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Photo by Ryan Stanton, Creative Commons License 2.0

Senator Joe Manchin (D? -- West Virginia) announced yesterday he just can't bring himself to support national anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people because by gosh, it's got too much equality in it. That makes Manchin the sole Democrat in the Senate refusing to cosponsor the Equality Act, which would add protections for gender identity and sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. All other 46 Dems in the Senate signed on when the bill was introduced last week, but Joe Manchin says he just can't because what if trans kids in high school pee in a restroom bigots think they shouldn't pee in?


In a statement, Manchin explained he loves equality and hates discrimination, except when that discrimination might be popular with decent church-going people with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces:

I strongly support equality for all people and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. No one should be afraid of losing their job or losing their housing because of their sexual orientation [...] I am not convinced that the Equality Act as written provides sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it, particularly with respect to students transitioning between genders in public schools.

This is, of course some bullshit, but Politico reports Manchin decided, "after talking to officials in his state," that the feds simply need to allow more "local control" over the rights of trans teenagers. Nobody should lose their job or housing, but letting the state bully trans teens? Yeah, that's totally allowed. Prob'ly somewhere in the Tenth Amendment, let's say.

In addition to Manchin in the Senate, one House Dem also opposes the bill: Rep. Dan Lipinski from Illinois, the guy who ran against that literal Nazi on the GOP ticket. Good luck to Marie Newman, a progressive who's already running to primary Lipinski again.

As The Advocate points out, it wouldn't exactly be unthinkable for Manchin to buck the most rightwing elements in West Virginia, seeing as how the whole darn state is moving toward at least the late 20th century on LGBTQ rights, if not quite this one. Manchin remains, however, pretty much terrible on issues affecting gay and trans citizens.

[Manchin] did not sign onto the Equality Act when it was last introduced in 2017. He also was one of the last Senate Democrats to hold out against supporting same-sex marriage—along with Arkansas' Mark Pryor and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu.

As recently as October, Manchin claimed he personally opposes marriage equality but has accepted the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges ruling as settled law.

Might be useful to point out that Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu are no longer members of the US Senate, we are just saying. It's also no surprise that Manchin has the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) lowest ranking among Senate Dems, actually scoring lower than Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. "For fuckssake," a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson didn't quite add, but we did. An emailed statement from the HRC said the group remains

"committed to continuing to work with Sen. Manchin" to secure his support for the Equality Act.

"Typically, the kind of guidance Sen. Manchin raised is provided by federal agency regulations for implementation after passage of legislation," claimed HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "Federal courts are already holding schools accountable for discrimination against transgender students, and guidance and best practices are readily available."

"Claimed"? We will not quibble over style (we just did). The Advocate also notes that Joe Manchin's cousin is a real piece of work, not that Joe Manchin is his cousin's keeper, but holy fuckballs, West Goddamn Virginia:

The lawmaker's cousin, Harrison County Schools Superintendent Mark Manchin, came under fire in November 2018 when an administrator in his district, Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee Livengood, forced a 15-year-old trans student to use the urinal in front of him.

After a brief unpaid suspension, the Harrison County Board of Education unanimously reinstated Livengood in a unanimous vote earlier this year

It would certainly be unfair of anyone to suggest that's the sort of "local control" Manchin thinks is appropriate for Congress to protect, so instead we'll just look at Joe Manchin over the tops of our glasses with as much scorn as possible, while promising to support any half-decent primary opponent.

[Advocate / Politico / Roll Call / Photo by Ryan Stanton, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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