Pat Toomey – A Brave Man

In a procedural vote this week, the Senate advanced the ENDA bill which would ban workplace gender orientation discrimination.  The vote stalled at 59 for until one Republican broke ranks and voted yes.  At that point Toomey step up and added his vote (the 61st) and the filibuster was averted.  Was Toomey brave to run the risk of Tea Party and Evangelical wrath?

It did not take long to find out.  Hours later, Toomey announced that he would offer an amendment when ENDA was debated.  His amendment showed his real colors.

Toomey wants the legislation to include a religious exemption.  Hmmm.

What Toomey specifically means is that the Notre Dame football program which earns over $70 million per year competing in the rough and tumble college football league qualifies as a “religious organization”.  As such under Toomey’s amendment, Notre Dame, including its football program (which has not a trace of religion in it unless you hope Notre Dame beats the hell out of its opponent), could discriminate in hiring, promoting, and firing just because someone was homosexual or had chosen a different gender identity.

One simply has to wonder how politicians can parse this issue.  Why should it be ok to discriminate against anyone for any reason in today’s world?  (One certainly can argue about what constitutes discrimination and oppose legislation which is not clear.)

Toomey appears to be a competent person.  He carries, however, a lot of ideological baggage.  And these bags appear to be on the wrong side of history and out of step with the times.  Toomey voted to continue the government shut down, he voted against the Affordable Care Act, and now he is on record of being “for” and “against” ENDA.  It is this baggage that makes his voting record so confused.

Conservatives argue against ENDA along fairly predictable lines.  The notion that discrimination is in the eyes of the beholder and the only winners will be lawyers should not be dismissed as frivolous.  But the idea of a religious exclusion is laughable.  One could not pander any better.

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One Comment on “Pat Toomey – A Brave Man”


  1. The Senate bill passed with Pat Toomey voting in the majority. His amendment was defeated.


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