The North Carolina GOP Senate nominee believes that a bill protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination bill represents 'the triumph of cancel culture over facts, reason, and empirical knowledge.'
At former President Donald Trump's urging, North Carolina Republicans selected Rep. Ted Budd last month to be their nominee for Senate. They cast their lot with an election denier with a long history of anti-LGBTQ extremism.
After three terms in the House and years running a Winston-Salem gun shop, the self-proclaimed "conservative Christian" Budd has said he is now seeking the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr because the chamber is "the last line of defense against becoming a woke socialist wasteland."
The Democratic nominee in the race is former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who would be North Carolina's first Black U.S. senator. She is a strong supporter of nondiscrimination protections and has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign as "a fierce ally to the LGBTQ+ community."
On the other hand, Budd has repeatedly backed legislation to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans and has refused to support basic civil rights protections for them.
Does not believe LGBTQ people should be covered by civil rights laws at all
The American Family Association, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ hate group, sent a questionnaire to Budd and other candidates for its "iVoterGuide." One of the questions asked was whether "Sexual orientation and gender identity should be protected classes in non-discrimination laws." Budd answered that they should not and that individuals and businesses should not "be required to provide services even if it would violate their moral and/or religious beliefs."
In February 2021, Budd voted against the Equality Act, a bill to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. On the day of the vote, Budd shared a critical opinion piece published in the Washington Examiner by Emilie Kao of the right-wing Heritage Foundation on social media, agreeing with her that "The so-called Equality Act is 'the triumph of cancel culture over facts, reason, and empirical knowledge."
In March 2020, Budd introduced H.R. 6099, the Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations Act, a bill that would have enshrined in federal law a series of special civil rights protections for social services organizations that discriminate against LGBTQ families.
"Sadly, despite the positive impact these organizations make every day, there is an ongoing crusade to shut them down or strip them of federal funding if they continue to follow their sincerely-held religious beliefs," he said in a statement announcing the bill. "That is why I'm proud to introduce legislation that ensures that faith-based providers of social services are not unfairly discriminated against for their religious beliefs.”
In 2019 he joined an amicus brief submitted on behalf of a number of Republicans in Congress to the Supreme Court in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County that argued federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sex should not be deemed to include sexual orientation or gender identity. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority of six justices, disagreed, ruling that firing someone just for being gay or transgender is indeed sex discrimination.
Supported a ban on transgender people serving openly in the military
In March 2019, Budd voted against a House resolution expressing opposition to the prohibition against openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military after the Trump administration announced such a ban.
That July, he also voted no on an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act that would have barred the military from discriminating on the basis of sex, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. After the majority of House members passed it and the broader defense bill over his objections, Budd accused them of having "put politics over our troops."
Backs discrimination against transgender inmates
In March of this year, Budd signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill intended to require federal prisons to discriminate against transgender people. The Preventing Violence Against Female Inmates Act of 2022 would determine where prisoners are housed in single-gender facilities purely based on their sex assigned at birth. This would mean that transgender men would be placed with women and transgender women would be placed with men.
Though the name suggests that transgender prisoners are a violent threat to cisgender women, studies show that transgender inmates experience disproportionately high levels of violence against them compared to cisgender inmates.
Transgender boys and girls should be barred from school sports
Budd is a co-sponsor of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2021, which would prohibit any federally funded school from allowing transgender girls to participate in girls' student athletic events. The legislation's purpose, it states, is "To provide that for purposes of determining compliance with title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth."
When the Democratic majority did not immediately schedule a vote on the bill, Budd in April signed a discharge petition aimed at forcing one.
Fighting marriage equality even after the Supreme Court affirmed it
In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex adult couples have a constitutional right to marry the person of their choosing. A year later, Budd ran for Congress vowing to fight to redefine marriage so as to only allow opposite-sex couples to wed.
According to his campaign website, Budd said, "My faith compels me to serve others, to love as Christ loved us, and to obey God rather than man."
"Our faith asks us to step forward and advocate for policies that help families to thrive. I will evaluate each vote by its effect on families. I am 100% pro-life and pro-family. I will fight for the right to life of the unborn and defend marriage as an institution of one man and one woman," Budd promised. "I also will protect religious freedom for individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and churches, because our country is as strong as our families and faiths are strong."
His 'Biblical lens' came from an anti-LGBTQ seminary
His Senate campaign site notes that Budd and his wife "earned Masters degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary to acquire a Biblical lens for all of life."
A Budd spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the American Independent Foundation about his personal views, but the seminary's "Marriage & Human Sexuality Policy" calls the Bible "the Word of God, which is our inspired, infallible, and inerrant guide," and says:
We believe God has ordained and created marriage to exist between one man and one woman, with absolute marital fidelity. ... DTS believes that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different (defined as an individual's immutable sex as objectively determined by genetics or physiology present by or before birth) but with equal personal dignity. Consequently, DTS students, faculty, administration, and staff must affirm their biological sex and refrain from any and all attempts to physically change, alter, or disagree with their created predominant biological sex — including but not limited to elective sex-reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary "genderqueer" acts or conduct.
Backed by bigots
Budd has consistently earned a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, meaning that he voted against legislation in support of LGBTQ rights at every single opportunity.
In March, he posted on his official House website about receiving awards from the political arms of the Family Research Council, also designated a hate group by the SPLC, and the anti-LGBTQ group Concerned Women for America. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins praised Budd, saying, "He has voted to reject the radical gender ideology that would overhaul our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity. He voted to protect women, the military, homeless shelters, and public restrooms from this harmful ideology."
Budd's endorsements page also highlights his anti-LGBTQ supporters.
One is the North Carolina Values Coalition, which pushed for the state's 2012 ban on same-sex marriage. The tax-exempt group opposes employment nondiscrimination laws, claiming they "coerce uniformity of thought and speech on beliefs about marriage, sex, and what it means to be male and female."
Another is from North Carolina's Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who during a speech at a church in Seagrove, North Carolina, in June 2021 said, "There's no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it 'filth.' If you don't like it that I called it 'filth,' come see me and I'll explain it to you."
In addition to receiving support from bigots, Budd has refused to condemn acts and expressions of hate. He was one of just 23 representatives — all Republicans — to vote against a March 2019 House resolution that condemned antisemitism, anti-Muslim discrimination, and bigotry against minority groups as "as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States."
Budd explained that he voted against condemning hate because the resolution did not specifically condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for her criticism of pro-Israel activists.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.