Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison once scored as high as 50 on gay rights report card

Posted on 14 Aug 2009 at 11:07am
Rob Schlein and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
Dallas Log Cabin President Rob Schlein and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

In the process of researching this story about the Republican gubernatorial primary between Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry, I got my hands on copies of old Congressional Scorecards from the Human Rights Campaign dating back to when Hutchison first joined the Senate in 1993. What I found is that Hutchison hasn’t always scored a zero on the Scorecard. In fact, she once scored as high as 50, for the 103rd Congress is 1993-94, and she didn’t finally drop all the way to zero until the 108th Congress, in 2003-04. After the jump, a more detailed look at Hutchison’s record on LGBT issues.

103rd Congress, 1993-94, Overall Score: 50
Hutchison received points for voting in favor of the Hate Crimes Enhancement Act, which includes sexual orientation but applies only to federal crimes. However, she voted against domestic partner benefits for employees of the District of Columbia. She also lost points for voting against the confirmation of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. She received points for voting in favor of criminal penalties for people who block access to abortion clinics. At the time, HRC included abortion rights issues in the Scorecard. On the campaign trail in 1993, Hutchison stated that she was opposed to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” meaning she favored an outright ban on gay servicemembers. However, she was absent for the Senate vote on DADT, according to HRC.

104th Congress: 1995-96, Overall Score: 11
Hutchison received points for voluntarily adopting a written policy for her Senate office indicating that sexual orientation was not a factor in employment decisions. (These policies were symbolic and had no legal bearing). However, she voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have extended protections for gays in the workplace nationwide. She also voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, and in favor of a proposal from Sen. Jesse Helms to cut off funding for local gay community health centers. She voted against Medicaid funding for people with HIV.

105th Congress. 1997-98. Overall score: 40
Hutchison again received points for adopting an employment nondiscrimination policy for her office. She also received points for voting against an amendment that would have cut off all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

106th Congress, 1999-2000, Overall Score: 29
She again received points for the nondiscrimination policy for her office. She also co-sponsored a reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act to fund HIV/AIDS services. However, she voted against hate crimes legislation that included sexual orientation.

107th Congress, 2001-02, Overall Score: 29
She again received points for the nondiscrimination policy for her office.

108th Congress, 2003-04, Overall Score: 0
Hutchison lost points for supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment and voting against proposed federal hate crimes protections that included sexual orientation. She also lost points because she reportedly refused to adopt a nondiscrimination policy for her office, as she had done in the four previous sessions. In 2003, HRC added gender identity and expression to the policy, which previously included only sexual orientation. However, it’s unclear if that’s why Hutchison refused to adopt the policy.

109th Congress, 2005-06, Overall Score: 0
Hutchison again supported the Federal Marriage Amendment.

110th Congress, 2007-08, Overall Score: 0
Hutchison again voted against federal hate crimes protections for LGBT people.

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