Dems slam Trump while reigniting fight for LGBT rights

Dems slam Trump while reigniting fight for LGBT rights
© Getty Images

Democrats slammed President Trump on Tuesday as they reignited efforts to protect LGBT people from discrimination.

“The Trump administration has quickly proved it will not defend and respect the rights of LGBT Americans,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a press conference to reintroduce the Equality Act.

The bill, led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban Overnight Defense: Army secretary easily confirmed | Army denies changing mental health standards | US to trim peacekeeping funds | House passes bill to speed up approval of battlefield medicines Senate approves Trump's Army pick MORE (D-Ore.), outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations and financial services.

Democrats highlighted the Trump administration’s recent decisions to roll back guidance that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, advance an anti-LGBT secretary of the Navy and leave LGBT questions off the 2020 census.

"On top of that, we continue to battle against the constant threat that the president will unravel rights for LGBT Americans through the so-called religious freedom executive actions," said Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

"More than ever before we need the Equality Act to finally give all Americans, regardless of who they love or how they love, the equal protections that we deserve."

Polis said Congress needs to pass the bill to ensure rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender Americans don't depend on a particular president or a particular attorney general.

“We’re here to make very clear President Trump does not represent who we are as a nation,” Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal Murkowski: ObamaCare fix not a precondition for tax vote MORE (D-Wash.) said.

“I want my children and grandchildren to live in a country where respect is valued, not derided, where bullies lose, not win, where hate is pushed back, not harnessed for political ends, and everyone, no matter where they come from or who they love, or who they are, are protected, respected and supported.”

Cicilline said the bill has 194 House co-sponsors, including one Republican. On the Senate side, Merkley said 46 Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation, but no Republicans.

“The bill has the co-sponsorship of 242 members of Congress, which is significant, and this introduction is the largest number of people at least in the House that we’ve ever had on the Equality Act,” Cicilline said. “So we’re building support.”

But he said it’s up to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDem: Ex-lawmaker tried to pin me to elevator door and kiss me Two months later: Puerto Rico doesn’t have power, education or economy running again On Capitol Hill, few name names on sexual harassment MORE (R-Wis.) to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

“I have every confidence that if the bill came to the floor it would pass because I think more members of Congress would recognize that voting to continue practices of discrimination against individuals is un-American and we would ,in fact, be successful in passing it,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do to get to that point."