John Fleming on Civil Rights
Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.
Congressional Summary:Congress finds the following:
Opponent's argument against bill: (David Brunori on Forbes.com): A bipartisan group of lawmakers thinks it's appropriate for the American taxpayer to subsidize organizations fighting for "traditional marriage." The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would give non-profit organizations that don't like gay marriage the ability to engage in partisan political activities without the fear of losing their exempt status. The sponsors are touting the bill as a means of protecting freedom of conscience on the issue of marriage. The proposed law will allow non-profit organizations to engage in political activity, as long as it's for championing heterosexual marriage, while non-profits supporting marriage equality cannot engage in partisan political activity. The tax laws should be neutral when it comes to politics.
Congressional summary::Prohibits any interpretation of US administrative agencies, as applied with respect to individuals domiciled in a state of the United States:
Opponent's argument against (CNN.com Feb. 8 report on Attorney General Eric Holder's action which prompted this bill): In a major milestone for gay rights, the US government expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, including bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits. "It is the Justice Department's policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation," Attorney General Eric Holder said. The federal expansion includes 34 states where same-sex marriage isn't legal. For example, a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts can now have a federal bankruptcy proceeding recognized in Alabama, even though it doesn't allow same-sex marriages.
Proponent's argument in favor (Washington Post Feb. 13 reporting on Sen. Ted Cruz): If passed, the bill would cede marriage definition to states for federal purposes, which would effectively reverse the gains same-sex couples made after the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2013. Cruz said, "I support traditional marriage. The federal government has tried to re-define marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens. The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states."
Heritage Action Summary: The Maloney Amendment would ratify President Obama's 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from what it describes as "discrimination" on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender identity" in their private employment policies. In practice, it would have required federal contractors to grant biologically male employees who identify as women unfettered access to women's lockers, showers, and bathrooms.
Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote NO: (5/25/2016): Congress should not be elevating sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class garnering special legal privileges, which is the intent of the Maloney Amendment. The Maloney Amendment constitutes bad policy that unnecessarily regulates businesses. It risks undoing longstanding protections in civil rights law and makes clear that the president's orders are not exempt from them.
ACLU recommendation to vote YES: (5/11/2016): We see today claims to a right to discriminate--by refusing to provide services to LGBT people--based on religious objections. Claiming a right to discriminate in the name of religion is not new. In the 1960s, we saw objections to laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. In those cases, we recognized that requiring integration was not about violating religious liberty; it was about ensuring fairness. It's no different today.
Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to impose those beliefs on others.
Legislative outcome: Amendment passed by the House 223-195-15 4/26/16; overall bill H.R.5055 failed 112-305-16 on 5/26/2016
Congressional Summary: The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that:
Political Argument Opposed: [ACLU, July 20, 2015]: The House of Representatives & leading anti-LGBT organizations are pushing a bill--disingenuously titled the First Amendment Defense Act--that would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples. This bill would
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing the Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission by the Congress:
Article--'The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.'
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate races 2017-8:
AL: Strange(R) ; no opponent yet
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(D) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs. Garcetti?(D)
CT: Murphy(D) ; no opponent yet
DE: Carper(D) vs. Biden?(D) vs. Markell?(D)
FL: Nelson(D) vs. DeSantis(R) vs. Jolly(R) vs. Lopez-Cantera(R)
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MT: Tester(D) vs. Racicot?(R)
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WA: Cantwell(D) ; no opponent yet
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WI: Baldwin(D) vs. Grothman?(R) vs. Gallagher?(R)
WY: Barrasso(R) ; no opponent yet
Senate Votes (analysis)
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