McCain’s long, terrible history on LGBT rights

McCain has consistently denied the LGBT community a chance at the American Dream

Opposing Marriage Equality, threatening to filibuster repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, appearing on anti-gay hate group radio, and even cosponsoring a bill allowing employers to fire someone just for being gay

Throughout his 33 years in Washington, John McCain has fought to treat LGBT Arizonans as second-class citizens. Whether it was supporting a ban on marriage equality, leading the opposition to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or cosponsoring a bill allowing employers to fire someone simply for being gay, McCain has not just turned his back on Arizona’s LGBT community, but actively worked to subvert their rights.

McCain has appeared regularly on a radio show hosted by the Family Research Council -- which was designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- and its leader, Tony Perkins. He even gladly accepted an award earlier this year from the group for his “unwavering commitment” to FRC’s principles.  McCain led the fight against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and mourned the successful  repeal as a "very sad day," claiming those who voted for repeal would "have blood on their hands."

And as recently as one year ago, McCain signed onto a bill that would allow employers to fire any employee simply for marrying a same-sex partner.

“In nearly every other way, John McCain has changed after 33 years in Washington, but the one issue he’s never wavered on is his atrocious record on LGBT issues,” said Enrique Gutierrez. “It’s unacceptable that McCain has cozied up to an anti-LGBT hate group, questioned the resolve of American service members in their ability to fulfill their duty simply because of their sexual orientation, and pushed to protect business who fire employees simply for being who they are. Arizonans deserve a senator like Ann Kirkpatrick, who will fight for every family and every community to be free from discrimination and have a chance at the American dream.”

 

BACKGROUND

MCCAIN FREQUENTLY APPEARED WITH ANTI-GAY HATE GROUP LEADER TONY PERKINS

 

November 2015: McCain To Perkins: “Thanks For The Great Work You Continue To Do.” “MCCAIN: Well I'm glad you were there, and thanks for that commercial and we always welcome you back, and thanks for the great work you continue to do, you're really welcome in Tucson, thanks for being there.” [McCain interview, Family Research Council, 11/20/15]

 

  • McCain To Perkins: “Thank You For Your Constant Message, Which Is For The Principles That We Stand And Believe In.” “Thank you Tony. It’s always good to be with you and thank you for your constant message, which is for the principles that we stand in, and so did our founding fathers.” [McCain, FRC Interview, 9/16/15]

 

  • April 2016: McCain Appeared On FRC’s Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. [McCain interview, Family Research Council, Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, 4/12/16]

 

  • February 2016: McCain Appeared On FRC’s Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. [McCain interview, Family Research Council, Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, 2/8/2016]

 

  • November 2015: McCain Appeared On FRC’s Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. [McCain interview, Family Research Council, Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, 11/20/15]

 

  • October 2015: McCain Appeared On FRC’s Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. [McCain interview, Family Research Council, Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, 10/15/15]

 

  • October 2015: McCain Appeared On FRC’s Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. [McCain interview, Family Research Council, Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, 10/7/15]

 

  • September 2015: McCain Appeared On FRC’s Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. [McCain interview, Family Research Council, Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, 9/16/15]

 

  • November 2010: SPLC Designated The Family Research Council A Hate-Group – A Designation Shared By Groups Like The Ku Klux Klan – For Its Leaders Anti-Gay Speech. According to Talking Points Memo, “The Family Research Council is perhaps the most prominent voice in conservative social politics and the hosts of an annual rite of passage for many Republicans who hope to run for president. And now, FRC is on the same Southern Poverty Law Center list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan. The SPLC gave the Family Research Council the designation due to anti-gay speech from its leaders, which the SPLC says includes calls for gay men and lesbians to be imprisoned. Labeling the Family Research Council a hate group puts one of Washington’s most powerful social issues advocates into the company of groups like the Nation of Islam and the now mostly defunct Aryan Nations in the eyes of the SPLC, which tracks 932 active hate groups in the U.S.” [Talking Points Memo, 11/24/10]

 

