November 20, 2015 at 12:50 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay, bisexual lawmakers support bill to block Syrian refugees

Jared Polis, Democratic Party, Colorado, United States House of Representatives, gay news, Washington Blade, Victory Fund, Congressional LGBT Pride Reception

Gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is among the three out members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted for a bill that would block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from resettling in the country. (Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas).

Three out members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted for a bill that would block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from resettling in the U.S.

U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) were among the 47 Democrats who supported the measure that passed by a 289-137 vote margin.

Reuters reported the measure would suspend the White House’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrians to resettle in the U.S. in fiscal year 2016. The news wire said the bill would also require the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and national intelligence to verify each Syrian refugee is not a security risk before they are allowed to enter the country.

Lawmakers approved the bill six days after the Islamic State — a Sunni militant group also known as Daesh that controls portions of Syria and Iraq — claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and more than 300 others injured.

The three lawmakers joined 44 other Democrats in voting for the bill, even though President Obama has threatened to veto it.

The measure passed in the Republican-controlled House by a veto-proof margin. Senate Democrats on Thursday announced they plan to block the bill.

“Our nation has long stood as a beacon of freedom, but after the events of the last few weeks some leaders have given into fear and turned their backs on refugees,” said Maloney in a statement he released after the vote. “These actions are reprehensible, and present a false choice between our values and our security. It’s understandable that people are scared, and Americans have a right to know that the process we use to screen refugees will keep us safe. I have faith in our system, and I don’t believe these refugees — the overwhelming majority of whom are women, elderly, and children — threaten our communities or national security. So instead of slowing the program or pausing it, the administration should agree to immediately certify refugees if they pass the current extensive screenings and we should all refocus on actual threats.”

Sinema also issued a statement in which she explained her vote.

“The Islamic State is a legitimate, immediate threat to the United States,” said the Arizona Democrat. ”Congress and the Administration have a duty to keep our country safe from terrorism, and this legislation provides an added level of security to our robust refugee vetting process.”

“Welcoming refugees is part of America’s legacy, and we must continue to be a safe haven for the most vulnerable in our world,” she added. “Today’s bill strengthens our already thorough refugee screening process so we can both keep our country safe and continue to shelter those in need.”

“I support allowing greater numbers of refugees fleeing violence — beyond the administration’s suggested number of 10,000 — to find safety here, and I support improving our vetting system to ensure that those we admit will make our country safer,” Polis told the Washington Blade in a statement.

“The SAFE (Security Against Foreign Enemies) Act enables us to continue accepting refugees while strengthening our already-extensive vetting process so that we are taking every step within our power to ensure the safety of the American people,” added the Colorado Democrat. “Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve forcefully advocated for enabling children and families whose lives have been torn apart by violence to take refuge in the United States, and I very much want to see the United States accept more refugees of all faiths fleeing from ISIS.”

The three lawmakers faced criticism from constituents and others over their vote in favor of the bill.

“Today you voted for fear,” wrote a man on Sinema’s Facebook page. “You have essentially sided with the terrorists and what they want by making it virtually impossible for refugees to come here.”

Jamie McGonnigal, an LGBT rights advocate in D.C., also criticized the three lawmakers.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, is among the more than two dozen governors who have urged the Obama administration to no longer resettle Syrian refugees in their respective jurisdictions in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner earlier this week told reporters that all refugees undergo “rigorous screening and security checks” before they are allowed to resettle in the U.S. He said Syrian refugees “go through…additional forms of security screenings.”

Advocates have urged the White House to allow 500 LGBT Syrians to resettle in the U.S. in the 2016 fiscal year. Log Cabin Republicans is among the groups that support calls to block Syrian refugees from entering the country after the Paris attacks.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

43 Comments
  • Attack and ultimately destroy Iraq, destabilize the region, then leave the ensuing refugee catastrophe to Europe. Nice.

  • What are you people complaining about? Were you hoping for the arrival of large numbers of unaccompanied orphan boys?

    • Have you been ignorant your entire life. You fool!!

      • Have you always been a pervert?

        • Have you always walked around with your head up your fat behind. You are one ignorant jackass!!

          • Yours is a rhetorical question. My ‘behind’ is not fat, and my cranium is right where it should be. You are not asking for information, merely trying (and not succeeding) in insulting me.

