.

 

     The Trump administration, whose every act of cruelty has been backed to the hilt by Kelly, recently reversed non-discrimination protections for transgender people in health care. Civil rights groups said the reversal would allow health-care providers, as well as insurers, to deny services to transgender individuals.

 

     “This rule change serves no other purpose than to target and discriminate against LGBTQ people. The cruelty is the point,” Sasha Buchert, a senior attorney for Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project, said in a statement.

 

     In the culture war being waged by the Right, Kelly is a willing foot soldier in the quest to hurt those whose sexual orientation or gender identity don’t align with his own as he pathetically panders for votes from those who’ve put a target on the backs of these innocent people.

 

     Kelly likes to tout his Catholic faith. Apparently, his faith allows him to be just fine with this type of discrimination, along with traumatizing immigrant children by putting them in cages, cutting the social safety net and hurting the poor, passing tax plans that favor the rich, attacking peaceful protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets, trading more deaths from a pandemic for political gain, and supporting an immoral and corrupt president.

 

     Maybe he needs to review the Golden Rule.

 

     And maybe he needs to understand that when it comes to selecting our elected leaders, hypocrites like him need not apply.

 

     Sources:

 

     The House Just Passed a Sweeping LGBTQ Rights Bill. Vox. May 17, 2019.

     SCOTUS ruling could completely alter lives of LGBTQ Americans. USA Today. Oct. 8, 2019.

     Americans Show Broad Support for LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections. Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI). March 12, 2019.

     HRC Exposes Pennsylvania’s Anti-Equality Candidates. Human Rights Campaign. Nov. 2, 2018.

     Trump administration removes non-discrimination protections for transgender people in health care. Washington Post. June 12, 2020.

     Kelly Participates in Erie Silent March, press release. June 6, 2020

     Mike Kelly’s vote on the Equality Act.

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