Republicans Use Defense Bill to Restrict Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care

Author: Christopher Wiggins

Amid contentious debate and controversial amendments addressing Republican culture wars and social issues, a party-line vote passed the sweeping defense policy bill on push their anti-equality agenda,” he said in a statement. “They showed their complete disregard for our LGBTQ+ servicemembers by adopting amendments that strip medically-necessary care from transgender servicemembers and their families, censor LGBTQ+ servicemembers by prohibiting the display of Pride flags, and ban books that include transgender people or discuss gender identity. These riders cannot stand, and my colleagues and I will use every tool to get them removed during conference.”

Vermont Rep. Becca Balint, an out Democrat, criticized House Republicans over these issues.

“This is a time when we come together to try to pass legislation to support our service members, and [Republicans] have made it hyperpartisan by inserting into it their culture wars and their bogus claims about ‘wokeism,’” she told The Advocate. “Service members, regardless of who they are, should get the health care they need, period. Full stop. That’s it.”

She added, “It is so disgusting to watch these extreme Republicans driving the policy of the Republican conference. They have made extreme positions mainstream now.”

Balint’s frustration is that Republicans are bullying vulnerable people by othering them and taking away their rights, she said.

However, she said that the GOP is up against those whose worldview is open and affirming to folks with diverse backgrounds.

“They want to erase the experiences of anyone who is not white and straight,” Balint said. “They would like to pass policy that makes it impossible for us to live our lives with dignity, with respect, with laws protecting us, and what they don’t understand is that we have built an incredible, vibrant coalition of groups who are standing together and we’re going to continue to bring more people into coalition with us.”

Balint noted that supporting the military had been a relatively bipartisan subject for years. Now that may be changing.

“Historically, we have been able to support our military, support our service members, and now they seem to be on the receiving end of this bogus ‘anti-woke’ narrative, which ultimately is going to make us less safe,” she said. “If we do not have a military that has the support and resources they need to support all service members, they are not going to be ready to defend and support our country. And that’s what is so dangerous about this path.”

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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