Anti-LGBTQ+ Kevin McCarthy first House speaker in US history to be ousted
United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has unwillingly made history as the first person to be ousted from the position in its 113 years of existence.
The Republican leader, who has expressed anti-LGBTQ+ views throughout his short-lived reign as House speaker, was voted out in a narrow 216 to 210 vote on Tuesday (3 October).
A vote to oust McCarthy was first filed by Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, a member of his own party and infamous Trump supporter.
Gaetz proposed the vote following last weekend’s tense efforts to avert a total government shutdown.
With just hours to spare, McCarthy managed to push through a stopgap bill and avoid furloughing hundreds of thousands of workers and halting government services – at least for another 45 days.
However, the former House Speaker only managed to get the temporary bill through with the help of Democrats, as Gaetz and other far-right figures refused to give their support.
In the final tally of Tuesday’s vote, 208 Democrats teamed up with eight Republicans to oust McCarthy, CNN reports.
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Political experts can’t decide on a clear successor for the role of house speaker, thanks to infighting within the Republican Party. However, it’s still possible for McCarthy to challenge the vote and regain his position.
McCarthy’s anti-LGBTQ+ history
McCarthy has had a long track record of opposing pro-LGBTQ+ measures throughout his political career.
In 2022, the former House Speaker voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, which repealed provisions that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Similarly, in 2011, he banded together with other Republicans to push for the Obama administration to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which would have barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage and banned same-sex couples from receiving federal spousal benefits.
And in 2019, McCarthy was among the majority of Republicans who voted against the Equality Act, which protects people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since being elected House Speaker in January, McCarthy has voted for even more LGBTQ+ restrictions.
For example, in April, the Republican leader voted for the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act” which would have banned transgender student athletes from playing on the spots teams that align with their gender identity.
A month earlier, he voted in favour of the “Parents’ Bill of Rights Act”, which would have required schools to notify parents when students asked to go by a different name or set of pronouns, or when trans girls were allowed to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.
Just this weekend, when heated discussions broke out within the US Capitol to avoid a government shutdown, McCarthy attempted to enforce a number of bills that would target transgender people.
That included banning the promotion of “transgenderism”, banning military servicemembers from transitioning, and introducing new restrictions on federal funding for medical care – a move that was blasted by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after the stop gap bill was eventually passed.
Kevin McCarthy has not issued a comment on his historical removal as of yet, but the White House has warned House Republicans that they must “quickly elect a Speaker” to take McCarthy’s place and deal with the “urgent challenges facing our nation.”
House Republicans are currently holding a closed-doors meeting to announce its next speaker, though the decision is expected to escalate already sky-high tensions among the GOP.
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