            In contradistinction, my question is a real question. You are obviously a pervert, otherwise you wouldn’t be so vehemently indignant at my comment. So, my question, Skippy, is whether you have always been one or was there a time you consciously decided you liked to commit disgusting acts with other men?

            But the original question was also serious. Why should the fact that sexually deviant ‘lawmakers’ oppose indiscriminate importation of Muslim ‘refugees’ be offensive to sexual deviants generally? These people have a common personality defect, but they are not all stupid or insane.

          • In the first place jackass, being gay doesn’t make you sexually deviant. Referring to gay people as deviants does make you an ignorant jackass though. You sound like you are jealous because no rational man would bother to be with you sexually. You are the one with the problem. Why do you feel the need to makes ignorant and completely wrong posts on the section of a gay newspaper.

            Seems to me that you seek attention from other men but are just to stupid to do it in a positive way. You poor pathetic excuse of a human being. I guess you have been ignorant and rejected your entire life.

          • 1. Homosexuality is sexual deviance by definition.
            2. Homosexuality is not benign. Homosexuals are highly disproportionately sexually violent, prone to substance abuse, grotesquely promiscuous, suffer from much higher rates of depression an suicide, and represent the larges ‘reservoir’ of active sexually transmitted disease in the nation. In other words, you are public health risks.
            3. Projection is always the last refuge of a deviant who has lost the argument.

            Have a nice day, Sparky.

          • Your post just proved that you are the deviant because you are the one projecting. Provided your sources you jackass – you are afraid to because you know that you are wrong. Just like you block your profile out of fear. Plus what are you 110? Words like sparky and droll show your age. You are one sad pathetic individual, seeking the attention of men that would never be interested in an old gas bag like you – Thanks for the laugh.

          • So you are in denial about your drastically reduced life expectancy. Enjoy, Skippy.

            And ‘droll’ is no longer acceptable English usage? How amusing.

          • No truth to your projected statement. Although ignorant jackasses like you do have a drastically reduced life expectancy. Again you use how amusing, another old gas bag phrase. So you are old, ignorant and fat with a reduced life expectancy. No wonder you hate so much and are not attractive to anyone.

          • You doth protest too much.

          • Try this as a real source, you ignorant attention seeking ancient jackass https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality

          • Um … Wikipedia. Pass.

            How about an article from one of your own ‘advocacy’ websites citing to peer-reviewed surveys: http://www.advocate.com/crime/2014/09/04/2-studies-prove-domestic-violence-lgbt-issue

            Google ‘homosexual’ along with a description of any social dysfunction (drug abuse, STDs, etc. etc. etc.) and you get hundreds of thousands of references to the fact that you people lead nasty brutish lives.

          • Again, you project your own failings as a fat, ugly human seeking male attention but always being rejected. I feel sorry for you, especially considering how old you are.

          • You can console yourself with the thought that few homosexuals live to old age.

            And I will console myself with the knowledge that somewhere in America is a poor deluded young man with a debilitating personality disorder foaming at the mouth and typing furiously and angrily into the void. How very sad.

          • You are going to have to reconcile yourself to the fact that homosexuals cannot insult normal people. Normal people are unaffected by the anger or scorn of sexual deviants. It’s sort of like being ridiculed for not having AIDS or syphilis (which you folks have in abundance). Don’t forget your antibiotics, cupcake.

          • You are far from normal and AIDS is just not a gay affliction. If you are so unaffected by my scorn why do you feel the need to reply. Oh that’s right because you are an attention seeking pathetic jackass Cupcake – seriously – are you ancient or something?

          • Funny, but I’m not the one resorting to hysterical rhetoric. I’m not insulted by you. Nor do I hate homosexuals. I find them objects of pity.

        • You are so cowardly, you even have your profile blocked. You inferior imbecile.

  • What a despicable thing to do. These people should know better than to use the law to promote bigotry, ignorance, and fear.

  • Despicable for Gays, Bi’s and anyone else approve anything that goes against our deeply held fundamental beliefs on which Our Nation was founded!!! A National shame and embarrassment!!!

  • And to think that I supported these candidates’ campaigns in the past! No more. They were punk’d into pandering to the lowest level of ignorance and fear — do they even know anyone, particularly an LGBTI individual, who has been through the existing refugee clearance process?!

