U.S. Senators Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited “discrimination on the basis of gender identity.” This, if passed, would have undone President Donald Trump’s decision to halt President Barack Obama’s executive order allowing transgender persons to openly serve in the military.
With no fanfare from Republicans, Senate GOP leadership blocked a vote on the amendment.
The problem with the Gillibrand-Collins proposal to prohibit “discrimination on the basis of gender identity” in the military is that they create a whole new set of problems by mischaracterizing concerns about the military’s affirmation of transgender identity. Just vague enough to sound harmless, this portion of the Gillibrand-Collins amendment purports to outlaw discrimination against current service members “solely on the basis of the member’s gender identity.” Much like the—or SOGI laws—that keep popping up around the country, however, the Gillibrand-Collins amendment makes “gender identity” into a protected class within the military. This action would legally equate gender identity, which is subjective and unverifiable, with objective and unchangeable traits like race.
Anderson responded to the news today in a released statement:
Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans showed wisdom and fortitude by opposing the radical Gillibrand-Collins Amendment to the NDAA and not even allowing it to come to a vote.
The substance of the Gillibrand-Collins Amendment would have been devastating to the military. By turning ‘gender identity’ into a protected class within military personnel, this amendment would have opened a Pandora’s box of military policy, endangering the rights of thousands of members, while putting politicized fads ahead of our national security.
Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans deserve credit for opposing this radical proposition right from the start, and for supporting the Trump administration’s ongoing deliberations on how to address those currently serving who are living with gender dysphoria.
The Democratic National Committee spokesperson Joel Kasnetz blasted the decision and said Republicans chose “bigotry over security.”
Last night, Republicans picked bigotry over security, and cowardice over taking a stand. By squashing even this incremental attempt to defend transgender members of the military against Trump’s offensive executive order, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican leadership are destroying lives and disrespecting the people who keep them safe.
We know Trump’s order, if implemented, could result in capable service members being discharged because of their gender identity. That is unacceptable. Democrats believe all capable Americans should be able to serve our country openly and we demand respect for all members of our armed forces.