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Wednesday, May 25 2016

Burr's Political Posturing On HB2 Is Too Little, Too Late

May 25, 2016

Senator Richard Burr is attempting to backtrack on his support of Governor Pat McCrory’s discriminatory HB2 law, saying that North Carolina Republicans went “too far” when they passed the anti-LGBT legislation.

Apparently Burr has seen the latest polls because up until this point, he’s been very supportive of HB2 and laws that hurt the LGBT community in general. Burr claimed that HB2 does not discriminate and “doesn’t involve federal issues.” He even went as far as to say that the job-killing law wasn’t affecting North Carolina’s business community.

In addition to the millions in economic and tourism revenue the state has lost to HB2, the Republicans’ law is putting $4.5 billion in federal education funding at risk. But only now, when it’s politically convenient, is Senator Burr ready to eat his words.

A look at his record on anti-LGBT legislation makes it clear, Senator Burr’s backtrack is political posturing:

SB 1598: Senator Burr signed on as a co-sponsor of SB 1598–the “First Amendment Defense Act”–on July 9th, 2015. The bill would open same-sex couples, as well as anyone engaging in sexual conduct outside a marriage between a man and a woman, open to discrimination from individuals, non-profit, or corporate entities. The text of the bill prevents the federal government from taking action against a person–defined here to include corporations–that, “acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” [Congressional Quarterly, 9/15/15]

2004: Burr Voted To Amend The Constitution To Define Marriage As Consisting Only Of The Union Of A Man And A Woman. In September 2004, Burr voted for a joint resolution, that would have, according to Congressional Quarterly, “propose[d] a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as consisting only of the union of a man and a woman. The U.S. Constitution or any state’s constitution could not be construed to require that marriage or any other constructs of marriage be conferred to any other union.” The vote was on a joint resolution to propose a constitutional amendment, which required a two-thirds majority for passage. The House rejected the resolution by a vote of 227 to 186. [House Vote 484, 9/30/04; Congressional Quarterly, 9/30/04; Article V, U.S. Constitution, 9/17/1787]

2013: Burr Voted Against The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Which Barred Employment Decisions On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation Or Gender Identity. In November 2013, Burr voted against ending debate on a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “would [have] prohibit[ed] employers, employment agencies and labor organizations from discriminating against an employee, applicant or member on the basis of his or her perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. It would [have] prohibit[ed] federal agencies and state and local governments from penalizing or withholding licenses, government contracts, tax exempt status or other benefits from religious organizations exempted from the bill.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 64 to 32; however, as of March 2014, the House had taken no substantive action on the measure. [Senate Vote 232, 11/7/13; Congressional Quarterly, 11/7/13; Congressional Actions, S. 815]

2013: Burr Voted To Allow Employers That Are Closely And Formally Tied To A Church Or Specific Religion To Discriminate Against LGBTQ Individuals In Hiring And Employment. In November 2013, Burr voted for an amendment that, according to CQ, “would [have] expand[ed] the bill’s religious organization exemption to include employers that are owned or managed substantially by churches, officially affiliated with religions or have a curriculum directed toward the propagation of a particular faith.” The amendment was rejected by a vote of 43 to 55. [Senate Vote 230, 11/7/13; Congressional Quarterly, 11/7/13]

2015: Burr Voted Against Prohibiting Discrimination Against LGBT Youth In Schools. In July 2015, Burr voted against banning discrimination and bullying at K-12 schools on account of sexual orientation and gender identity. According to the Washington Post, “In its first vote affecting gay people since the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, the Senate Tuesday rejected a federal prohibition against discrimination and bullying in K-12 public schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” The underlying legislation was an overhaul of No Child Left Behind. The vote was on passage on the amendment; the amendment was rejected by a vote of 52 to 45; 60 Senators voting yes would have been required for the adoption of the amendment. [Senate Vote 236, 6/14/15; Congressional Quarterly,7/14/15; Washington Post, 7/14/15 Congressional ActionsS. Amdt. 2093; Congressional Actions, S. Amdt. 2089; Congressional Actions, S. 1177]

Published: May 25, 2016

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