Carolinas leaders fail on LGBT issues

HRC Scorecard ranks U.S. House, Senate members

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization released its 110th Congressional Scorecard on Oct. 22 revealing an average failing grade for members of the U.S. House and Senate from the Carolinas.

The average Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Congressional Scorecard ranking for members of the U.S. House from the Carolinas was 30. Close to two-thirds of the House delegations received a zero. Only four received a score of 80 or more.

Of the U.S. Senators representing the Carolinas, only North Carolina’s elected officials — Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr — received more than a zero. For voting in favor of the reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Burr and Dole received 20 points each. Neither South Carolina U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint (R) nor Lindsey Graham (R) recieved a rating on the scorecard, having voted against every HRC legislative position.

In the U.S. Senate, HRC ranked members according to their votes or co-sponsorship on seven pieces of legislation, including the Uniting American Families Act, Tax Equity for Domestic Partner and Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the confirmation of conservative Judge Leslie Southwick and others.

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In the U.S. House, HRC ranked members according to their votes or co-sponsorship on 11 pieces of legislation, including the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act and others.

No member of the Carolinas delegation scored a perfect 100 in the 110th scorecard. Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) ranked the highest among their colleagues, with a score of 95 each. Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) scored at 80.

Since 1989, HRC has published a scorecard ranking members of Congress for each two year session of the nation’s highest legislative bodies. The organization says the scorecard exists as one way to assist the community in assessing the support their elected officials offer to LGBT issues.

“The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community began the process of unraveling the damage of the last decade during this two-year Congressional session,” said HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt. “The advancements made in this Congress on the Matthew Shepard Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, domestic partner benefits for federal civilian employees and repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are critical building blocks upon which we will continue to educate Members of Congress on the importance of federal protections for LGBT Americans.”

Of particular note, only one member of the Carolinas delegation, Rep. David Price, voted in favor of legislation that would have provided equal family benefits to LGBT federal civilian employees.

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No Republican U.S. Senator in South Carolina or Republican House members of either state received more than a zero. Only one Democrat, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC), who represents Eastern North Carolina, received a zero. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), in Western North Carolina, received the lowest score of 10.

110th Congressional Scorecard

North Carolina
U.S. Senate
Richard Burr (R) 20
Elizabeth Dole (R) 20

North Carolina
U.S. House

G.K. Butterfield (D) 70
Bob Etheridge (D) 55
Walter Jones (R) 0
David Price (D) 95
Virginia Foxx (R) 0
Howard Coble (R) 0
Mike McIntyre (D) 0
Robin Hayes (R) 0
Sue Myrick (R) 0
Patrick McHenry (R) 0
Heath Shuler (D) 10
Mel Watt (D) 80
Brad Miller (D) 95

South Carolina
U.S. Senate

Jim DeMint (R) 0
Lindsey Graham (R) 0

South Carolina
U.S. House

Henry Brown (R) 0
Joe Wilson (R) 0
J. Gresham Barrett (R) 0
Bob Inglis (R) 0
John Spratt (D) 65
James Clyburn (D) 95�

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.