Recently-deceased Arizona senator John McCain will be replaced by a former Republican senator, Jon Kyl, who has a history of opposition to LGBTQ rights.
The choice was announced by the governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey. Whereas McCain occasionally disagreed with Trump, Kyl is thought to generally approve of the President’s agenda, and is expected to vote in line with him.
Kyl’s history is of particular interest to LGBTQ advocates. Kyl served as a representative from Arizona from the years 1995 to 2013, when Jeff Flake succeeded him. He was the Senate Minority whip for a time.
According to Bil Browning, “The former senator has a history of voting against LGBT rights. He co-sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages nationwide, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act that was overturned by the Supreme Court, and repeatedly voted against adding sexual orientation to hate crime laws.”
Browning noted that Kyl opposed the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan because Kagan “didn’t support the now-overturned ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving in the military, saying it was ‘bad policy.'”
“During her confirmation hearing, she also refused to say she opposed marriage equality,” Browning added.
As reported by Into, “In 2006, Jon Kyl scored a zero percent from the Human Rights Campaign on its Congressional Scorecard. That score indicates he has supported every anti-LGBTQ policy that has come across his desk. Other lawmakers which have shared that distinction include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.”
In 2002, Kyl voted “no” on a Senate bill which would have extended legal protection to LGBTQ citizens, by enlarging the definition of hate crimes to cover sexual orientation.
During his tenure in the United States Senate, McCain’s record on LGBTQ rights was generally mixed.