Prizm News / November 19, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Cleveland’s Marcia Fudge gets high scores from HRC but has refused to sponsor the latest federal nondiscrimination bill.
By Bob Vitale
An Ohio Democrat who’s considering a challenge to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is coming under scrutiny for what some say is a mixed record on LGBTQ issues.
U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Cleveland, who for 10 years has represented a Northeast Ohio district that stretches down to Akron, defends her decision not to cosponsor the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal nondiscrimination laws. And Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, an LGBTQ political group in her hometown, says her lack of sponsorship should not be taken as a lack of support for LGBTQ equality.
More than 100 LGBTQ activists and leaders, though, including big names such as Ohio’s Jim Obergefell, signed a letter Friday urging congressional Democrats to stand with Pelosi, whom they said has been “steadfast and unwavering” in her support of the community.
Although Fudge was a cosponsor of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act during her first three terms in Congress, she hasn’t attached her name to a successor nondiscrimination bill that has been introduced during the last two sessions.
In the most recent session of Congress, she was one of just two Democrats who refused to cosponsor the Equality Act.
Fudge issued a statement explaining that her objection was to the introduction of the Equality Act in 2015 as a revision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Earlier legislation stood on its own.
Fudge said she preferred a “new and modern civil rights bill” that would have included LGBTQ protections and updated the 1964 law’s provisions anti-discrimination provisions based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
“I would put my record of support for the LGBTQ community against anyone else’s and challenge anyone to refute it,” Fudge said. “I fully support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. There is not one vote that I have ever taken that is anti-LGBTQ. Every vote that has been brought to me, I have supported.
Human Rights Campaign legislative scorecards from Fudge’s 10 years in the House show her as a marriage-equality supporter and cosponsor of different LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination bills.
Her scores out of 100 for her five terms: 85, 92, 100, 100 and 97.
She was the only one of four incumbent U.S. House Democrats from Ohio, though, who didn’t get HRC’s endorsement for re-election in the Nov. 6 elections. HRC based its endorsements in part on incumbent lawmakers’ support of the Equality Act.
The nationwide advocacy organization didn’t endorse any candidate in the 11th Congressional District, where Fudge won re-election with 82 percent of the vote against her Republican challenger.
Cleveland Stonewall Democrats did endorse Fudge.
President Rob Rivera said Fudge is a longtime ally of the community. She has told the group that she supports the Equality Act and will vote for it when it reaches the House floor.