A Republican congressman read a Bible passage that advocated death for gay people to his colleagues before an LGBT rights vote.
Georgia Rep. Rick W Allen had led the opening prayer reading at a weekly House Republican conference, ahead of a vote on a spending bill amendment aiming to secure LGBT anti-discrimination protections.
Allen read a passage from Romans 1:18-32.
The passage states in part: “The men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
After accusing the men of “becoming filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity”, the verse claims that “God’s righteous decree [is] that those who do such things deserve death”.
He then continued to read a passage from Revelations prophesying the return of Jesus and the rapture, while Politico reports he suggested lawmakers who voted in favour were going to hell.
One anonymous pro-LGBT Republican lawmaker told the site: “A good number of members were furious. There was some Scripture that was read and the like. … Nothing good was going to happen to those that supported [the LGBT provision]. A good number of members were furious.”
The amendment passed by a vote of 223-195 – but the spending bill was ultimately voted down by the vote of 305 – 112, as Republicans and Democrats alike took exception at some of the many amendments attached to it.
JoDee Winterhof of the Human Rights Campaign said: “House Speaker Paul Ryan and the other members of the House Republican Leadership have a responsibility to immediately condemn Representative Allen’s vile and dangerous remarks this morning at an official meeting of the House Republican Conference, during which he said LGBT people are ‘worthy of death.’
“At a time when LGBT people face staggering rates of discrimination, harassment and violence, Representative Allen’s comments spread hate that does real harm.
“Representative Allen should apologize or be censured – and Republican leaders must make clear that they will not tolerate lawmakers who sow hatred and violence against LGBT people.”