PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Southeastern Pennsylvania representatives in Congress are speaking out after Republicans on a House committee stripped federal funding from two LGBTQ+ community centers in their districts.
The William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia and the LGBT Center of Greater Reading are two of three community projects that had funding stripped out of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill.
The third project was for a LGBTQ senior housing center in Boston.
Philadelphia-based U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat, said the motivation for stripping the previously approved earmarks is clear to him: “With no notice, the Republican majority filed an amendment that out of over 3,800 projects from members of Congress, 3,800 that have been approved, they are now voting to strip funding from the only three projects that have LGBTQ in the organization’s name.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, who represents Reading, said an independent, bipartisan board from her district chose 15 of the 40 proposals they received.
“It’s enormously disappointing that people who literally cannot pronounce ‘Reading’ … were the ones who made the ultimate decision to defund this,” she said.
Republicans who spoke in favor of removing the funding accuse the centers of grooming children and supporting gender-affirming care for children. They also claim discrimination: Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland said the William Way Center supported a protest of the Moms for Liberty, noting that the protest was sponsored by the Philadelphia Young Communist League.
The conservative Moms for Liberty group recently held its national meeting in Philadelphia, which was met by protesters.
“I know we have First Amendment rights, but let me tell you something, ladies and gentlemen. If a Ku Klux Klan applied for one, we’d hear an uproar from the other side,” Harris said.
“This is one of the most obvious and disgusting examples of bigotry that I have seen in my career and in my life,” Boyle countered.
Boyle and Houlahan say they will work with U.S. Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey to try to restore the funding.