UPDATE #2: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark Tuesday evening:
UPDATE: Yahoo! News:
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo, posed an even more outlandish scenario to one of the witnesses, Jami Contreras, who faced discrimination in seeking medical care for her child because she is in a same-sex marriage.
“Is it your position,” Buck asked Contreras, “that an Orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a Nazi patient?”
Nazis are not a protected class, meaning that adherents of a political ideology — in this case, fascism — are not covered by the anti-discrimination statute of the Civil Rights Act. A seemingly confused Contreras answered by pointing out that she and her wife were raising their child according to “Christian values” and wanted only protection from prejudice.
We’re picking our jaws up off the floor after being sent the video clip you can see above featuring GOP Rep. Ken Buck, the newly-elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, questioning a witness testifying on behalf of HR5, the Equality Act–a bill introduced in the U.S. House to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect Americans from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in addition the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Colorado already has discrimination protection enshrined in law for LGBT residents, but federal law has never been updated to match the protection that already exists here and in many states.
From Rep. Buck’s questioning of this witness, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t respect Colorado’s version of the law:
Chairman Jerry Nadler: Thank you gentlemen for yielding. The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Buck?
Rep. Ken Buck: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Ms. Contreras, I want to ask you a quick question, you said in your testimony that, uh that you uh had chosen a doctor, and uh the doctor refused to work with you and another doctor came in and worked with you. Did you receive inferior medical care?
Witness: Uh, possibly. I don’t know, to be honest with you. So we didn’t do any research on that doctor, we didn’t have the opportunity to…
Rep. Ken Buck: Did you have any complaints about the medical care that you received from that doctor?
Witness: There were some things in that uh meeting that were less than what we were looking for and what we expected from a pediatrician, yes.
Rep. Ken Buck: Did you, is your daughter healthy now?
Witness: She was healthy at the time, luckily, yeah.
Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient? [Pols emphasis]
Witness: Um, well, here’s what I, here’s what I believe. I believe that the Religious Freedom Act, uh religious freedoms are a core American value, I think it’s very important, um, I think it’s important that you know that I was raised on Christian values, came from a Christian home. Me and my wife are raising our children on those same values, which is respect everyone, love thy neighbor, treat everyone equally, um, which is…
Rep. Ken Buck: Would you answer my question? Should that doctor be required to take that patient?
Witness: I think that there are some people here who could answer that a little bit better than I could but I think that everyone should be treated equally.
Rep. David Cicilline: Mr. Buck, if you will yield, I’m happy to answer that question.
Rep. Ken Buck: I will not yield, I will not yield.
Rep. David Cicilline: I don’t think Nazis are a protected class…
Rep. Ken Buck: I reclaim my time. I will not yield. Professor Coleman, I have a question for you.
Chairman Jerry Nadler: Gentleman doesn’t want an answer, doesn’t have to yield.
Rep. Ken Buck: Well, that’s a nice cheap shot from the chairman, I appreciate that. I didn’t know the chairman…
Chairman Jerry Nadler: It’s not a cheap shot, it’s a real shot. [Pols emphasis]
You’re reading that right, folks. Rep. Ken Buck just today in the U.S. House of Representatives attacked an LGBT witness testifying about discrimination she experienced trying to obtain medical care for her children by comparing her to a Nazi. There’s a lot we could say about this, from the very reasonable point by Rep. David Cicilline that Nazis are not a protected class of people subject to discrimination to responding at length to the sheer outrageousness of Buck likening this mother’s experience getting medical care for her children with a Nazi seeking treatment for themselves.
The more you try to rationalize this, the worse it gets.
Even in Rep. Buck’s Eastern Plains arch-conservative district, it’s very difficult to imagine a majority of residents standing behind this extremely offensive suggestion. You’ve got to be awfully deep-fried in your disdain for LGBT people to genuinely believe their children should be victimized in a medical setting as if their parents had committed a crime against humanity. At any other time in modern American history, we would think that these scurrilous remarks would be both national news and a career-ending disaster.
But in Trump’s America–and apparently in Buck’s Colorado Republican Party–it’s just another sad day.