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Did you catch the drama that unfolded in Washington last night?

GIF via C-SPAN.


The House of Representatives devolved into a chaotic shouting match on May 19, 2016.

Even more than usual.

GIF via C-SPAN.

It all boils down to an amendment to H.R. 4974.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York had introduced a proposal that would've protected LGBT employees of federal contractors from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The amendment was attached to H.R. 4974, which funds military construction projects and the Veterans Administration.

Although it appeared the measure would pass, a handful of legislators switched their votes at the (very) last minute.

Maloney, who said the legislation had at one point garnered enough "yes" votes to sail through, told CNN that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy encouraged lawmakers to change their votes in the final seconds (of an already extended voting session) to block the measure.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

The bill was defeated 213 to 212.

At one point, many members started chanting "shame!" to state that the amendment had been blocked unfairly.

GIF via C-SPAN.

"They literally snatched discrimination out of the jaws of equality," Maloney told reporters after the session, accusing McCarthy of "twisting arms" for political gain. "We won this vote."

What happened on the House floor last night is just the latest edition in the backlash we've witnessed against LGBT rights. Judging from the internet's harsh reaction to those flip-flopping lawmakers, however, I certainly would not want to be them right now.




When lawmakers stand in the way of human rights, they usually learn the hard way that it's not OK.

Look at what happened in North Carolina.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

After legislators there passed the so-called "bathroom bill" — which forced people to use facilities that align with the gender they were assigned at birth, as opposed to the gender they identify as — the Justice Department stepped in to put them in their place. Most Americans agree: McCrory's "bathroom bill" is not the way to go.

And who could forget Indiana's infamous Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images.

When the state decided it was OK for businesses to discriminate against customers based on "religious freedoms," it — surprise! — didn't end well. Not only did massive pushback spur Gov. Mike Pence to scramble in "fixing" the legislation, but Indiana lost at least $60 million in tourism revenue because of it.

North Carolina and Indiana aren't alone, either. When lawmakers go against the grain of human progress, it's usually a losing effort.

Americans tend to prioritize human rights over politics — even when lawmakers haven't gotten the memo yet.

What happened on Thursday — the "twisting [of] arms," the extended voting session, oh, and the whole allowing discrimination thing — is not sitting well with plenty of constituents. Hopefully this time, like so many others, the American people will demand their representatives stand on the right side of history, too.

Watch C-SPAN's footage from the vote on May 19 below:

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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