Religious right organizations are targeting Minnesota Republican Reps. Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen, along with 41 other Republicans, after a vote to include LGBT nondiscrimination into a water and energy bill last week.
On Wednesday, an energy and water spending bill failed to pass the House after an amendment was passed to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting. The amendment was offered by Rep. Sean Maloney, a Democrat from New York, and Reps. Emmer and Paulsen were among 43 other Republicans who voted to pass it. The energy and water spending bill eventually failed, though Emmer and Paulsen voted to pass it.
A week later, the criticism from conservative Christian organizations — who have largely been supportive of Emmer and Paulsen — have set their sites on the two Congressmen.
Longtime anti-LGBTQ activist Maggie Gallagher called them “Republican Traitors” in a piece for the conservative National Review. Gallagher, who is best known for her activism with the anti-LGBTQ National Organization for Marriage, went after Rep. Emmer directly:
Tom Emmer was the Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota when a GOP-controlled state legislature elected to put the question of gay marriage to voters. Even though the state’s electorate actually approved gay marriage, Emmer lost his race, and was treated as a pariah in certain circles. Hamline University withdrew an offer to let him teach when faculty complained about his “bigotry.” Apparently he has learned his lesson. (I called Emmer’s office and asked for an explanation of his vote but have received no response.)
The National Organization for Marriage has promised an ad campaign targeting the 43 Republicans who voted for the amendment, including Emmer and Paulsen. In an email, titled “Gutless House Republicans Betray Christians and People of Faith” the group said, “we’re planning an intense, targeted online advertising campaign to educate the constituents of these 43 Republican members of Congress about their representative’s vote.”
The Minnesota Child Protection League went after them on Facebook: “Two MN Republicans supported this horrid amendment: Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen The main bill went on to be defeated. However, these Members of Congress need to hear from you in a big way. Don’t take their spin.”
Concerned Women for America also jumped on the bandwagon: “It starts just like any other nefarious plan, “In the dead of night,” the group wrote. “If your congressman is on this list, he should hear from you. Tell him you are incredibly disappointed to hear he chose to side with President Obama and the transgender agenda against women and children’s safety.”
(The Concerned Women appeared to not notice the half-dozen Republican women who also voted for the amendment)
The American Family Association issued an email that read, in part: “It is a shame that a Republican led Congress is forcing Obama’s radical agenda down the American people’s throat.”
“43 Sellout Republicans Support Obama’s Transgender Agenda,” an email from the Traditional Values Coalition blared. “Enough is enough – it’s time to name names and call these losers out.”
Emmer and Paulsen also took heat from the Carver County GOP. Part of Carver County lies in his district.
Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen join a small minority of GOP reps in U.S. House who SUPPORT Obama's Transgender policies https://t.co/D3pi304e6A
— Carver County GOP (@CarverCountyGOP) May 28, 2016
Below are the emails referenced in this report: