- The Magazine
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) delivered a fiery rebuke today to Republicans who opposed the Equality Act, a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that would protect LGBTQ people against discrimination nationwide.
Ultimately, only three Republicans crossed the aisle to join Democrats in passing the bill, which would enshrine protections for LGBTQ people into federal law.
In a speech delivered on the House floor prior to the bill’s passage, Pocan called any vote against the Equality Act a “vote for discrimination, plain and simple.”
Pocan said he had originally drafted a different speech, referencing his husband of 14 years, Phil Frank, and “the need for equal treatment under the law for everyone regardless of who they love.” But, Pocan said, the “new QAnon vibe” among Republican members had “gone too far.”
“For many in this chamber, this isn’t a debate about whether or not you should be legally discriminated against for who you love,” he said. “You won’t hear that debate because they can’t win on hate alone. The public doesn’t agree with them.”
Instead, Pocan said, Republicans are accusing the bill of discriminating against religious individuals, noting that it “doesn’t, because it treats everyone the same under the law.”
Pocan then turned to the “even sillier notion” being spread by some conservative figures that protecting transgender people from discrimination could lead a man to “pretend to be a woman to win in women’s sports,” which he called “a crazy, made up, fantasy notion.”
He then referenced GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who yesterday affixed a transphobic sign to the wall outside her office, oppose the office of Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), who has a transgender daughter.
Pocan said the “QAnon spirit” (Greene has previously supported the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory) was “also occurring in a nasty and hateful way.”
“A lead GOP opponent of this bill actually posted an anti-trans posted on the wall outside her office directly and intentionally across from a Democratic Member of Congress with a trans daughter,” Pocan said, sarcastically calling it, “classy.”
Pocan said his GOP colleagues were trying to “out-crazy” one another in order to “score points” with the Republican base and generate “social media clickbait.”
Listing the various ways LGBTQ people are impacted by discrimination, Pocan said it was “past time we put an end to this.”
“A vote against the Equality Act is a vote for discrimination, plain and simple,” he concluded. “This isn’t Iran or Somalia or Russia. This is America. Show human dignity for others by offering equal treatment under the law.”
In a tweet sharing his speech, Pocan went even further, labelling Republican opponents of the act “bigots.”
“I had a different speech prepared today — about the Equality Act and what it would mean to me & my husband of 16 years, Phil,” he wrote. “But then the @GOP showed just how willing they are to attack their colleagues, trans kids, & put their prejudice so openly on display. They are bigots.”
Watch his full speech below:
I had a different speech prepared today—about the Equality Act and what it would mean to me & my husband of 16 years, Phil.
But then the @GOP showed just how willing they are to attack their colleagues, trans kids, & put their prejudice so openly on display.
They are bigots. pic.twitter.com/ABOQGNfkYM
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) February 25, 2021
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