  • One cannot imagine the “flaws” in the character of these Democratic representatives who, above all people, should know and recognize unjustified prejudice against a particular group of people. Especially considering the humanitarian needs.

  • They would rather see someone of the same persuasion (LGBT) who is a Muslim to be executed by ISIS? You got blood on your hand…

    • ISIS is hardly the only Muslim governmental entity that murders gay people only because they are gay.

      Brunei does it. Saudi Arabia does it.

      Where is your petition to increase quotas for gay asylum seekers from countries where they are persecuted by Muslim governments?

  • We can all agree with

    Harvard psychology professor Steven A. Pinker’s remarks Thursday may have surprised some of his listeners. Violence, he said, has been declining continuously over the course of human history and will continue to fall in the future…[Allah willing].

    Multi-culturalism is flourishing, except that Jihad uses mass murder as an everyday political political tool…so if we ignore Jihad…

    • The Syrian refugee straw-man threat is as despicable as it is politically effective.

      But don’t blame congressional Dems for turning their backs on an obviously amateurish commander-in-chief– and his equally amateurish advisors. Maybe Obama, too, has been cursed by the arrogance of presidents’ second terms.

      Mass bigotry against any *perceived* enemy — even widow and orphan war refugees– can flourish when a commander-in-chief and his statecraft amateurs suddenly start making excuses for the triumph of ISIS (Daesh) mass murders over Obama’s feckless military actions against “ISIL.”

      BTW, these WH/Pentagon Keystone Cops did not even know (or care) enough to brand a ruthless enemy to the advantage of America and its allies.

      If you claim that ruthless, demented killers do not constitute anything as civilized as the term, *STATE*, then do not effectively legitimize said killers by using said term in public. Duh.

      Also “what is true” is that Obama, in part, created the Syrian refugee problem by failing to anticipate it, and head it off with simple no-fly zones and humanitarian relief drops.

      WH amateurs’ micro-management of the so-called ‘bombing campaign’– even now, is a prescription for its failure.

      Trying to save civilian infrastructure– so, effectively protecting said infrastructure for the use of Daesh killers and terrorist trainers– against Americans and their allies, mind you– is a level of WH/Pentagon FUBAR that is mind-blowing.

      This is not rocket science. Obama and Kerry simply do not understand one of the fundamental basics of warfare. Break the will of your enemy to resist.

      This mistaken and misguided WH is now making it easier for Daesh to resist America and its allies. Paris is clearly one of the tragic results of that mistaken thinking.

      • While your concern for my morals is noted, Jihad is actually evil, see Paris.

        Your desire to disassociate Jihad from Islam is counterfactual, political, and French.

        I will not welcome the evil of Jihad into my home, sorry :-)

  • The administration is not credible on this, unfortunately. Obama and Kerry have demonstrated a pattern of not correctly understanding the threat. (And mind you, I voted for Obama twice). First Obama called ISIS “J.V.” and then that was aggravated when he alleged he didn’t say that, but fact-checking showed that he did in fact say it. Then, he alleged that “we” had ISIS “contained” and a short time later, ISIS carried out massacres in Paris. Obama has not even acknowledged that he was wrong about ISIS being contained. To the contrary, he and some of his supporters now try to tell us that the word contained does not mean what it means. Then we had Kerry saying that the jihadist slaughters at Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in Paris had “legitimacy” and a “rationale.” And more recently, Kerry alleged that al-Qaeda had been “neutralized,” but a short while afterwards al-Qaeda carried out a massacre in Mali. So there’s no basis for trusting the administration even to understand what the threat from mainly Muslim refugees is. (As a reminder, the first attack against the World Trade Center in the 1990s was organized in a mosque; sorry if the truth hurts). Obama poses with a little girl in Malaysia, to promote his policy of letting masses of grown men from Syria in. Russian authorities warned U.S. authorities not once, but twice, that the elder Tsarnaev brother was a jihadist with evil intent. The federal government had those warnings but it did not stop the Tsarnaev brothers from shattering the lives of umpteen people at the Boston Marathon. This propaganda from the White House is insufficient and unacceptable. While some of the reactions (i.e. Trump) have been too extreme, many of us have reasonable apprehensions and doubts about Obama’s plans, but he calls us “un-American.” What’s un-American is not to listen to what constituents are thinking.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2018. All rights reserved.
Blade Blast

Get the latest LGBTQ news to your inbox every Thursday!