2010: MCCAIN THREATENED TO FILIBUSTER DADT REPEAL, SAID REPEAL WAS A SAD DAY

 

McCain Threatened To Filibuster Repeal Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In 2010 Politico reported that “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would filibuster a Democratic attempt to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ he said Sunday. The 2008 GOP presidential candidate said he would block a change during a lame duck session. ‘I will filibuster or stop it from being brought up until we have a thorough and complete study on the effect of morale and battle effectiveness,’ McCain said told Phoenix’s NBC affiliate.” [Politico, 10/18/10]

 

  • McCain Voted Against Senate FY 2011 NDAA. In December 2010, McCain voted against: “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to the bill that would authorize $725.7 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs in fiscal 2011. The bill also would repeal a 1993 law that codifies the ‘don't ask, don't tell’ policy on military service by openly gay men and women.” The motion was rejected 57-40. [CQ, 12/9/10; S. 3454, Vote 270, 12/9/10]

 

  • McCain Voted Against Defense Authorization Bill That Repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy.  In September 2010, McCain voted against a motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to the bill that would authorize $725.7 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs in fiscal 2011. It also would repeal a 1993 law that codifies the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on military service by openly gay men and women. [CQ; Vote 238, 9/21/10]

 

  • McCain Led Opposition To Repeal, Said Vote Was Sad Day In History. In 2010 the New York Times reported that “During the debate, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and his party’s presidential candidate in 2008, led the opposition to the repeal and said the vote was a sad day in history. ‘I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage,’ Mr. McCain said. ‘And we could possibly and probably, as the commandment of the Marine Corps said, and as I have been told by literally thousands of members of the military, harm the battle effectiveness vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military.’” [New York Times,12/18/10]

 

2015: MCCAIN: THE “INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE IS A UNION BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN.”

 

McCain After SCOTUS Decision Legalizing Gay Marriage: “I Continue To Believe That The Institution Of Marriage Is A Union Between A Man And A Woman.” “U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement on the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges: ‘While I have deep respect for Americans on all sides of this issue, I disagree with today’s decision. I continue to believe that the institution of marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I have long believed that questions about the definition of marriage should be settled by the people and their elected representatives, not the federal courts.  ‘I remain committed to upholding the religious freedom protections afforded to us under our Constitution to ensure that all Americans remain free to express and exercise their most firmly-held beliefs.” [Office of Sen. John McCain, Press Release, 6/26/15]

 

MCCAIN COSPONSORED A BILL TO LET EMPLOYERS FIRE SINGLE MOTHERS WHO GET PREGNANT

 

McCain Cosponsored A Bill That Could Allow Employers To Fire LGBT Arizonans, Single Women For Being Pregnant. In July 2015, McCain sponsored S.1598, the “First Amendment Defense Act,” a bill that: “Prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. […] Defines ‘person’ as any person regardless of religious affiliation, including corporations and other entities regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.” [S.1598, summary, 6/17/15; S.1598, cosponsors, 7/13/15]

 

  • The First Amendment Defense Act “Could Not Only Protect Employers Who Refuse To Hire Gay People… But Could Allow Your Boss To Fire You If He Thought You Were Having Premarital Sex.” “The language of [the First Amendment Defense Act] is so expansive it could not only protect employers who refuse to hire gay people the employer believes to be sexually active but could allow your boss to fire you if he thought you were having premarital sex. More important: It's a preview of what may be a core conservative legal strategy going forward.” [Cosmopolitan, 7/14/16]

 

  • FADA Would Bar Federal Government From Penalizing A Person Or Corporation That Discriminates Based On Religious Beliefs About Gay Marriage Or Extramarital Sex. “FADA would bar the federal government from imposing any penalty at all on someone who discriminates based on their religious belief or moral conviction that ‘(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.’ FADA would make it impossible for the government to remove tax-exempt status from a discriminatory institution or pull a grant from an employer who refuses to hire sexually active unmarried women.” [Cosmopolitan, 7/14/16]

###