March 17, 2020 at 11:50 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Rep. Lipinski, Democrat who opposed LGBTQ rights, unseated in Ill. primary
Dan Lipinski, Democratic Party, Illinois, United States House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, gay news, Washington Blade
Anti-LGBT Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) was unseated in the Democratic primary. (Photo public domain)

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who gained a reputation for being one of the last remaining Democrats in Congress who opposes LGBTQ rights, lost his claim to the Democratic nomination for re-election on Tuesday.

Democratic challenger Marie Newman was declared the victor in her bid to wrest the nomination from Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Newman had 47.7 percent of the vote compared to Lipinski’s 43.6 percent.

Lipinski is the reason LGBTQ rights advocates can’t say every House Democrat supports the Equality Act, legislation that would amend the Civil Rights of 1964 to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination under federal law. The Illinois Democrat isn’t among the list of co-sponsors for the legislation.

But Lipinski, a Catholic lawmaker who has served in Congress since 2005, has an anti-LGBTQ record that goes back further.

During his first term in Congress, he voted “present” in 2006 when a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage came to the House floor. In the subsequent Congress after Democrats took control, Lipinski in 2007 voted against a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on the House floor.

Lipinski was also the only Democratic co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act, which is seen to enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.”

The incident most revealing of Lipinski’s anti-LGBT views was a 2014 campaign mailer to his constituents organized by the anti-LGBT Illinois Family Institute.

That flyer indicated Lipinski backed a U.S. constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, supported a measure that would have prohibited the U.S. Justice Department from undermining the Defense of Marriage Act; and backed a conscience clause in major defense spending legislation seen to enable anti-LGBT harassment of service members.

Lipinski also opposes abortion rights. The Illinois Democrat signed a Republican-led friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Despite his anti-LGBT actions, it should be noted Lipinski’s record isn’t entirely hostile. The lawmaker has voted in favor of federal hate crimes protection legislation for LGBTQ people and in favor of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

For many years, progressive activist groups have sought to unseat Lipinski, but were successful. Despite major effort in support of Newman in 2018, Lipinski was able to narrowly hold on to the Democratic nomination.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement Newman’s win over Lipinksi was a major victory.

“The voters of Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District have spoken loud and clear, rejecting Rep. Dan Lipinski’s anti-choice, anti-equality, and anti-worker agenda,” Hogue said. “They have a champion in Marie Newman and soon will have a representative in Congress who shares their values and priorities.”

Anti-LGBTQ Democrats are an extraordinarily rare breed, but Lipinski isn’t the only one in Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) declined to vote on “Don’t As, Don’t Tell” repeal, refused to support the Equality Act based on “students transitioning between genders in public schools” and has never come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

In other news, former Vice President Joseph Biden swept each of the three states holding presidential primaries on Tuesday — Illinois, Florida and Arizona — in his bid against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for the Democratic nomination.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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