28 Republicans Who Call Gay People ‘Groomers’ Just Voted Against a Bill Addressing Child Sex Abuse

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert—two of the loudest voices against imagined child predation by LGBTQ people—voted against the legislation.

28 Republicans Who Call Gay People ‘Groomers’ Just Voted Against a Bill Addressing Child Sex Abuse
Photo:Win McNamee (Getty Images)

For the past year, we’ve been subjected to an endless, escalating right-wing fearmongering campaign presenting LGBTQ adults as innate child sexual predators, or “groomers,” and any children in their vicinity as victims. People are literally throwing molotov cocktails into establishments that host drag events, under the guise of protecting children. The now-feuding Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) have been the most front-facing proponents of this rhetoric (even though Boebert’s husband was jailed for exposing himself to teens in a bowling alley a few years ago).

Yet, on Wednesday, Greene and Boebart joined 26 other House Republicans to vote against the bipartisan Respect for Child Survivors Act, which overwhelmingly passed out of the House anyway and will address how the FBI has historically mishandled child sexual abuse cases. The bill will create specific teams within the FBI to support child victims and investigate child sexual abuse, trafficking, and child abuse content. Neither Greene nor Boebert have publicly offered explanations for their votes, and frankly, they don’t have to—the gross hypocrisy of constantly lying that LGBTQ people pose a threat to children, all while declining to protect children from actual sexual predation, speaks for itself.

The bill—introduced by a bipartisan team of senators including Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)—comes after survivors of the abusive former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar testified before Congress on how their reports of his abuse were buried or mishandled by the FBI. Even with 28 Republicans opposed to the bill, the Respect for Child Survivors Act passed with 215 votes from Democrats and 170 from Republicans.

Other Republicans who voted against the bill include Rep. Paul Gosar (R-TX), perhaps most famous for being censured for posting an anime video of himself killing co-worker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and chronic far-right tweeter Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).

What really can be said at this point? Long before their votes on this bill, Boebert and Greene’s obsession with “groomers” and child sexual predation were disingenuous, exclusively focused on a nonexistent threat posed by LGBTQ adults just living openly. Time and again, their claims, made with zero basis, have yielded violent consequences. Last month, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado became the site of a mass shooting amid an evening drag performance. For months, bomb threats have plagued an openly gay California assembly member, Scott Wiener, and Boston Children’s Hospital for providing gender-affirming care. In a statement earlier this month, Wiener specifically blamed Greene for wielding her sizable online platform to direct slurs and hate at him.

Organized anti-LGBTQ attacks have been on the rise, in general, as top Republicans and conservative media spread lies about queer and trans people targeting kids—again, by merely existing. In just one weekend at the beginning of this month, right-wing protests targeted drag events in four different states, including a local drag queen story hour event in Columbus, Ohio, that was shut down by the Proud Boys. Per tracking from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data, there were nearly 10 times as many anti-LGBTQ demonstrations in 2021 than in 2020, with 2022 set to surpass 2021.

At the same time that Republican lawmakers claim to be interested in protecting kids from LGBTQ people, states are rapidly introducing bills to target and write queer and trans youth out of existence.

For all the terror and violence that Greene, Boebert, and their ilk have unleashed on LGBTQ communities—supposedly in defense of children—with their Wednesday vote on the Respect for Child Survivors Act, their real priorities are clear.

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