In a rare moment of bipartisan agreement, a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation to ban the production, sale, distribution, and advertising of “homosexuality-themed” movies and television shows, including “Lesbian Porno” and “Gay-Busting.”
The proposal is aimed at banning productions that depict gay characters and relationships in a negative light.
“The LGBT community is a vibrant and growing community,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a co-sponsor of the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
“I believe the United States of America should remain the nation that welcomes all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or gender identity.
And that includes people of color.”
The legislation was sponsored and cosponsored by Reps.
John Conyers, D, Mich., and Jackie Speier, D., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
It was also cosponsored by Reps.
Steve Cohen, D (Tenn.), and Ted Lieu, D(Calif.), the top Republican on the panel.
“Homosexuality has always been a part of our society, and there is nothing wrong with anyone who believes in the fullness of the human experience,” Cohen said in a statement to Politico.
“But I’m concerned that our political leaders in Washington, D.C., are moving in the opposite direction.
Instead of encouraging tolerance, they are actively promoting hatred and bigotry.”
The bill is part of a broader effort by progressive lawmakers across the country to restrict the free expression of views that might offend conservative Christians, many of whom believe gay people should be put to death.
The legislation also is likely to face some opposition from the White House, which has called for the legislation to be stripped of all references to LGBT people.
“While the LGBT community has always fought for fairness, it has also made strides to ensure that they do not have to live with the threat of death,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
“We have seen a great deal of progress on issues of equality for the LGBT population, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to promote that progress.
This is a time for us to do that and to advance the progress we all seek.”
The move by Cole and Lee comes after a string of incidents over the past year that have cast a shadow over the nation’s gay rights agenda.
In April, a gay man in Pennsylvania was charged with attempted murder after he allegedly shot his estranged partner after the two argued over whether or not they should continue to have sex.
In August, the state of Kentucky banned same-sex marriage in its state.
And in December, an Alabama state lawmaker introduced a bill to outlaw gay marriage, arguing that the practice should be banned because of the risk it poses to the state’s economy.
The bill has not been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, and the full House will likely vote on the bill in March.
“This is a bill that is not meant to have any effect on our constitutional rights,” Cole told Politico.
Rep. John Lewis, D of Georgia, who also is a coauthor of the legislation, said the bill was not intended to be punitive, but rather to create a framework for lawmakers to craft legislation that could be adopted in future.
“It’s about getting the bill out of committee, and if we can get it passed, then that is all that really matters,” Lewis told Politico in an interview.
“You can’t just go into this and try to ban it.”
But the bill is unlikely to be passed.
A similar measure failed to gain traction in the House in 2014, when then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D was in the minority, as well as in the Senate, and was ultimately vetoed by President Barack Obama.
The gay rights community has criticized the legislation as anti-gay.
“Congress is the best place to enact the Equality Act, and it’s the best time to get this done, not just because we’re the least homophobic of the Congress, but because this is about protecting our children from harm,” said Marcia Hofmann, president of the National Organization for Marriage, in a release.
“Our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve the right to be loved and protected from violence and abuse, not to be forced into hiding, or shut out of our families, communities, and jobs.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has also been critical of the measure.
“These bills would not have passed in 2014 and 2016,” said Mara Keisling, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU, in an email.
“If this legislation were to become law, it would be an enormous step backward for LGBT Americans, who have long faced discrimination and harassment.
This bill would only further the anti-LGBT agenda of President Trump, which would make it