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Republican Matt Gaetz: Trans rights could make Trump ‘first female President’

Nick Duffy April 2, 2019
US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee

US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee (Alex Wong/Getty)

Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz has perhaps the most bizarre reason yet to oppose LGBT+ discrimination protections.

The Florida Republican spoke out during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act, a proposed law that would extend civil rights laws outlawing discrimination based on race and sex to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill is crucial to LGBT+ people across the US, as 30 states do not have state-level laws protecting them from discrimination in employment or public accommodations.

Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz: What if Trump says he is the first female President?

However, during the hearing on Tuesday (April 2), Gaetz claimed that he supports the bill in theory, but then came up with the weirdest possible reason to oppose it.

He said: “I strongly support the rights of transgender individuals.

“I will not denigrate or deny their struggles. But I am concerned about the potential bad actors who would exploit the provisions for their own gain.”

Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz
Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz (Alex Wong/Getty)

Gaetz expounded: “Consider this possibility — if President Trump were to say, I am now the first female president? Who would celebrate that?

“Would those who support the legislation think that’s a good thing, or would they be dismayed? Bad actors have already weaponized some ostensible equality laws for their own benefit.”

It is unclear who the hypothetical “bad actors” are.

Anti-LGBT Republicans focused attacks on women’s rights

Gaetz and other anti-LGBT Republicans focused fire on the bill’s implications for women’s rights during the hearing, mirroring the tactics of anti-LGBT evangelicals seeking to oppose the law.

It is the first time that Republican lawmakers, many of whom have made careers out of opposing women’s healthcare protections, appear to have taken much interest in protecting the rights of women.

The Equality Act is tipped to pass the House of Representatives, as Democrats hold a large majority in the chamber.

However, the law may face a rough ride in the Republican-controlled Senate.

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “No one should live in fear of discrimination or harassment because of who they are or whom they love.

“LGBTQ Americans still face real and persistent discrimination in their everyday lives, and their rights should not be determined by what side of a city or state line they live on.

“It’s crucial that Congress advance the bipartisan Equality Act, and today’s historic hearing by the House Judiciary Committee is an important first step toward ensuring LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination across this country.”

More: Matt Gaetz, Republican, Trans, Transgender, US

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