Md. Dems Get Perfect Score From Human Rights Campaign, While Harris Gets a Zero

    According to a congressional scorecard published this week by the Human Rights Campaign, nearly every member of the Maryland congressional delegation has voted in favor of human and civil rights bills considered during the 116th Congress, earning a perfect score of 100%.

    The odd man out is Rep. Andrew P. Harris (R) who has voted in opposition to each bill that the organization used to grade members of Congress, earning a score of 0% — not just for this year but for the last three.

    Harris, the delegation’s only Republican, is facing Mia Mason (D), a military veteran and champion of LGBTQ rights, in his bid for a sixth term.

    The report card scored lawmakers based on their votes on a series of civil rights and anti-discrimination bills, including: 

     All of these initiatives passed in the House.

    Lawmakers were also graded on their co-sponsorship of several other civil rights initiatives, including: 

    • The Do No Harm Act, which would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to prohibit the people from using the original bill to infringe upon civil rights laws;

    • The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would classify conversion therapy as a fraudulent and harmful practice and require the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers against it;

    • The Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2019, which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to mandate school districts in states that receive funding under the initial bill to enforce rules that would ban harassment against individuals on the basis of their race, color, sex, orientation, fender identity, national origin, religion or disability;

    • The Every Child Deserves A Family Act, which would bar public child welfare agencies that receive federal funding from discriminating against children and adoptive or foster families on the basis of their their gender expression, sexual orientation or marital status;

    • The FAMILY Act, which would provide aid to working families following the birth or adoption of a child, as well as in personal circumstances, like illness, which would require them to take a leave of absence from their jobs;

    • And the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2019, which would make the prevention of violence or discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community a foreign policy priority.

    All of these were supported by the Human Rights Campaign. Every Democrat in the Maryland delegation, save for Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), who was sworn into former Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-Md.) seat in May, scored 100% on the score card’s grading scale. Mfume was not included in the tally.

    Harris voted in opposition to each of these measures.

    The report card also took a look at how lawmakers voted on amendments the HRC opposed, specifically:

    Both of these amendments were defeated. All of the Democratic members of the delegation voted in opposition to these amendments. Harris voted in favor of the Cole amendment, but withheld his vote for the Duncan amendment.

    Maryland Matters reached out to Harris for comment on his scores, but did not receive an immediate response.

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    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.