Congresswoman Corrine Brown, a long serving Democratic member of the US House didn’t vote to extend federal benefits to the spouses of LGBT couples last Thursday.
In a shocking move first reported by Politico, Brown reversed course on her previous support of an amendment that according to the Human Rights Campaign would “correct outdated language” in statutes that define spouses as a member of the “opposite sex”.
The proposed amendment- the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act was proposed by Dina Titus (D-NV) and was designed to allow same-sex spouses of military veterans to receive benefits entitled to them under federal law.
“This amendment would take a critical step in ensuring in statute that the voices of LGBT veterans are consistently heard and ensure the LGBT community is represented when addressing the issues that affect minority veterans,” a statement from the Human Rights Campaign said.
Brown, the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted present when the amendment came to a vote.
“I never question someone’s motives for how they vote, but what upset us is, one, she changed her vote and second, she didn’t let us know and she is our leader,” Titus was quoted by Politico as saying about Brown. “We’re talking about a number of options….We’re going to do something. We want to hear her explanation and we want her to hear why we are upset. It was really disappointing.”
While Brown’s vote didn’t impact the outcome of the failure of the amendment to pass (12 of the 14 Republicans on the committee voted against it), it has sparked questions about her motivations and whether it is due to her positioning for the 2016 election- when she is expected to compete in a more conservative district.
Twitter was not pleased with the Congresswoman after the vote.
Shame on Corrine Brown. Democrats fume at fellow Democrat over same-sex benefits vote http://t.co/6kLlhLeoKh
— John B. Dorris, Esq. (@SciFi_TriGuy) September 20, 2015
@RepCorrineBrown a disgraceful Democrat who proves her self-interest is bigger than her constituents. Shame on you! Time for a new Dem!
— thebwein (@thebwein) September 20, 2015
Photo Credit: JAXPORT/Flickr (CC By 2.0)