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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

House Republicans dialed back the clock on Thursday, continuing a pattern of using “religious freedom” to justify homophobia — and Democrats were outraged.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) had earlier proposed an amendment designed to protect the LGBT community, and it appeared to be on the verge of passing — until it wasn’t. Democrats cheered what was initially a 217-206 decision in favor of the amendment, but over the course of the next few minutes, Republicans scrambled to flip enough votes to ultimately reject the decision, 213-212.

The amendment, which was related to President Obama’s executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers, would have banned federal contractors who discriminated against the LGBT community from performing government work. A defense bill provision passed Wednesday was seen by Democrats as a slippery slope towards allowing discrimination against the LGBT community on religious grounds, prompting Rep. Maloney to introduce the amendment.

Votes can still be changed after time expires — that’s exactly what happened here — but one must walk up to the chamber and change his or her vote in person. The Republicans who did change their votes didn’t follow that procedure, infuriating Democrats, who chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of abusing order to ensure discrimination. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) said Republicans used “dirty tricks” to get their way.

The fallout following the vote has since intensified, with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer releasing the names of the Republicans who changed votes: Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), David Valadao (Calif.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Greg Walden (Ore.), Mimi Walters (Calif.), David Yong (Iowa) and Bruce Poliquin (Maine).

House Republicans seemed visibly surprised — or, at the very least, confused — that Democrats reacted to the vote with such indignation. They were just towing the line: None of the 2016 GOP Presidential candidates supported marriage equality; Marco Rubio has said he is against any protections based on sexual orientation; Ted Cruz blasted an opponent for marching in a pride parade; and several GOP leaders are against LGBT adoption rights.

Photo and video: Associated Press.