GOP lawmaker who voted against major LGBTQ equality bill commemorates Pride

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Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) thinks 'religious liberty' should allow for discrimination against LGBTQ people.

A Republican member of Congress who voted against a bill that would provide LGBTQ people with federal nondiscrimination protections in housing, education, health care, jury service, and more issued a post on Friday marking Pride Month.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweeted a picture of the South Carolina flag with a rainbow superimposed over it.

She wrote, "The pandemic kept all of us from fully celebrating Pride here in the Lowcountry in 2020. But hopefully, as we finally begin to open back up, we can all come together to celebrate the challenges our LGBTQ+ has overcome, and the bright future ahead."

Only three House Republicans voted for the Equality Act this year: Tom Reed and John Katko of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

Mace defended her vote in an interview with the Washington Examiner in March. She said that she didn't want LGBTQ people to be discriminated against but that the bill would hurt religious liberty: "I do believe that religious liberty, the First Amendment, gay rights, and transgender equality can all coexist. I'm also a constitutionalist, and we have to ensure anti-discrimination laws don't violate First Amendment rights or religious freedom."

Her comments are similar to those of Senate Republicans who have refused to support the bill. Civil rights experts say that the claims that religious freedom would be restricted under the bill are not based in fact.

Mace claimed she is sensitive to the feelings and rights of LGBTQ people among her friends and family, but she maintains that "religious liberty" must afford people the right to discriminate against LGBTQ workers or deny services to LGBTQ people, she told the Examiner.

Mace has a history of opposing transgender equality and making anti-trans comments as well.

In 2020, she ran a campaign ad called "Parris Island" in which she took aim at her Democratic opponent in the 2020 race for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Joe Cunningham, saying that through his support of transgender people serving in the military, he would force the closure of a military base in the district.

The ad's narrator said, "Joe Cunningham's vote has put Parris Island on the chopping block. Cunningham and Pelosi passed a law requiring transgendered equality in the military a liberal mandate that will close Parris Island. Nancy Mace will defend the Lowcountry's heritage."

It cited two Military.com articles, one published in 2019 and another in 2020, to back its claims, but those stories themselves don't do so. Instead, they describe efforts to prevent the segregation of men and women in basic training and don't include any information about transgender equality.

Meanwhile, the reversal of the ban on transgender people serving in the military that was instituted in April 2019 under the Trump administration began only a few days into the presidency of Joe Biden.

Mace has also balked at the idea of terms for people who can get pregnant that are more inclusive of transgender and nonbinary people. In May, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) shared a video of her testimony about her experiences with discriminatory doctors and how it affected her health and the health of her child.

"Every day, Black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don't believe our pain," Bush tweeted.

In response, Mace quoted Bush and wrote, "'Birthing people' - you mean women or moms? The left is so woke they're stripping from women the one thing that only we can do."

She referred to Bush's choice of wording, which acknowledges that transgender men and many nonbinary people can have similar painful experiences in the health care system, as "catering to the fringes."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.