A debate on the House floor over the Equality Act, a bill that would extend civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community, spilled over into the halls of Congress on Wednesday.
Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., who has a transgender daughter, raised a transgender pride flag outside her office across the hall from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who responded to Newman by hanging a sign that read: “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE. Trust The Science!”
During the floor debate on the Equality Act, Greene made a motion to adjourn in an effort to block consideration of the bill because she claimed it would put the rights of transgender Americans above those of women and children, particularly when it comes to sports. “Biological women cannot compete against biological men,” she said. “Biological little girls cannot compete against biological little boys, and they shouldn’t have to.”
Earlier in the week, the freshman congresswoman, who was stripped of her committee memberships for promoting false and extremist views, called the Equality Act “a direct attack on God’s creation” that would ensure “men who dress and think they are women will have rights over all real girls and women.”
Newman, who is also a freshman congresswoman, gave an impassioned speech on the House floor in support of transgender rights.
“I rise today on behalf of the millions of Americans who continue to be denied housing, education, public services and much, much more because they identify as members of the LGBTQ community,” Newman said. “Americans like my own daughter, who years ago bravely came out to her parents as transgender. I knew from that day on, my daughter would be living in a nation where [in] most of its states, she could be discriminated against, merely because of who she is.”
As video of Newman’s speech went viral, Greene responded with a tweet in which she refused to refer to the Illinois congresswoman’s daughter as a woman.
“As mothers, we all love and support our children,” Greene wrote. “But your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.”
Newman tweeted a video of herself hoisting the flag with a message for her GOP counterpart.
“Our neighbor, @RepMTG, tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil,’” Newman wrote. “Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”
Greene then put up the poster outside her office.
“Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called ‘Equality’ Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms,” Greene tweeted. “Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”
The poster stunt was criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., called Greene’s sign “sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel.”
“This hate is exactly why the #EqualityAct is necessary and what we must protect @RepMarieNewman’s daughter and all our LGBTQ+ loved ones against,” Casten tweeted.
“This is sad and I’m sorry this happened,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., tweeted Wednesday night. “Rep. Newmans daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs. This garbage must end.”
“Your sign is incorrect because it’s not what the science says,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter. “‘The science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary, transgender people are real.’”
At her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Greene’s stunt a “sad event” that illustrates the need for Congress to pass the Equality Act.
“It’s necessary,” Pelosi said. “I wish it weren’t. It breaks my heart that it is.”