LGBT Rainbow Flag © 2008 Ludovic Berton (Wikimedia Commons)
LGBT Rainbow Flag © 2008 Ludovic Berton (Wikimedia Commons)

tca/dpa/GNA – Illinois U.S. Rep. Marie Newman’s push to pass a law that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans has put her at the center of a feud with controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a pro-Trump freshman congresswoman from Georgia who has espoused baseless conspiracy theories.

On Tuesday, Newman, a Democrat from suburban Chicago, took to the House floor urging for the passage of the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

During an emotional speech, the freshman Democrat from suburban La Grange choked up as she talked about how the law would offer protections for her transgender daughter.

“The right time to pass this act was decades ago. The second best time is right now,” Newman said. “I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter and the strongest, bravest person I know.”

On Wednesday, Taylor Green gave a floor speech in opposition of the bill and then unsuccessfully tried to adjourn the House to block its movement through the chamber. That prompted Newman, whose new office in Washington’s Longworth House Office Building is directly across the hall from Taylor Greene’s, to display a transgender flag in the hallway.

Newman tweeted a video of herself putting up the flag so that Taylor Greene “can look at it every time she opens her door.” That prompted Taylor Greene to post a similar video of herself putting up a sign on the wall across the hall from Newman that reads, “There are TWO genders MALE & FEMALE. ‘Trust the science!’”

Taylor Greene, however, did not stop there. She also sent out a tweet invoking Newman’s daughter.

“As mothers, we all love and support our children. But your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams,” Taylor Greene tweeted over a video of Newman’s floor speech.

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., recently relocated her Longworth office after she said Taylor Greene and her staff berated her without wearing masks.

Taylor Greene’s attack on Newman’s daughter drew outrage from various members of Congress, including Illinois U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who was one of 11 Republicans who voted with Democrats to exile Taylor Greene earlier this month by stripping her committee assignments in Congress.

“This is sad and I’m sorry this happened. Rep. Newman’s daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs,” Kinzinger tweeted. “This garbage must end, in order to #RestoreOurGOP.”

“Thank you for speaking out against this, Adam,” Newman replied.

In response to Taylor Greene’s tweets, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, another Illinois Democrat, wrote, “Sometimes on Twitter, as in life, people remind you exactly who and what they are. I’m proud to fight for equality with @RepMarieNewman, and I’m moved by her courage and that of her daughter.”

Fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten responded on Twitter to Newman, saying Taylor Greene’s actions were “sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel. This hate is exactly why the Equality Act is necessary and what we must protect Rep Marie Newman’s daughter and all our LGBTQ loved ones against.”

Taylor Greene has drawn the ire of Democrats and some Republicans for spreading baseless QAnon conspiracy theories and bigoted misinformation, supporting the killing of Democrats and posting a video in which she suggested 9/11 was a hoax. She also suggested California wildfires had been caused by laser beams from space controlled by a wealthy Jewish family.

“There’s no lower low than going after someone’s kids,” U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., tweeted in support of Newman. “What a horrible performance by Congress’ worst transphobic conspiracy theorist. Stay (Q)lassy, Marjorie.”

The Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, would prohibit the discrimination of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people in the public and private sector. The bill states businesses, hospitals and other institutions could not deny individuals access to a locker room or restroom based on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In her floor speech Wednesday, Taylor Greene echoed arguments other Republicans made in 2019 when the bill passed the House, but stalled in the then-Republican controlled Senate. She contended the legislation would weaken the rights of women.

She went on to give the example of her daughter, whom she said played Division I college softball and would not have achieved the same success if the Equality Act passed.

“If she has to compete against boys in her sport, not only will they be on her playing field and she has to compete against them, they will be in her locker room, they will be in her showers, they will be in her bathroom, they will be in her hotel room when she travels with her team,” Taylor Greene said. “This is about right and wrong. This is about girls’ and women’s rights.”

Taylor Greene also suggested that women in prison and in shelters would no longer have the same protections they currently have from “trans men, biological men who identify as women.”

“It is one thing to stop discrimination of a class of people, but it is another thing to completely violate and destroy the rights of girls and women in order to achieve this,” Taylor Greene said. “This bill must be struck down.”

On Twitter, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismissed Taylor Greene’s tweets on the legislation, stating that “women’s rights include trans women.” In 2019, the bill passed the House on a 236-173 vote, including the support of eight Republicans. Democratic President Joe Biden supports the legislation.

Newman, who started the national nonprofit program “Team Up To Stop Bullying” after her son Quinn was bullied in school, emotionally recalled her daughter Evie’s experience as a transgender woman in her House speech.

Newman noted that “millions of Americans continue to be denied housing, education, public services and much, much more because they identify as members of the LGBTQ community, Americans like my own daughter who bravely came out to her parents as transgender.”

“I knew from that day on my daughter would be living in a nation where in most of its states, she could be discriminated against, merely because of who she is, and yet it was still the happiest day of my life,” Newman said. “My daughter has found her authentic self.”

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