Murray to GOP: “If you continue down this dangerous path—bullying kids, erasing LGBTQ people, and demonizing them with dangerous rhetoric—I will rise against you every step of the way. And I will do so with Pride.”
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), President Pro Tempore of the Senate, spoke on the Senate floor in celebration of Pride Month. In her remarks, Senator Murray laid into far-right efforts to demonize and erase the LGBTQ+ community and made clear she will not stop fighting back against these efforts.
“Far-right lawmakers are using their megaphones and their positions of power to bully kids. That’s what it comes down to. They are attacking people—attacking kids—for being different. For being themselves,” said Sen. Murray. “I said it last year on the Senate floor, and I am here again, because I still have to say it: We all have a responsibility to stand up and make clear: this is not right.”
Sen. Murray spoke forcefully against a slew of recent efforts by far-right voices to ostracize transgender people, and even vilify kids. Republican presidential candidates have blamed transgender kids for the youth mental health crisis and signed bills banning gender-affirming care for youth and bills erasing LGBTQ+ representation in schools.
Sen. Murray’s speech comes as Republican-led states are trying to pass and implement similar far-right proposals to take gender-affirming care away from people who need it and even investigate parents for child abuse if they help their kids get such care.
“We’ve got to push back against these attacks on trans kids every way we can: in the courts, with legislation, through executive action, and by speaking out—and speaking up. Which is why I’m here today to tell everyone facing these hateful attacks that you are not alone and you have so many people in your community and in your corner,” said Sen. Murray.
“I am proud to stand with these kids, their families, and the whole LGBTQ community,” she continued. “This Pride Month, we commit ourselves to making sure these kids are not just safe in our country, not just welcome in our country, but allowed to be themselves here, allowed to be joyful and confident about who they are in every part of our country.”
Sen. Murray closed her remarks calling for Republicans to stop their cruel attacks, and making a firm vow to continue standing firm against them.
“You do not have to bully people because they are different. You do not have to champion hatred, fear, or anger. You can make a different choice,” she said. “It’s really not that hard to listen, and learn, and respect, and accept people for who they are. To have compassion. And I promise it will make your world brighter, and your heart lighter.”
“Finally: if you continue down this dangerous path—bullying kids, erasing LGBTQ people, and demonizing them with dangerous rhetoric—I will rise against you every step of the way. And I will do so with pride,” she concluded.
Sen. Murray also shared the words of a young transgender activist she spoke with last year.
Sen. Murray is a strong supporter of—and fighting to pass—the Equality Act, which would expand federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, jury service, and federally-funded programs. Sen. Murray is also a lead sponsor of legislation to ban conversion therapy in the U.S., working to pass her Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act.
Under the Trump administration, Sen. Murray repeatedly fought back against Trump’s attempts to roll back protections for LGBTQ+ Americans and stood up against judicial nominees who had troubling anti-LGBTQ+ records.
Senator Murray also wrote and introduced the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, legislation that would address bullying and harassment—including cyberbullying—at colleges and universities around the country. The legislation is named after a freshman at Rutgers University, who tragically lost his life to suicide in 2010 after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him due to his sexual orientation.