Rep. Al Green scolds GOP over Equality Act: ‘You used God to enslave my foreparents’
Green pushed back against Republican arguments invoking religion to kill the bill to protect LGBTQ rights.
Congressman Al Green, who represents the 9th district of Texas, gave a passionate speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday advocating the Equal Opportunities Act to introduce federal LGBTQ anti-discrimination protection.
In his speech, Green pushed back against Republican arguments invoking God and religion as a reason to kill the bill.
Texas Democratic MP Al Green gave a passionate speech in the House floor on Thursday, advocating the Equality Act. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
"And yet I get up, Mr. Speaker," Green began, quoting the late great poet Maya Angelou.
“You used God to enslave my ancestors. You used God to separate me in schools, ”intoned Green. “You used God to put me in the back of the bus. Ain't you shame God created everyone in this room. Are you saying that God made a mistake? "
He was referring to his Democratic Congressman, Rhode Island gay MP David Cicilline, who helped introduce the equality law last week.
"It's not about God, it's about men who choose to discriminate against other people because they have the power to do so," Green continued. “It does not appear from my records that I voted against Mr Cicilline, who has his rights. My report will show that when I had the opportunity to create freedom and justice for all, I voted for rights for all. "
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Green's speech was in response to Florida Republican MP Greg Steube, who said in his argument that transgender people are an "offense" against God.
"A woman must neither wear men's clothing nor a man wear women's clothing, because the Lord your God detests everyone who does this," Steube read from Deuteronomy 22: 5 in the Bible.
"When men or women claim to be able to choose their own sexual identity," he said, "they are making a statement that God did not know what He was doing when He created them."
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Green's remarks received applause from fellow Democrats. In addition, New York MP Jerry Nadler said, "What any religious tradition describes as God's will is none of this Congress's business."
The first clause in the US Bill of Rights states that "Congress must not pass a law that respects an institution of religion". The settlement clause is often described in the metaphor as “separation of church and state,” which, according to Dictionary.com, “is the principle that government must maintain a neutral stance on religion. The first change not only gives citizens the freedom to practice a religion of their choice, but also prevents the government from officially recognizing or preferring a religion. "
The Equal Opportunities Act, which changed the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide additional protection for LGBTQ Americans, was passed Thursday and received unanimous support from House Democrats and votes from three Republicans.
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Rep. Al Green Scolds GOP About Equality Act: "They used God to enslave my ancestors" first appeared on TheGrio.
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