WASHINGTON, D.C.—Womble Bond Dickinson’s annual celebration of LGBTQ History Month included a June 21 lunch presentation by Roddy Flynn, Executive Director of the bipartisan Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
From marriage equality to workplace issues, LGBTQ rights remain in the spotlight for congressional decision-makers. The Equality Caucus serves as a resource for Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on LGBTQ issues at the federal level. The Caucus works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and well-being for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
In his role as Executive Director of the Caucus, Flynn is on the front lines as these issues are debated and decided. He shared his experiences and perspectives from Capitol Hill in this presentation.
“LGBT equality is a bipartisan issue in Congress,” Flynn said, noting that equality issues are garnering support on both sides of the aisle. However, he said the Caucus has largely been “focused on defense” the past two years, as a number of issues have arisen to scale back protections for LGBTQ Americans.
He said one major focus for the Caucus has been the Do No Harm Act, which seeks to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Increasingly, he said religious freedom has been used to attack the rights of others, pointing to the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case as an example.
“This trend in litigation is concerning to us,” Flynn said. “These laws should not be used to inflict harm; they should be used to protect religious people.”
Flynn also said he has concerns about issues facing older LGBTQ citizens. For example, he said same-sex couples should be guaranteed visitation rights if one member of the couple is in an assisted living center.
While he said recent months have been challenging, he points to a recent bipartisan defeat of an anti-transgender amendment to a defense appropriations bill as “a real moment of hope.”
And hope is something Flynn said he won’t relinquish. His faith in the US system of government remains strong.
“It’s incredible that we have the opportunity to overthrow the government every couple of years and elect a new Congress,” he said.
Flynn’s presentation took place in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and was broadcast throughout the firm. Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Daniel Attaway provided introductory remarks. The LGBTQ History Month event was presented by Womble Bond Dickinson’s Diversity Committee.