Tables Turned on Largent Amendment – Defeated by 2 Votes in House
Floor Speeches by Republicans Kolbe, Wilson, Foley, Support from GOP Freshmen and GOP Vote-Switching from 1997 Turns Tide Against Anti-Gay Provision
(WASHINGTON, DC) – In another stunning political defeat for the far right, the Republican House voted to reject an amendment to the D.C. Appropriations bill which would have prohibited adoptions by same-sex couples in the District of Columbia. In a vote of 213-215, the amendment offered by Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) was defeated after passing in 1997 on a vote of 227 to192.
Among those leading the lobby effort against the Largent Amendment were openly gay Council member David Catania (R) of Washington, D.C., who wrote to House Speaker Dennis Hastert on July 27 in strong opposition to any riders on the D.C. Appropriations bill, and the Capital Area Log Cabin Club, which actively lobbies against intrusive and anti-gay riders each year during the D.C. appropriations debate in Congress.
"It's another dramatic sign that the tide is turning against the far right," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, who lobbied Republicans in the House to oppose the Largent amendment. "We're not only defeating their new initiatives like Hefley, but reversing previous gains like this amendment. The message is simple – bashing gays doesn't work, it hurts the party, and there are conservative Republicans who will stand up and publicly oppose you if you try it."
Conservative Republican House members took to the floor to debate against the measure, including openly gay Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), chairman of the Treasury/Postal Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who also helped lead the opposition to the anti-gay Hefley Amendment in 1998, and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), who gave an emotional opposition floor speech about "the kids that nobody wanted" who would be harmed by the amendment. Thirty-five Republicans voted no, including five Republicans – Rep. John Cooksey (R-LA), Rep. Thomas Ewing (R-IL), Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), and Rep. Mike Oxley (R-OH) – who voted yes in 1997.
Freshmen Republicans joined in the opposition, including Rep. Steve Kuykendall (R-CA) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), both of whom were supported by Log Cabin Republicans in 1998, and Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA).
List of Republicans voting NO on Largent Amendment (Compiled from the THOMAS website)