POLITICS

Republican Senator Calls Equality Act For LGBTQ Rights 'Counterproductive'

Sen. Mike Lee, who has been accused of discrimination, said we're already "becoming more tolerant."

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) caused a stir Friday when he said the Equality Act, a landmark antidiscrimination bill that would extend civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community, was “counterproductive.”

After the Democrat-controlled House passed the measure Friday afternoon, Lee tweeted that people were already becoming more tolerant and that the legislation “unnecessarily pits communities against each other.”

Critics were quick to point out that Lee has discriminated against LGBTQ employees of the federal government as recently as last year. In December, he put a hold on the reappointment of Chai Feldblum, the first openly LGBTQ person to sit on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, because of her “radical views on marriage.”

He took particular issue with her view that people should not be able to cite their religious beliefs to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, writing in February that Feldblum has the “desire to use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters.”

Others pointed out that Lee is an unwavering supporter of President Donald Trump, who oversaw a ban on transgender people from serving in the armed forces. 

The Equality Act, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to existing federal nondiscrimination laws, now moves on to a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to pass.

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