Anti-LGBT Amendment Voiding Obama’s Nondiscrimination E.O. Advances in Congress

May 18, 2016 • 8:52 am

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers on the House Rules Committee last night rejected a proposed fix to a discriminatory measure attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows federal contractors to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The anti-LGBT amendment, introduced by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), is a vaguely written measure that would likely upend President Obama’s executive order extending LGBT nondiscrimination protections to employees of federal contractors. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) led a bipartisan effort to kill Rep. Russell’s amendment, however Dent’s proposal was ruled out of order late last night.

“The Russell amendment is a sloppily written provision that is intended to roll back existing protections for LGBT people by undermining President Obama’s executive order,” said Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans executive director. “Americans overwhelmingly support protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Many will rightfully wonder why lawmakers in Congress are seeking not only to take us backwards, but to do so with an amendment attached to a bill that funds our military. This amendment does nothing to strengthen existing protections for religious freedom – its singular focus is to harm LGBT people.”

The amendment now must be addressed in conference committee. It would likely allow federal contractors that receive taxpayer dollars to discriminate in employment and services. This could impact a wide range of critical services, including but not limited to:

  • Adoption services
  • Homeless shelters
  • Job training
  • Counseling services
  • Health care support services

The Russell amendment to NDAA isn’t the only piece of anti-LGBT legislation receiving attention in Congress at the moment. House lawmakers may soon hold a hearing on the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which also would allow for taxpayer-funded discrimination. For more information on FADA, please visit

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.


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