Republican senator quotes JK Rowling’s essay on trans people to shut down a vote on LGBT+ rights
A Republican senator quoted JK Rowling to argue against expanding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT+ people and shutting down the vote.
In the wake of this week’s historic Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBT+ people from employment discrimination, Democratic senators pushed for a vote on the Equality Act on Thursday (June 18) to expand protections for the LGBT+ community.
Passing the Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act, codifying protections for LGBT+ people against employment discrimination, and also protecting them from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
If passed, the Equality Act would also mean that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that protects religious liberty, could not be used to enable discrimination against LGBT+ people.
According to the Washington Blade, Democratic senator Jeff Merkley, the chief sponsor of the bill, implored senators to vote unanimously to pass the bill and said that the Equality Act would provide “the opportunity for every individual to thrive in our nation”.
But Republican senator James Lankford objected and effectively shut down the vote.
Lankford insisted that the Equality Act needed to provide exemptions for religious liberty, and then went on to quote Harry Potter author JK Rowling to argue against the legislation.
Citing Rowling’s recent essay defending her views on trans people, he said: “We don’t want anyone to be discriminated against, anyone, but we can do this in a way that accommodates everyone, and that we can actually work towards agreement.
“To say in the words of JK Rowling this past week where she wrote: ‘All I’m asking, all I want is for similar empathy, similar understanding to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats or abuse.’
“Let’s work together to get equality. This bill does not do it in this form.”