WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Lawmakers in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equality Caucus expressed their condolences and outrage Monday in response to Sunday’s massacre in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s outrageous that LGBT Americans continue to be the targets of such horrific hatred and violence in 2016,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that we have full equality in this country. LGBT people are not political wedge issues – we are human beings, and we are entitled to full equality under the law.”
Cicilline said that he was hopeful that the tragedy that left 50 people dead and another 53 wounded would ultimately move the country in the right direction.
“I hope that, in the aftermath of this horrific shooting, our country will move toward greater love and acceptance of all Americans,” Cicilline said.
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said that it was difficult to draw lessons from such “senseless violence,” but key take-aways come to mind for him.
“We must reject all forms of hate and discrimination directed against LGBT people and all other communities,” Takano said. “Despite the great advances we’ve made in LGBT equality, anti-LBGT rhetoric is still prevalent in America, and it has real consequences.”
Takano put part of the blame on assault rifles, which the suspected shooter Omar Mateen, 29, used during the killings, according to police.
“It is far too easy for dangerous people to purchase assault weapons in this country. We must confront the relentless occurrences of mass shooting incidents in this country,” Takano said.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Co-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, released a statement on love and unity on Twitter.
“We must stand together to denounce hatred and embrace love & acceptance,” said Pocan.
Pocan also called upon Congress to ban assault rifles.
“Unfortunately, this body is too chicken to address the epidemic of military-style assault weapons because that would upset the gun manufacturers and special interests,” Pocan said.
Pocan said that he wants to see a moment of action, not a moment of silence for all the victims of gun violence. He said that the fault would also fall on Congress if they do not take action.
“There may be blood in the streets, but if Congress continues to fail to act, we will have blood on our hands,” Pocan said.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), the first openly gay parent to serve in Congress, said the Orlando attack was an act a terror and a direct attack on equality, diversity and freedom; not just on the LGBT community, but against all Americans.
Polis said that it is appalling that even after the attack on their [LGBT] community that members cannot even help by donating blood due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not allowing gay males to do so.
“My thoughts also remain with the entire LGBT community,” Polis said. “Our community today has been the target of hate and terror, and it is tragic that members of the community who want to give blood to help their friends are unjustifiably prevented from doing so despite the need.”
Joshua Ramirez compiled this report.