Equality Caucus Reacts to Senate’s Failure to Pass Voting Reforms

Jan 20, 2022 Issues: LGBT Issues

Washington, D.C. – Leadership of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus today reacted to the Senate’s failure to pass key voting rights measures, noting how various voter suppression proposals across the county would disproportionately affect LGBTQ Americans.

The Senate’s refusal to protect voting rights is appalling. The right to cast a vote without impediment is fundamental to American democracy and has a long history of bipartisan support. All across the country Republican state legislators are passing laws to make it harder to vote. These burdens will be disproportionately felt by communities of color and other marginalized communities, including LGBTQ Americans,” said Equality Caucus Chair David N. Cicilline (RI-01). “No American should face undue, discriminatory hurdles when they exercise this fundamental right. Transgender people are at risk when rigid voter ID policies are passed which may not account for those who cannot change the gender marker on their official ID. LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness or LGBTQ elders who lack family support will find it harder to navigate new and unnecessary rules. And we know that LGBTQ people of color will bear the brunt of these policies. We stand with our colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus in expressing profound disappointment at the failure of the Senate, due principally to Republican opposition, to pass legislation to protect this sacred right. Every citizen of this country has the right to vote and to have that vote counted. Any Senator who stands in the way of voting rights should be held accountable.

“When the Senate failed to protect the right to vote, they gave the green light to state legislatures across the country to continue making it harder to vote – disenfranchising millions, including many in the LGBTQ community,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (WI-02). “This erosion in our democracy must be stopped immediately. We should be making it easier for Americans to vote, not harder, or we risk backsliding to when only a select few could vote.” 

“The fact that there are laws in 2022 that prevent Americans from accessing the ballot box is shameful, and the fact that last night, the United States Senate failed to do anything about it is unacceptable,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Mark Takano (CA-41). “My Republican colleagues have made it clear that they will be on the wrong side of history, but we can’t give up the fight – and we won’t. We will continue working each and every day to ensure that Americans from all walks of life are fully able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote and make their voice heard in our democracy.”

“Kansans are tired of feeling like billionaires get more of a say than we do in our elections, tired of feeling that Washington isn’t working for the people, and tired of partisan gerrymandering threatening to erase our vote – regardless of who we voted for. It’s disappointing that the Senate, and particularly Senate Republicans, refuse to take action on these most fundamental issues to our democracy,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Sharice Davids (KS-03). “But we didn’t stop at previous roadblocks – we kept working and kept bringing more people on board to fight the good fight. We won’t stop now.”

“Last night the nation watched as Senate Republicans stood in lockstep to obstruct vital and commonsense protections to voting rights,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Chris Pappas (NH-01). “The right to vote is sacred and is the bedrock on which our country is founded. We should be doing all we can to make it easier to vote, not putting up roadblocks and allowing systematic disenfranchisement to continue which disproportionately impacts communities of color and historically marginalized groups including LGBTQ+ individuals. This fight is not over and our job is not complete until voter protections and safeguards to our democracy are signed into law for every single American.”

“The sacred right to vote is the foundation on which our democracy is built,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Mondaire Jones (NY-17). “In the face of far-right attacks on that fundamental right, the Senate’s failure to reform the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation is inexcusable. Let’s be clear: the voter suppression laws being enacted around the country are a direct attack on the right of marginalized communities – including the LGBTQ+ community – to have a say in our democracy. With so much on the line, we refuse to give up. The fight to protect voting rights and save our democracy goes on.”

I’m appalled by the Senate’s failure to protect voting rights. Never before has there been such an outright assault on our democracy, and it’s up to Congress to preserve the universal right to participate in free and fair elections,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “As a Co-Chair of the Equality Caucus, and Member of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I remain committed to advancing the fight to deliver justice and equity for all Americans.”

Founded in 2008, the mission of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus is to promote equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Caucus, which is led by the nine openly LGBTQ+ members of the House of Representatives, is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. and around the world.

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