28 Republicans voted against the bipartisan Respect for Child Survivors Act, which addresses the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) mishandling of child sex abuse cases, exposing them to charges of hypocrisy.
Many of the Republicans who voted against the bill claim to be interested in protecting children from sexual predators and have often contributed to the ongoing "groomer" hysteria that has gripped the right-wing, who've accused LGBTQ+ people of building relationships, trust and emotional connections with children so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
But when an actual bill designed to address concerns about child sex abuse was put up for a vote, the Republicans who voted against it—including Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia—offered no public explanation for why they voted the way they did.
The list of Republicans who opposed the bill is:
- Mo Brooks and Barry Moore (Alabama)
- Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar (Arizona)
- Rick Crawford (Arkansas)
- Tom McClintock (California)
- Lauren Boebert (Colorado)
- Byron Donalds and John Rutherford (Florida)
- Andrew Clyde, Jody Hice, Austin Scott, and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia)
- James Comer and Thomas Massie (Kentucky)
- Clay Higgins (Louisiana)
- Matt Rosendale (Montana)
- Jeff Van Drew (New Jersey)
- Dan Bishop and Virginia Foxx (North Carolina)
- Scott Perry (Pennsylvania)
- Ralph Norman (South Carolina)
- Louie Gohmert, Ronny Jackson, Troy Nehls, Chip Roy, and Michael Cloud (Texas)
- Bob Good (Virginia)
The bipartisan bill was crafted in response to testimony from survivors of abuse perpetrated by former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar.
Nassar's sexual abuse of young girls and women and the subsequent cover-up led to the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal that began in 2015 and culminated in his guilty pleas on child pornography and tampering with evidence charges as well as charges he sexually assaulted hundreds of minors.
The bill ultimately cleared the House of Representatives; the final vote tally was 215-170. It will address the FBI's history of mishandling child sex abuse cases and create specific teams within the agency tasked with supporting survivors of child sex abuse and investigating child sexual abuse, trafficking, and child abuse content.
The news that so many Republicans had rejected the bill prompted Jezebel staff writer Kylie Cheung to point out the blatant hypocrisy within the GOP, criticizing Boebert and Greene specifically:
"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."
Indeed, the votes against the bill come as many on the left continue to excoriate conservative politicians and media for creating an environment where attacks against the LGBTQ+ community are more commonplace.
Last month, five people were gunned down at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The alleged shooter was charged with ten felony counts—five counts of murder and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.
And earlier this week, Democrat Erik Bottcher, a gay New York City Council Member, spoke out after his apartment building was broken into and vandalized by protesters with the anti-trans group Gays Against Groomers, which claims to be "a coalition of gays against the sexualization, indoctrination and medicalization of children."
Many have condemned the GOP's actions.
Earlier this month, members of Congress heard testimony from survivors of mass shootings against the LGBTQ+ community who spoke about and condemned anti-LGBTQ+ violence amid a wave of right-wing extremism.
Club Q shooting survivor Michael Anderson and Pulse shooting survivor Brandon Wolf both spoke about how the GOP's anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric stoked the flames of violence against LGBTQ+ people.
Anderson criticized the "groomer" rhetoric currently gripping the GOP and said he is "embarrassed" by the United States' "international reputation of inaction on gun reform." He noted every American, particuarly elected officials, "has a responsibility and a choice to use their words consciously."
Wolf—whose two best friends were among the 49 people killed during the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting—harshly criticized Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and politicians who align themselves with right-wing extremists who "terrorize our community."
For years, Wolf said, "cynical politicians and greedy grifters have joined forces with right-wing extremists to pour gasoline on anti-LGBTQ hysteria and terrorize our community." He was adamant that "people who endanger entire marginalized communities for social media content and fundraising fodder have no place in our politics."