Manchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written

Manchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP senator: Gun control debate 'hasn't changed much at all' back home What the gun safety debate says about Washington Sunday shows - Recession fears dominate MORE (D-W.Va.) said Monday that he would not support legislation intended to extend federal protections to the LGBTQ community unless it undergoes changes. 

Manchin said he opposes "discrimination of any kind" against the LGBTQ community but expressed concerns about whether the bill provided local officials with enough say.

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"I strongly support equality for all people and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind," Manchin said in a statement. "No one should be afraid of losing their job or losing their housing because of their sexual orientation."

"After speaking with local education officials in West Virginia, I am not convinced that the Equality Act as written provides sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it, particularly with respect to students transitioning between genders in public schools," he also noted.

Manchin added that he would "continue working with the sponsors of the bill to build broad bipartisan support and find a viable path forward for these critical protections so that I can vote in support of this bill."

The Equality Act aims to give federal protections against discrimination to people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Manchin's opposition to the legislation came under attack from his own state party, the West Virginia Democratic Party. 

"We simply cannot allow West Virginia to deny equality and protections for our LGBTQ community," the party said in a statement, according to Politico.

“If this past Legislative Session didn't prove that we need to fight against discrimination and hate even harder in West Virginia then I don't know what does,” the party said, before calling on Manchin to support The Equality Act. 

Manchin and Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiYoung Democrats look to replicate Ocasio-Cortez's primary path The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 jitters hit both parties in the Senate Justice Democrats issues 3 new endorsements for progressive candidates MORE (D-Ill.) are the only Democrats in Congress who have voiced opposition the bill, which was introduced by Democratic leaders last week. 

"No American should face discrimination based on who they are or who they love," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a tweet last week. 

Politico noted that the legislation is expected to be considered by the House this year. It's unlikely the Senate will take up the bill.